Sense & Centsibility Blog

Having a Summer Party? Here Are 5 Tips to Save Money

Warm weather is finally upon us! So it's time to think about entertaining...if you're into that kind of thing. If so, here are five simple ways to save money on your summer party this year.

  1. Have a potluck

    The best way to save money when you're inviting people over is to make your summer party a potluck. Ask friends/family to bring a dish or dessert to share. Better yet, if you're planning to make burgers or brats, let people know that you'll provide the meat. Then suggest someone else bring buns and/or condiments. And just a personal note...I actually prefer suggestions on what to bring to potlucks.
  2. Make it BYOB

    Beverages can also add up when you're buying a lot of things, depending on what you might plan to serve and how many people you're inviting. So to save money, ask your friends to bring their own. This is kind of the norm anyway lately so no one will be offended. Or if you prefer, make something cheap for everyone and if they want something different, they can bring what they choose. Lemonade or tea (or both - an Arnold Palmer) is a great and typically cheap beverage to make that most people will like.
  3. Buy in bulk

    For bigger parties you may want to shop somewhere nearby that has bulk items. This will help keep costs down and might even help you decide what you want to serve at the party. Think meat, buns, beverages, fruit, veggies, etc.
  4. Keep decorations simple

    If you're able to, use what you already have. Grab some old string lights and put it around your deck railing or a tree for example. Or use canning jars and put in some tea lights. If you have flowers you can pick, grab a vase or two and decorate simply with your own flowers. Or just buy some oranges or apples and put out a big bowl of fruit. These are just a handful of ideas to keep it simple. For more tips, check out How to beautify your outdoor space for less.
  5. Buy cheaper items/hit the local dollar store

    If you want to decorate, but don't have anything at home you can use, check out your local dollar store for cheap ideas. But don't overdo don't want to defeat the purpose of shopping to save money by buying twice as much as you normally would. Also, if you're not big on doing dishes, find cheap/bulk paper plates, cups, etc. Or, that might be a nice way for a guest to contribute to the party that doesn't really like to cook or is not sure what to bring.

Just because you want to entertain some friends doesn't mean you have to break the bank. Plus, most of the time people just want a reason to get together; they aren't expecting a gourmet meal. So keep it simple and enjoy yourself this summer while saving some cash.

Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling. LSS helps people take control of their debt, improve their finances, and achieve their financial goals.