How to: party on a budget

Everyone loves a good party, but not everyone has an endless budget. We get it, and we have 100% been there. When you’re entertaining, there are three major categories to focus on: food and beverage, decor/flowers, and music. So, how can you check off all of the boxes AND keep your wallet in mind while still impressing your guests? Here are some ideas!

Food and beverage

Let’s be honest, this is arguably the most important part of entertaining. If you’re having people over, there has to be something for them to nosh on, and there should definitely be something for them to drink. Here are some ideas for keeping your F&B budget in check:

  • Keep the bar menu simple
    When offering beverages, keep it simple. Offer one or two beers, one red wine, one white wine, and a few soft drinks. This way you can buy in bulk and keep costs low.  If you’d like to serve hard alcohol, create a signature cocktail so that you only need to provide one set of ingredients. Check out our Signature Sips for inspiration!

  • Finger food
    There’s no need to put together an extensive spread of food—offer a few options that appease all diets. Veggie or fruit platters, cheese, guacamole and chips, etc. If you want to get a little fancier, Pinterest has a plethora of easy and low-cost appetizers to try.
  • Dessert
    Choose one dessert and roll with it. Like we said—simple is key. Slice up some fruit. Make some cookies. Have a sundae bar!


Decor is often what pushes budget over the edge. Once you start decorating, it can be hard to stop. To keep things under control, DIY what you can and use deal sites like Amazon to source the rest. Here are some of our favorite inexpensive decor ideas:

Fun straws and cocktail garnishes bring color to your event. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to surprise and delight your guests.

Via Pinterest

A childhood favorite, balloons pack a punch and don’t break the bank. All you need is a little creativity and some double-sided tape.

Via Pinterest

Fairy (or string) lights are safer than candles, and create a warm and cozy glow in your space. Even better? You can usually find them in the dollar section of Target.


Let’s talk flowers for a minute. A lot of times, when pennies are tight, florals and greenery are cut from party budgets. This is sad, and unnecessary. Flowers don’t need to be expensive, and we can help you navigate how to make a big impact for little cost.

Where can I even buy my flowers? 

You might remember our floral arranging post where we talked about how to buy grocery store flowers like a pro. But, to refresh your memory, here are our tips:

  • The local garden center
    Your local garden center is sure to have some interesting finds. On our most recent visit, we were able to pick up some Protea! Unique flowers like these are often in stock at the little shops, and typically small businesses will have competitive prices. Plus, what’s better than shopping small and supporting your local economy?
  • Trader Joe’s
    If you don’t live near a TJ’s, we’re sorry. Their flowers are unique, fresh, and affordable. They also carry a multitude of flowers ranging from traditional red roses to glorious sherbet Ranunculi!
  • Whole Foods
    Whole Foods groceries may be pricier than your local Safeway or Stop & Shop, but their floral department doesn’t disappoint. Funny enough, their flower prices are still on-par with other grocery stores.

What type of flowers are inexpensive? 

Great question! While this largely depends on where you live (warmer climates = longer growing seasons = less expensive blooms), there are some standards that you can rely on.

  • Baby’s Breath
    When used correctly, baby’s breath can look wonderfully romantic and rustic. See below!

Via Pinterest

  • Freesia
    Not only stunning and inexpensive, freesia smells like an absolute dream! Check it out:

Via Pinterest

  • Sunflowers
    Sunflowers are bright, bold, and budget-friendly. Not to mention, they’re a larger variety of bloom, so you won’t need as much to make an impact. Check out these beautiful sunflower ideas:

Via Pinterest


We mentioned Google Play Music in a recent post, but we wanted to share it with you again! GPM lets you browse playlists that other people have carefully curated to directly reflect certain moods, activities, decades, times of day, and more! Here’s a quick tour:

Google Play Music

First, browse by activity. We chose “Having Fun in the Sun.”

Google Play Music list

Then, pick a playlist that speaks to you. We were totally feeling “Pacific Coast Highway Drive.”

Google Play Music list

Now all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and party to your perfect party playlist!

And that’s all she wrote! We’d love to see how you get creative on a budget. Use hashtag #PNPartyOnABudget for a chance to be featured.

Cheers—happy partying!

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  • Lyn Liberty says:

    I really enjoyed your post, Caroline! So many beautiful inspirations – and great shopping tips, too. Thanks!

  • Michelle Jeter says:

    I would like to have a paint party for my birthday November 11th wanted to know if you had somewhere near Oakland where me and my friends can come and Paint and Sip

    • Katie Fawkes says:

      Hi Michelle,

      We have events in bars and restaurants across the country almost every night. You can find events in your area by visiting our website at Have a great time!

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