Thursday, August 9

Throwing a Party for Under $100

So, Brian & I are throwing a housewarming party this weekend.

Side-story:  Brian & I spent the night before last in the Emergency Animal Hospital with Atticus.

She's okay now, but after a couple hours of veraciously trying to eat anything that she could find on our floors & then violently throwing up...we decided to take her in.  {The decision was actually made for me when I bent down to pet her and she tried to eat my hair...}

So, after getting no sleep Tuesday night, we spent all day yesterday monitoring sweet Atticus & feeding her handfuls of food at a time in between naps.

Oh, she's cute.

So, the point of the story is that:

1) we are behind in our party planning, cleaning & organizing this week because we literally did not do anything yesterday except sleep and check on Atticus.  And,

2) we really need to throw this party on a budget now because trips to the animal hospital in the middle of the night are not cheap.

Today is for planning & making sure that this party stays on budget.

So, I have been working on some ideas on how to throw a party on the cheap.

The first thing that I saved money on was the invitation.  

I created a Facebook event to get the word out, but I also designed a cute invitation that I sent out via e-mail as well as uploaded as an image onto the event page on Facebook.  

Addresses have been changed {erased} to
protect the hosts.

So, I thought that this was a cute way to still have an invitation without having to spend the extra money on printing and delivery.

Even if you do work stamps into your budget, printing your own invitations is a great way to save money and there are great websites out there to help you do it!  

For example, I created a blank template on Photoshop & saved it as a JPEG, then opened it on

PicMonkey has great fonts to choose from as well as the cute label shapes that you see on my pictures a lot...

Another good way to save money is to limit your bar.  

Alcohol is a budget buster.  But it's also a lot of fun at parties, so instead of just declaring the 'ole BYOB, let everyone know that you will have a few things to offer, but that if they'd like something else...then bring yo' own.  

We are going to get a few packs of beer and I am going to make some mixed drinks to have ready, {I have been wanting to have mason jar cocktails ever since seeing this idea on Pinterest...} 

So, I will be looking for recipes that I can use with the alcohol that we've already got at home so that we hopefully won't have to buy any more, {which is a "post-animal hospital visit" development in the budget.}

Save money on your menu by sticking to heavy hors d'oeuvres instead of having a sit-down dinner.

And save money on your heavy hors d'oeuvres by shopping seasonally & doubling up on ingredients.

For example, I am serving these baked mozzarella sticks along with a homemade marinara sauce from

So, because I will have the marinara sauce ready, I decided to find a mini-pizza recipe that I could use the marinara sauce in...

And because I will have the cheese for the mini-pizzas...I decided to make these zucchini tots that will need the cheese, too, and all I will have to buy is one zucchini.

{And I only have to buy one zucchini because I already have the rest of the ingredients in my pantry.}

So, 'round and 'round it goes.  It was pretty fun thinking up this menu...every time that I settled on something, I started looking for things only with common ingredients.

And shopping seasonally with produce can really save you some money.  For example, I have a wrapped asparagus recipe that I thought of making, but it's pretty late in the summer and asparagus are a spring vegetable so their prices are rising now.

But avocados are peeking now so their prices are pretty low, which is great 'cause I'm making my famous guacamole.

I'm also making a salsa that is my go-to for taking to parties and is always a big hit.  It's labor intensive, a lot of chopping, but worth it because it's really cheap and makes a lot.  It also gets better the more it sits so it's great to make ahead of time.

Here's the recipe...I can't remember where I found this recipe originally, it was years ago...

1 small onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 pt cherry tomatoes, diced
3 or 4 green onions, diced
1 small jalape├▒o, very finely chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can black eyed peas, rinsed & drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp coriander
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small {8 oz} bottle Italian dressing

I'll be honest, I'm not 100% on this...I pretty much just eyeball it.  Sometimes I leave the bell pepper out and sometimes I add corn.  It's pretty easy.

I'm also making a basic hummus which is super easy and inexpensive.

I'll let you know my full menu after the party...I might have to make some adjustments.

So, that takes care of the invitations, food & drinks.  I am planning on keeping my food bill well under $50 which leaves $50 to spend on drinks...I'm basically trying to keep this baby as far under $100 as we possibly can.

But while I'm shopping this afternoon I am going to take my list and keep track of what things cost as I put them into the cart and if it's not working out then I will have to rethink a couple of things.

Now, I'm not spending any money on decorations because this is a housewarming party and I want people to see my home I am less concerned with party decor.

But there are so many great ideas for party decor that can easily be done with things you can find around the house or at your local crafts store, {my house is basically a crafts store with everything that I've accumulated over the years though, so it probably is a lot easier for me to use things that I find around the house...}

But buy a few sheets of scrapbook paper for under $1/a piece and string together shapes or letters to make a cute garland for the door, {which I probably am going to one decoration.}

Spend $10 on some flowers from the grocery store and create a cute centerpiece for your food table.  Get creative with what you use for a vase or fill a glass vase with leftover lemons or limes.

Spend 10 minutes on Pinterest and I bet that you can find 100 ideas for party decor that you won't have to spend any money on at all...

{Pssst...Pinterest just announced open registration for ALL, so no more waiting for for any of you crazy people who haven't joined yet...yippee!}

So, that's what I'm working on today!

AND Brian and I are going to see our reception site this afternoon with our florist/event designer, {my cousin, Grove} so I am really excited about that...

I'm also working on a new page for the blog that will be dedicated to all things look for that this week.

I'm aso trying to work in catching up on a few dozen hours of sleep that I've missed this week.

I just don't think it's going to happen.

Until then, always remember to tie back your hair if your dog is sick.


  1. Great tips! I don't throw parties because I am a ball of stress when there are more than 6 people total in my house but I'm so digging the salsa recipe!
    I hope Atticus is doing all better! Sick doggies are scary! They can't tell you what is wrong!

    1. Haha, I love it. I was definitely a ball of stress on Saturday. But it ended up going really well and I kind of can't wait to throw another party now! Thanks for checking on Atticus, she is doing much better. No more table scraps for her! Her birthday is this month so I am working on putting together some homemade doggy treat recipes!