Do you have a party coming up? Are you looking for frugal menus that won’t break the bank? Something that is budget-friendly, yet fun and festive? You’re going to love these ideas to help you have a fantastic party on a budget.
Everyone loves a good party, whether it’s hosting one or attending one. But, hosting a party can be expensive! I’d hate to see you stop yourself from having a party because it’s just not in your budget. That’s why I’ve come up with some budget-friendly ideas for the next time you want to throw a party.
These ideas can be used for holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Tailgating, the Superbowl, or even your next Summer BBQ. Either way, pick something that looks like fun and go for it.
These menu ideas are mostly for casual parties – you won’t find anything really fancy here. They can all be fancy-ed up, though, with some stellar decorations.
Keep in mind as you’re making your party menu … people come to a party for the people. We love the food, but really, we’re here to spend time with the people.
Related Reading: How to Plan a Backyard BBQ on a Budget
Easy Frugal Party Menus
It can be easy to get hung up on making everything perfect for your party … and yes, you’ll want your guest to feel special. But, they also don’t want you feeling like you’ve been a slave to the kitchen all week.
That’s why having an easy party menu is important, too. You’ll appreciate that most of the party menus below are very easy to prepare.
Pick one type of pasta and then serve a couple of different sauces that are easy to keep warm or make ahead and warm up. You can find many of these sauces in the store already prepared.
Pasta Sauce Ideas:
- Marinara Sauce
- Italian Sausage Meat Sauce
- Hamburger Meat Sauce
- Alfredo Sauce
Pre-cook all your pasta and refrigerate it. When it’s near time to eat, you can dip it into boiling water and it will be heated through very quickly.
Easy Sides: Garlic bread, salad, green beans, veggie sticks
Make a nice big pot of your favorite chili. Then serve it with these fun toppings:
- Shredded Cheese
- Diced Onions
- Hot Sauce
Easy Sides: Cornbread, Rolls, Tortilla Chips
Seriously … who doesn’t love tacos?
What to include:
- Crunchy Taco Shells
- Flour Tortillas
- Refried Beans
- Seasoned Ground Beef
- Shredded Cheese
- Shredded Lettuce
- Diced Tomatoes
- Sour Cream
Baked Potato Bar
You can have a lot of fun with a potato bar and potatoes are really inexpensive.
Here are some great things to serve along with your potatoes:
- Cooked Broccoli
- Cheese Sauce
- Shredded Cheese
- Sour Cream
It’s nice to serve 2 different soups. Most soups are pretty frugal, especially these:
- Creamy Potato Soup
- 5-Ingredient Instant Pot Black Bean Soup
- Instant Pot Green Chicken Chili
- Easy Keto Supreme Pizza Soup
- Ham and White Bean Soup
- Ham and Split Pea Soup
- Creamy Tomato Soup
Easy Sides: Rolls, French Bread, Cornbread, Fruit, Veggies, Salad
Hot Dog Buffet
Hot Dogs are perfect for a kids’ event or a really casual adult gathering. To make things super easy, keep your hot dogs warm in a crockpot.
You can get hot dogs for under $1/lb. or you can get fancy ones for up to $5/lb. You decide how much you can spend. Either way, these are some great toppings:
Easy Sides: Chips, Tater Tots, Fries, Fruit, Veggies
This is one of our family’s favorite frugal menus. We love to serve a nice bowl of rice and then change up the toppings each week. Here are some favorites:
- Black Beans, Cheese, Salsa, Sour Cream
- Teriyaki Chicken or Spam, Broccoli
- Ground Pork Stir-Fry
- Chicken and Gravy
Everyone loves appetizers … they’re so much fun and usually pretty tasty. This kind of menu also gives you a chance to offer a lot of variety and creates a little bit of excitement. Here are some ideas for cheap appetizers:
- Mini Quiche
- Veggies and Dip
- Apple Slices with Caramel Dip
- Crackers and Cheese
- Finger Sandwiches
- BBQ Smokies
You can provide a couple of dishes, and the drinks, then let everyone bring their favorite dish.
Specify what you’d like your guests to bring. If you just leave it open to “Bring Something,” you may end up with something that doesn’t go along with the rest of the party food.
Let them know whether to bring a main dish, side dish, or dessert so you don’t end up with only potato salad and brownies.
- French Toast Casserole
- Hashbrown Casserole
- Biscuits with Gravy
Remember, the most important ingredient of any party is friendship. People come to parties because they want to spend time with the people they care about the most … it’s not all about the food.
Just provide a welcoming space for people to gather, layout the right mood, and enjoy the time with your people.