We’re in the height of summer season. Schools out, days are longer and the weather is fabulous. You’d LOVE to host a party and invite your friends and family, but that’s too expensive and you’re better off meeting them at the bar for the night, right? Wrong! With these tips even the less fortunate can throw a bash that won’t soon be forgotten.

HOW TO by: Alyson Komyanek

Here’s how:

BBQ-House-PartyHave it at your house—Sure the set up and clean up sucks, but hosting the party at your home is much less expensive than hosting it at a hall, restaurant or park pavilion. Just remember…small house, small party, big house, big party! But since you’re on a budget…I’m guessing you’re more the small party type, so limit that guest list.

E-vites, not invites—While sending invitations in the mail is certainly more personal and thoughtful, us budgeters don’t always have that luxury. So, consider an e-vite. It’s more personal than a Facebook event alert or mass text/e-mail. Evites do go to your guest’s inboxes, but you can pick from several different layouts, color schemes and fonts (much like invitations you’d buy at the store). They also allow guests to see who’s coming, who’s been invited and who’s bringing what (we’ll get to that in a minute). There are some companies that charge for this, but you can find a bunch for FREE.

Pot Luck — Remember when I said guests could see what others are bringing? Well, here we are. It’s totally fine (in-fact, I encourage you) to ask party attendees to bring a dish of their own to your party ~ it saves the host/hosts a ton, but it’s also really fun. Someone might bring something that you’ve never tried before and that dish could knock your socks off with deliciousness. To make your party even more unique, consider having each guest include a card with the recipe for the dish. That way, guests can swap their favorites!

Strawberry-MargaritasPitchers vs. Bottles – Make a pitcher of your favorite drink or cocktail instead of leaving the bottles and mixers out for guests to do themselves. Party attendees tend to be wasteful. If you take this advice, you’ll end up with less drinks leftover and will have spent less. Another money saving tip is to ask guests to BRING A BOTTLE, but since you’ve already asked them to bring a food item, this might be a little much. You could split things up and ask some to bring a dish and other to bring a drink! Another tip is to limit your party drink list to just beer and a signature cocktail.  You won’t be spending the extra cash on different types of liquor, but it’s not the most accommodating option.

Keep-Calm-PartyEntertainment — Unless your last name is Kardashian or Gates, having a live band perform in your backyard is over the top. Your neighbors will probably call the cops and it’ll really be a buzz kill. So, leave the live entertainment for the clubs and  provide music from your iTunes collection. You can buy speakers pretty cheap, that is if your computer’s aren’t loud enough. Depending on your crowd, games like “Lick it and Stick it”, can also be a lot of fun. Of course, beer pong and flip cup are acceptable options, too!

How to play Lick it and Stick it:

Each player writes the name of a famous person on a piece of small paper and passes it to their left. The person that receives the paper, without looking, licks the back of it and sticks it to their forehead. Each player than asks yes or no questions until they correctly guess the name of the person stuck to their forehead.