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Top Summer Party Ideas that Won't Break your Budget

You Can Have Still Have Fun Without Killing Your Budget

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Blueberry picking at the you-pick-it farm.

Turn a pick-your-own outing into an excuse for a party.

Donna Pilato

Hosting a party can become expensive if you're not paying close attention as you shop and prepare. It's easy to get carried away at the party store, liquor shop, and while food shopping if you're trying to make the perfect party. You can spend so much that you will resist the impulse to entertain the next time there's an opportunity.

Luckily, there are basic money saying party strategies you can follow such as saving money on invitations, setting a budget, and avoiding disposable party goods. among other things. Make a plan and there will be no reason to skimp on the fun. In the summer it's even easier to host a party on a budget because there are money saving strategies that work best during this casual season when parties, more than ever, don't need to be perfect to be fun. Follow these budget party ideas for summer and you may find yourself acting as the host with the most more than once between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Go Shopping First

I usually recommend planning your menu, choosing the recipes, and then making your shopping list before heading to the store. But summertime is perfect for designing a menu around seasonal ingredients. Therefore, I recommend you hit your local farmer's market, well-stocked supermarket, or even sales circulars first to find out what's in season and priced well. Then follow the other steps mentioned above.

Create a Hot Dog Bar

Serve your favorite hot dogs with the best buns in town. Lay out every possible topping from onions to relish, cheese, sauerkraut, chili, mustard, ketchup, and anything else you and your friends like to put on top of their dogs. Welcome vegetarians to your party with tofu dogs too. Don't forget the potato chips, fries, and pickles.

Celebrate Summer's Best with a Salad Party

Serve a variety of summer main dish salads. They can range from pasta salads to green salads, potato salads to antipasto salads. There can certainly be meat or seafood in those salads, but you will need to purchase much less meat when other, seasonal ingredients take center stage.

Invite Friends to Share Your Fresh Catch

Do you enjoy fishing in the summer? Do you bring home more than your family can eat? If so, plan to have guests over after your next fishing expedition and share the bounty with them. Grill your seafood and add a tossed salad, corn on the cob, and bread to round out the feast.

How About a Post Pick-Your-Own-Outing Party?

Does your family enjoy heading out to the local farm to pick whatever is in season? Do you come home with quarts of strawberries, bushels of peaches, or buckets of blueberries? Plan a dessert party for right after your expedition and treat your guests to simple home-y desserts like strawberries and fresh whipped cream, blueberry buckle, or peach cobbler. Round things out with an iced coffee drink or iced tea selection.

Host an Ice Cream Night

Most of us naturally crave something cold and sweet during the steamy days of summer. Invite your friends over for an ice cream sundae party. Serve a variety of ice creams, ice pops, frozen yogurts, Italian ices, and other cold treats. Provide toppings such as candies, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream, fudge and other sauces, and fresh fruit. Let everyone finish off their sundae with an animal cracker on top for that extra touch of fun.

Organize a Summertime Potluck Party

As host of a Summertime Potluck Party you can choose what you are going to provide. Maybe it will be the beverages and party goods. Perhaps you'll supply the burgers and fixings. Maybe you will want to offer a variety of summer salads and tell your guests to BYOM, Bring Your Own Meat! As the organizer, you can control how much you spend as your open up your home to the group.

Control Your Bar

Don't feel compelled to provide a full, top shelf bar for your guests. You can offer two favorite cocktails, (choose from these cheap drink ideas from Cocktails Guide Colleen Graham to save even more), plus water, soft drinks, and juices as summer refreshers. Alternatively, ask everyone to bring a six-pack of their favorite alcoholic beverage while you provide the non-alcoholic selections. Some people like to serve punch at their party instead of other alcoholic choices. Sangria is a favorite summertime punch selection.

If you'd like to find more of Donna Pilato's advice on hosting parties and entertaining friends and family you can visit her at The Delicious Dozen.

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