How to Throw a Dinner Party on a Budget

Hosting a dinner party can seem like a daunting task whether you are hosting a large party or just a few people. Here are some tips and tricks to throwing a successful dinner party on a budget.


If you want to send out invitations to make your dinner party more special, there are plenty of free online templates for invitations. Punchbowl and Smilebox are two websites that have free customizable invitations. Sending the invitations via email, cuts out the cost of printing and mailing. There is also always the option to simply text those that you are inviting or even making a private Facebook event. 

An invitation is also where you want to give any instructions for your guests. This can include whether they have any dietary needs, and asking them to reach out if so. If you request that your guests bring something or dress to a theme, this can be stated on the invitation.


When it comes to the décor for your dinner party, it is always best to keep it simple. You should have a presentable table, but you do not need to spend a ton of money doing so. You can use what you have around the house to spruce up your dining area or even ask friends or family if you can borrow something.

Let Pinterest become your best friend for ideas on decorating your dining space. You can DIY your own décor with items purchased from the dollar store or even a thrift store. Thrift stores are also a great place to find plates from $0.50 to $2.00 if you need more for your guests. You can likely even find cloth napkins there which will make your dinner seem more formal. If you want to incorporate real flowers, check your garden to see if you can pick any.

Planning the Courses

Be sure to start planning for your dinner party as soon as possible. This will give you the chance to see if you need to borrow dishware or décor from friends or family. Also, set a budget for your dinner party early on and stick to it.

Checking out the grocery store ads ahead of time will let you see what is on sale and give you the ability to coordinate your dinner around those items. We suggest shopping at budget grocery stores if there are any in your area, such as Aldi or Trader Joe’s. It is best to look for fruits and vegetables that are in season because they are in larger quantities with lower prices. Before heading to the grocery store, be sure to look through your pantry and refrigerator because you may already have some of the ingredients you need. A helpful tool is SuperCook; this is a website that allows you to check off the ingredients you have at home and it gives you suggestions of meals you can make with those ingredients. 

Do not be afraid to ask your friends for help. An option is to make the dinner a potluck and have everyone bring a food dish. If you decide to do a potluck, it is best to send out a document with what everyone is choosing to bring ahead of time. Ideally, guests can bring their own alcohol, if they choose, because alcohol is expensive and that will cut out a huge cost. 


Appetizers are not necessary but if you would like them, keep it limited. You want to have realistic portions. You do not want your guests to feel full before they have sat down for the entrée. Some various appetizer options to make include bruschetta, caprese skewers, salad, or soup.


For the entrée, keep it simple and do not go overboard with the side dishes. To save money on your entrée meal, we suggest making it meatless. A vegetarian meal will cut down the cost because meat adds up quickly when you are feeding many people. It is also best to keep it family style, so you do not have to worry about plating each meal yourself. 


For dessert, it can be as simple as cookies, cake, pie, or even brownies. Not everything has to be homemade, so you could always just buy a premade dessert. This will cut down your time in the kitchen and it may end up being cheaper in the long run.


Dinner parties are more about the experience and the company than it is about the actual food. An idea is that you could make a playlist of music that fits the mood to play softly in the background.

After dinner, a fun idea for entertainment could be games. The games should be catered to the company you have. Do not feel like you need to go out and buy several games because you may not end up playing them. You can also tell guests to bring any games if you do not have any.

Ultimately, you do not need to spend hundreds of dollars to host a dinner party. Do not feel bad for asking for help from friends and family because they will likely be more than happy to help. People will have fun regardless of how much you spend or how it looks. We hope these tips will help you better execute your dream dinner party!

Article By: Amber Greenup