Chic AND Cheap Party Themes To Host On a Budget!

Jun 29, 2023 | Party, Playing Hostess

The longer days, the warmer evenings – summer is the best time to get together with neighbors, friends, and families. Even if you are celebrating a specific holiday or birthday, we love having people over for summertime fun! Here are some ideas for hosting a super chic get-together that won't cost a fortune!

One Brass Fox's parfait bar, from Fun Cheap or Free

We enjoy frugal living, and we enjoy entertaining. Guess what? YOU CAN HAVE BOTH!

Being financially savvy and budget-conscious doesn't have to mean you sacrifice a social life. We are in total support of still fostering a thriving social life, hosting friends if that's something you love! (We do!)

There are TONS of ways to throw a chic-looking get-together, for a special occasion or “just because!” And the best part is, most of them can be done without spending a ton of money. Here are three chic party ideas that won't break the bank:

1. An Afternoon Tea

One of my favorite parts about getting together with girlfriends is dressing up and feeling feminine in a pretty dress that's totally different than my “mom uniform”. You too? If you want an excuse to feel *fancy* then why not plan an afternoon tea?

It can be as casual or as formal as you want! The point is just to enjoy time with your friends, and this is one way to make a cheap event appear very chic!

Some tips on throwing an afternoon tea affordably:

  • Thrift shop for your tea cups and plates, if you don't already have a set. They don't have to match! In fact, it's especially charming when everyone has mismatched and random tea cups!
  • Tea itself can be very inexpensive. You can make large batches of tea in tea pots, or simply boil water in a tea kettle and let everyone pick their own tea bags to make the flavor they prefer!
  • Tea parties don't require much additional decor. A simple vase of fresh flowers will do! Don't be afraid to embrace a mismatched yet charming aesthetic that adds character to the event. Adding a floral or lace tablecloth and tea light candles can elevate the ambiance without costing a fortune.

What Food To Serve At An Afternoon Tea

bacon and cheese mini quiche, from Fun Cheap or Free

Foods served at an afternoon tea are typically dainty and bite-sized!

  • Tea sandwiches are an obvious choice! We love cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, cut into small triangles or rectangles.
  • Egg salad: Chopped hard-boiled eggs mixed with mayonnaise, mustard, and seasonings on soft bread.
  • We also love this crustless mini quiche recipe, which is quick and simple to prepare!
  • Consider serving this Strawberry Spinach Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing if you'd like to keep the menu on the healthy side.
  • Of course an afternoon tea is best when there are plenty of pastries involved! There are many pre-made pastries that will work just perfectly from the bakery section of any grocery store. Mini scones, macaroons, or classic chocolate chip cookies. Or feel free to bake your own!
  • Lemon bars are a springtime favorite dessert, tart and sweet lemon filling on a buttery shortbread crust cut into small squares. My mouth is watering!

Remember, the key to a successful afternoon tea is presentation, which can be mastered on any budget! Arrange the food beautifully on tiered serving trays and provide small plates, napkins, and teaspoons for guests to enjoy their treats comfortably.

Pinkies out, darling!

2. A Bomb-Diggity Brunch

Brunch is a more affordable alternative to hosting guests than dinner. Typically the food is lighter, with less of an emphasis on meat. Plus we love a midmorning social event, so we can still spend the evening with our family! Here are some ideas to throw a yummy and fun brunch with friends:

Brunch Party Food Ideas from

YOU can decide how simple or elaborate your brunch spread is. You can also make it a potluck, and ask guests to sign up for specific items to contribute!

Here are some ideas to include in your menu or to ask guests to bring:

  • Egg dishes: Eggs are versatile, nutritious, and affordable. Consider serving dishes like scrambled eggs, omelets, frittatas, or quiches. You can customize them with various fillings such as vegetables, cheese, and herbs.
  • Bagels & Cream Cheese. Set out a toaster and allow guests to make their own!
  • Mini Quiches are a bite-sized easy brunch item!
  • Orange juice or Lemonade. Better yet – try a “signature drink” and make this party punch that is ALWAYS a hit!
  • Yogurt parfaits: Layer inexpensive plain or Greek yogurt with granola and fresh fruits in glasses or small bowls. This simple and healthy option adds a refreshing touch to your brunch.
  • Fruit salad: Make a colorful fruit salad using seasonal fruits. Buying fruits in season is often more affordable and ensures freshness. You can also mix in a little citrus juice or a drizzle of honey for added flavor.
  • Baked goods: Whip up some homemade muffins, scones, or quick bread using basic ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder. Opt for flavors like blueberry, banana nut, or lemon poppy seed.
  • Breakfast burritos: Make breakfast burritos using scrambled eggs, cheese, and inexpensive ingredients like beans, potatoes, or sautéed vegetables. Wrap them in tortillas and serve with salsa or hot sauce.
  • Pancakes or waffles: Pancakes and waffles are crowd-pleasers and can be made using basic pantry staples like flour, eggs, milk, and baking powder. Add variety by offering different toppings such as maple syrup, fruit compotes, or powdered sugar.
  • French toast: Turn stale bread into a delicious brunch dish by making French toast. Soak slices of bread in a mixture of eggs, milk, and vanilla, then cook them on a griddle or in a skillet. Serve with syrup, fruit, or a dusting of cinnamon.

Set up a self-serve buffet-style brunch instead of plated meals. This allows guests to serve themselves and take smaller portions, reducing food waste. Use attractive platters and bowls to display the food, and label them with small cards or chalkboard signs.

You can also add a personalized touch that costs nothing with handwritten place cards for each guest. Thoughtful gestures can go a long way in making the brunch memorable!

Remember, the most important aspect of any brunch is the company and the joy of gathering together. By planning smartly and incorporating these tips, you can throw an affordable brunch without compromising on the enjoyment and deliciousness of the occasion.


Help your friends unlock their creative side AND spend some quality time together by throwing an event to create a craft together! There are so many options for this kind of party. And best part – you DON'T need to be particularly crafty yourself to make this a success, thanks to Pinterest and YouTube tutorials!

It's up to you to decide how simple or advanced your craft will be. Select crafts that don't require expensive or specialized materials. Look for projects that can be done with basic supplies like paper, scissors, glue, markers, or recyclable materials. Pinterest and other craft websites can be great sources of inspiration for budget-friendly crafts!

Include potluck-style refreshments, and ask your guests to bring a small dish or snack to share. This way, you can save money on catering while providing a variety of food options for everyone to enjoy!

Here are some simple ideas that ANYONE can make together:

  • Paper garlands or banners
  • Greeting cards or handmade bookmarks
  • Painted or decorated mason jar vases
  • Old t-shirts transformed into tote bags or pillow covers
  • Rock painting
  • Painted wooden signs or coasters
  • Hand-painted mugs or plates (with non-toxic paint)
  • Painted flower pots or garden markers

If you're looking to challenge your crafting skills and take on more advanced projects, here are some ideas for advanced DIY crafts (you can often find basic tutorial videos online for these too!):

  • Candle Making: Craft your own candles by melting wax, adding fragrance oils, and pouring them into molds or containers. Experiment with different scents and colors for personalized candles.
  • Decoupage: Transform plain objects like wooden boxes, trays, or vases by covering them with decorative paper or fabric using decoupage techniques. Seal with varnish for a glossy finish.
  • Soap Making: Create custom soaps by melting and molding soap bases. Add scents, colors, and even small embedded objects for unique designs. Explore different molds and shapes.
  • Create intricate mosaic designs using glass tiles or stained glass pieces.
  • Hand-Painted Ceramics: Personalize plain ceramic mugs, plates, or bowls with your own designs using ceramic paints or markers. Bake them in the oven for a permanent finish.
  • Customized Tote Bags: Decorate plain canvas tote bags with fabric paints, iron-on patches, or fabric markers. Add your own designs, quotes, or stenciled patterns to make them unique.

The focus of a DIY craft party is on creativity and having fun together. With a little planning and resourcefulness, you can host a memorable party without breaking the bank.

Which of these three party ideas did you like best? We hope by now you can see that being frugal and being chic can coexist!

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