Summer party ideas including 5 tips for the frugal family hostess, featured on the Southern Momdays blogIt’s easy to go a little overboard on the budget when it comes to planning out your list of summer party ideas.

And for good reason! Once the weather gets warmer, stores rush to stock the shelves with must-have yard games, backyard additions, irresistible luau decorations, and (of course!) festive 4th of July party favors. Who can resist getting swept up in the joy and abandonment of summer?! My summer party ideas could go on and on if I let them.

Thankfully, I use the five summer party tips below to reign-in my planning and keep my budget on track – stress-free!

If you’re a frugal family hostess yourself, these must-know tips are sure to help you stay on track this year. Kick off the party-planning season with me below.

I spent over half a decade as a professional wedding and event planner, so I know these tips can help save any party budget!

  1. Save for the party over time.

Just like I detail in my zero-based budget how-to post (and in my post about how to save for Christmas the easy way), just about anything’s possible if you start saving early enough for it.

Think about it: if you know you want to throw a big luau in June or rock out with the rest of the nation (and your whole tribe) on July 4th, then get a solid budget in place, and save for the big party a little at a time over the months leading up to the big party.

For instance, you could save all year-round or begin once the chaos of Christmas is over. All you’d need to do is set that total budget (best to use expenses from years past to estimate in this scenario!), divide that total by the number of months you’ll have to save before the party, and then be sure to add in a monthly deduction for the money you’re saving each month to your zero-based budget. Voila! Party time will be much less stressful and far more enjoyable.


Money by Mom: Your Personal Finance Solution online course - simple, stress-free budgeting for overwhelmed moms, by Southern Momdays


  1. Stock up on foods and goodies as you go.

Maybe fresh ground beef is on a huge sale a month before the party. Perhaps you have a few killer coupons for your family’s favorite chips long before the party, too. Stock up! Just remember what you’ve already bought, make sure you have the freezer space and the pantry space to store it all, and then don’t use any of it before the party. Also – of course, check expiration dates on things you’re not freezing (or on things that don’t freeze well). That’s important, too! 😉

Finally, one of my favorite summer party ideas to save big on party supplies is to hit the day-after party clearance each year in prep for the next year’s party. It’s an easy-as-pie way to save 50% or more!

  1. Stick with basic colors or opt for a few DIY decorations instead of expensive themes.

We all know those themed parties can get crazy expensive if you weren’t lucky enough to score items on clearance after the previous year’s holiday. Unless you’re shopping at good ol’ Dollar Tree or another discount retailer – and sometimes, even then – you’re looking at dropping a lot of cash on disposable items that often won’t even last through the party itself.

My suggestion is to splurge on one or two “centerpiece” items or decorations, and then supplement that theme with simple tablecloths, cups, plates, and so on in complementary colors. Or, look into DIY decorations that you can pull off easily yourself.

Trust me…I’ve used this tactic at almost every party I’ve thrown, including some of the weddings I coordinated. Great results, a more “signature” look, and an even better bottom line in the budget!



  1. Limit your menu for food and drink.

Ah, the food and drink menu. You can be right on track for everything and then completely blow the budget where food and drink is concerned! So, take it from me, since this was always a big conversation when I was a wedding coordinator: if you’re needing to limit your budget, you need to be strategic about what food and drinks you’re serving.

For instance, could you get by with serving chips and dip instead of hot hors d’oeuvres at your event? And, if everyone loves hotdogs, well…hotdogs are cheaper than hamburgers. (Vice versa, if you’re like many in my family, the hot dogs will be the snack if they’re still hungry after the hamburger! So, you could skip having both and just offer one or the other to save cash.)

I suggest at least serving a protein, a carb, a starch, and a vegetable if you’re opting for a fancier meal. Otherwise, stick to the simple, casual (and affordable) basics for outdoor eating: hamburger, baked beans, and potato or macaroni salad. Done!

A note about drinks – no need to have one of every 2-liter in the soft drink aisle at the supermarket. To cut back on costs, just offer a signature drink like a theme punch that you can DIY, along with tea and water. (You can even name the punch something fun to go along with your party theme!) One last note: if you’re restricting your budget, nix the alcohol or make it BYOB. Simple summer party ideas like that always make me smile!

  1. Ask family members to pitch in by bringing yard games.

If they’ve already got them stashed in their closets, no reason for you to spend money buying the same things! Or, you could always consider renting an affordable pavilion at the local park for your gathering. They’d already have what your family needs to relax and have fun: from grills to recreational equipment.


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Summer party ideas including 5 tips for the frugal family hostess, featured on the Southern Momdays blog


If you loved this list for frugal summer party ideas, you definitely should check out my online course coming in Summer 2019 – Money by Mom: Your Personal Finance Solution!

I’ve designed this course especially for fellow moms overwhelmed by their family’s personal finances. It features a straight-forward, simple, stress-free plan that will help you budget your way to fast personal-finance success with your family.

Best of all, I’m including a list of my very best frugal event-planning tips that condenses all the information above plus more into actionable guidelines for your next family party! You’ll be able to access The 10 Commandments of Frugal Family Parties in the variety of BONUS materials that come with the course via an exclusive digital swag bag.

I’ll have more information about it all very soon. Sign up for my mailing list below to stay in the loop…you won’t want to miss the biweekly updates and insider content I’ll be sending out, now through Launch Day!


Money by Mom: Your Personal Finance Solution online course - simple, stress-free budgeting for overwhelmed moms, by Southern Momdays


What summer party ideas or tips do you have?

Be sure to share them with me in the comments below. I’m always on the lookout for ways to be an even better (and more frugal!) hostess!

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