When hosting a graduation party on a budget, there are many things to consider. We’ve got you covered, from tips on saving money on food and decorations to where to find affordable decorations and invitations.
The best way to throw a dream graduation party is frugally (without going bankrupt)! You need many things for a party, including tables, chairs, tents, paper products, food, drink, and decorations.
So when faced with throwing a high school graduation party frugally, I was up to the task! I did it all for under $250!
Where To Get Invitations
Buy Them And Write Them Yourself
Writing out invitations is what I would consider old school. Buy a generic (and pretty) graduation invitation and write it out yourself.
Relatively easy, straightforward, less expensive, yet a tad time-consuming.
I don’t believe this is the most frugal way to go. These are around .31 cents apiece. However, the time it would take to fill them all out should be considered in the cost.
Print Your Own Cards
Printing your own cards from home may be a great way to design what you want.
Although printer ink is not cheap and purchasing the blank invitations and envelopes is going to add to the cost, if you are adamant about a specific look and you have a bunch of supplies already in your craft room, you might be able to swing it.
Order From An Online Printer
Order Photo Cards
Ordering cards was my route of choice, and it was the easy way.
At first, I looked at Shutterfly at $1 apiece, but then Tammi suggested Walmart.
She knows I am not a fan of Walmart but asked me to consider it because you can order online, pick them up, and they are CRAZY CHEAP compared to every other place I checked!
Although the invites you have to fill in are cheaper, these are already done for you. Just slap the addresses and stamps on them and then send! For.33 each (including envelopes), it’s a win/ win.
Add Supplement Information
I’m adding in a printed card full of other information because the photo card I got wasn’t big enough for everything I wanted to share.
If you have a pool and want people to bring suits and towels or like us, you ask them to bring their chairs; this is the place to do it. Maybe include directions to the party in this addition to the envelope.
Create a Facebook Event
Skip all the formalities and go straight to Facebook. Many people are already there anyway and you could save time and money by creating an event and inviting everyone!
Graduation Plates, Cups, Dinnerware, And Tablecloths
Depending on your picnic theme, you can get any of these in different colors!
Although, the plastic table cloths were purchased at the dollar store because that was the best deal.
Don’t forget the serving utensils for meat and salads!!
One of the great things about our high school is that our colors are orange and black. I was able to get some great orange and black vinyl table cloths after Halloween on clearance for food tables.
Amazon sells all the paper products you might need in every color imaginable. You may have party supply stores like The Paper City, but the closest one to our house is 45 minutes away.
Decorations, Balloons, and Banners
I’m making some decorations for the party like fabric banners from scraps I have, and we are using an old suitcase for cards that we are borrowing.
You can also grab a card box pretty inexpensively. Pinterest has everything you might need as far as ideas.
I’m also borrowing an old window to display all of my son’s senior pictures. A beautiful visual for everyone to take a peek!
I also ordered four big numbered balloons (2019) for the gift table.
I will also add a display of college stuff, so guests know where he is headed in the fall.
For around $20, I ordered a big banner for the front lawn congratulating my son and the rest of the class from banners dot com. He’s pretty introverted and doesn’t seem real happy about this part. But, I think he’ll dig deep and make it through.
Tables, Chairs, And Tents
Here is my most extensive savings advice. Many companies and organizations will rent out tables, chairs, and tents.
Before doing any of that, I would suggest checking around to see if you can borrow from friends, family, and neighbors. I think everyone may own at least one EZ Up tent.
We have a big white one that’s 10 x 30 that will be pulled out and put up. But we also will borrow a couple of 10 x 10 and 12 x 12 for additional cover if the weather is terrible.
We have ten old heavy tables that my elderly neighbor gave us after they moved out. They are old and a little rough, but they will be good as new by covering them with a table cloth.
My only concern was for chairs. We have quite a few for outdoor seating, but I was just concerned that there wouldn’t be enough to eat by the tables. So I included a request for guests to bring their chairs in our supplement to the invitation.
Food For A Summer Party
Meal planning is essential for a gathering like this. We are doing a cookout, so hot dogs, hamburgers, and marinated chicken will be on the grill. To cut costs, ask family members to help by bringing salads.
I have purchased small bags of chips and will be making baked beans and macaroni salad.
Many other family members will also bring salads.
I might make a big dish of Macaroni and Cheese. It’s a favorite passed down through the generations!
I have an acquaintance that makes the most fantastic custom sugar cookies! That is my bigger splurge, but they are SUPER CUTE!!! So, I needed to have those.
Our local grocery store makes the most amazing cakes. Their frosting is our favorite. That should cost us only around $30.
I’ve been picking up cases of soda and water for the last few months. I want to make iced tea and lemonade to put in my drink dispenser.
Games And Music
My friend Chuck is a DJ and owes me a few hours of music so he will be spinning some tunes for us in the afternoon at no cost. I’m wondering if he also does Karaoke!!
I’m also thinking about setting up an area for a photo booth. I bet my husband could build something quick! You can order the props right online, too!
We have a good-sized yard to set up our horseshoes and badminton. I’m also asking friends if they have any other outside games like cornhole to play.
Final Thoughts On How To Host A Graduation Party On A Budget
All of this will cost about $250. My most important advice is to ask and borrow. Especially if this might be a one-time thing.
If you plan on doing more parties or have other children that will be graduating, then maybe investing in tents, tables, and entertaining items might be worth it over renting.
But borrowing is always the way to keep it cheap.