Party Time – When You Don’t Have Much Time

Feeling bored with the typical weekend routine of trying to rally your friends into going to some random bar? Feel like you are too short on money and time to host a party? No problem! Remember how much fun you used to have as a kid playing with your friends? Embrace your inner child and have a GAME NIGHT!  I love hosting parties but have a full time job and have a tight budget.  Here are some ways I have found to stretch my pennies, conserve my time, and make a BIG impact.

game night

  1. Ask your friends to bring their favorite games to play, that way you aren’t stuck with having to provide all of the options and they get excited to share with everyone. Group games like Guesstures are great because everyone can participate and creates fun competition.
  2. Apply the KISS (Keep It Simply Stupid) method when deciding on food. You don’t have to have a three course meal and friends can bring snacks they want to contribute as well.

My menu included:

    • Chicken lettuce wraps with options for BBQ or Buffalo sauce – great gluten free option and you can make a bunch of shredded chicken in the crockpot. Set it and forget it.
    • Ham and Cheese rolls – I used pizza crust dough and rolled it out really thin then placed the ham and cheese and rolled it up, sliced in ¼ inch sections, brushed with butter then baked. Served with mustard for a kick!
    • Kale chips- I got a bag of pre-washed and already but kale. Simply place them on a cookie sheet, drizzle a little olive oil over it and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste then bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
    • Popcorn – a classic staple that is cheap and easy. Put in cute bags so guests can just grab one and go!
    • Cookies – because I have a sweet tooth, ALWAYS. Since I didn’t have time to bake from scratch, I just did the tollhouse pre-made break apart package. They come in squares already pre portioned for you for the perfect sized cookie AND you can freeze what you don’t use.
  1. Do ONE drink option. Booze can be the most expensive part of any gathering. Make a signature cocktail for the event then tell your guests if they want something in particular to bring it!
  2. Decorate with what you have! I am notorious about buying or making new decorations for parties, but this time I resisted my urge. I had some left over black plastic table clothes and green felt leftover from a Texas Hold Em’ party I hosted awhile back. I used it to cover my coffee table and bar counter to make them look like poker tables. (You can buy the table cloths at the Dollar Store if you don’t have them on hand, and JoAnn’s Fabrics has felt for really cheap!) I also used poker chips I already had as a filler in a glass bowl and placed a candle in it and voi la… A custom center piece.
  3. CRAFT – I love making things and it gives your party a personal touch. I made a card garland using playing cards I found at the Dollar Store, twine I had on hand and my glue gun. I also got poster board (the thick kind – from the Dollar Store) and had a friend paint them like the King and Queen of Hearts with cut outs for people’s faces. People loved to take pictures with them! $3 and a little time can make all the difference in setting the ambiance for your party.
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