You’ve just moved in, your boxes are unpacked, and you’re ready to show off your new home. What better way to do it than with a housewarming party? Whether you go casual or fancy, open invite or exclusive guest list, a housewarming party is an excellent way to celebrate your exciting new digs and take a breather after the stress of moving. And good news: you can totally throw an awesome housewarming party on a budget.
Moving costs money, so it makes sense that you might not want to splurge on a big party right away. Fortunately, you can throw a great housewarming party without spending a ton of money. There aren’t a lot of rules when it comes to a new home party—just do what makes the most sense with the time, space, and budget that you have, and focus primarily on having a good time. Not sure where to even start? Read through the following tips and get started on planning your perfect housewarming party without spending a ton of money.
Figure out how much you want to spend
Before you make any decisions about your housewarming party, you need to know how much money you have to work with. Don’t feel any sort of obligation to spend big—a great housewarming party can be a totally casual affair. Most important is knowing what you’re comfortable spending—be it $50 or $500—and from there you can dive in to all of the other details.
Set a reasonable date
Many people wait a few months in between moving in to their new home and throwing a housewarming party. Planning a housewarming party on a budget is all about working within parameters that you’re comfortable with, and that applies to timing as much as money. Figure out a date that will give you enough time to recover financially from the move, letting go of the pressure to do it within the first month or two of settling in.
Party planning usually starts out with grand ideas that gradually get edited into something more reasonable. And that’s totally okay! Nobody is going to come in expecting a Pinterest-worthy soiree or something out of the pages of Martha Stewart Living. Set realistic goals for your housewarming party and don’t worry about meeting some sort of idealistic, unnecessary standard.
Limit the guest list
A party doesn’t have to mean inviting a ton of people. While a housewarming get together is certainly the sort of event that you can invite acquaintances to, if you’re doing your housewarming party on a budget you’re probably better off paring the guest list down to just your closest friends and their significant others (if applicable). That will make your shindig both more manageable and more cost effective.
Send out free invitations
Long gone are the days of snail mail invites. The internet offers plenty of ways to send glitzy invitations via email, but they don’t all come cheap. Luckily, you can find free options on sites like Paperless Post and Punchbowl. If you’re not in the mood to even go that fancy, a simple (closed) Facebook invitation will do or even just individual text messages to your invitees. Just be sure to give your guests enough notice before the party date and to request RSVPs so that you know exactly how many people to expect.
Skip the decorations
Your home is the setting—and the star—of your housewarming party. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Decorations can quickly add up, so if you’re planning a housewarming party on a budget, just skip them entirely and focus more on making your home look its best with the things you already own. If you do want to add some special touches, buy things that you can get use out of even after the party, like string lights, art, and maybe a pretty dessert stand for the kitchen counter top.
Hit up the dollar store
If you’re absolutely set on decorating, head to the dollar store. You’ll find a lot of options in terms of super cheap decorating and party supplies, and should have no problem staying within your budget. Just remember the golden rule of dollar stores: if you don’t really want or need it, don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. And when your party is over, save your decorations for the next one!
Create a signature big batch cocktail
Buying alcohol for your party can get expensive fast, and it’s hard to know exactly what people will want to drink and how much they’ll want to drink. So instead of playing the guessing game, make one big batch cocktail to serve a crowd (these can all be made for under $30). Let your guests know that a cocktail option will be provided, but to bring any additional alcohol they’d like, such as beer, wine, or a specific type of liquor.
Get creative with budget-friendly bites
Most of the money you’ll be spending for your housewarming party is going to go toward food costs. But with a little bit of creativity you can put out a fantastic spread without spending big. There are some great ideas for budget bites here, including sides, appetizers, and entrees. If you’re not into cooking, you can always go with the sure winner in budget-friendly eats: pizza.
Or, make it a potluck
Potlucks are an excellent way to feed a lot of people without having to spend a ton of money. It’s a totally reasonable request to ask each of your friends to bring a dish to share, and many people enjoy cooking or baking something special for the event (and for those who don’t, there’s no rule that says you can’t just pick up something from the store for a potluck).
Make it a dessert party
Nobody will be disappointed if they arrive at your party to find an array of sweets. You can make plenty of desserts that feed a lot of people for cheap, and it’s a great alternative to having to spend money on more expensive items like meats and cheeses. If you do decide to throw a dessert party, let people know that will be the case and don’t throw it during a meal time. That way, your guests will show up knowing not to expect a full spread. You can combine this idea with the potluck idea too, making a few desserts yourself but asking everyone to bring their favorite dessert as well. If you’re not a baker, buy several tubs of ice cream and some fun toppings and set up a sundae bar.
Use washable plates and utensils
It’s always tempting with a party to go the easy route and purchase paper plates and plastic utensils, but ultimately that just ends of being a waste of money. Use your own plates, utensils, glasses, etc. instead, which will cost you in time when you eventually have to do the dishes but won’t put a hole in your wallet. If you’re planning to have more people than kitchen items, go out and buy plastic plates and cups instead of paper, since they can be washed a reused.
Focus on the ambiance
Throwing a housewarming party on a budget—or any party on a budget—is all about setting the mood and making the event seem more decadent than it really is. There are plenty of ways to do this, from lighting candles to making a great playlist to having cookies in the oven when people arrive so that they’re welcomed by the smell of fresh baked goods. Think of ways you can add to the affair without spending money by focusing less on the obvious things and more on the general ambiance.
If you want to offer a little bit more in terms of entertainment, create your own free housewarming party games, like a scavenger hunt of items in the house, trivia about your town or city, or a scramble with words related to your new place. You can find game printables online or just make your own.
The key to throwing a housewarming party on a budget is to do the best with what you’re comfortable spending and refuse to let in to pressure about what your party should look like and include. The guests that attend are coming to support you and check out your new home—they’re not expecting anything super fancy. Take care to work within the confines of your budget and you’ll not only have less stress leading up to the event, you’ll appreciate it more too.
Source: Mueller, Laura. "How to Throw a Housewarming Party on a Budget." Moving.com. 9 July 2018. https://www.moving.com/tips/how-to-throw-housewarming-party-on-a-budget/