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10+ Fabulous and Inexpensive Party Ideas for Adults

Check out these fun and unique party ideas for adults and see how you can have a blast on a budget!

By: Krista Childers for CheapThriftyLiving.com
Inexpensive Party Ideas for Adults
Inexpensive Party Ideas for Adults

Throwing parties as an adult and for adults can be difficult, especially if you don't want to spend a fortune. From the themes and the food and drink to games and other activities, it can get expensive.

That's why we put together this guide to inexpensive party ideas for adults. After reading these DIYs, you will see how easy it can be to have a blast on a budget.

You can find awesome cheap party entertainment ideas for adults, along with inexpensive food and drink or decorations without it looking that way, we promise. Whether you are looking for budget-friendly and creative birthday party ideas for adults or just a plan for a small get-together, these tips and suggestions will lead you in the right direction.

First, we will go over some tips to keeping parties thrifty, then we'll provide some fun ideas to think about. We have theme suggestions, crafts to make and free craft sites to check out, game ideas, along with the arguably most important aspect of a party, the food and drink - all while staying on a budget!

Tips for Keeping Your Parties on a Budget

  1. Shop sales and clearances. If you have the space to store decorations, then always be on the lookout for good deals, especially after holidays. You'd be amazed at how many different types of stores have party sections that aren't perused that often.

  2. Dollar stores have more deals! These types of stores have lots of decorations for less but the selection may be limited. If you're looking at the party store, make sure you're checking out their clearance or sale sections.

  3. Don't overdo it. As kids, we love decorations and designs for parties, but as adults, good company (and food/drink) is even more important. Sometimes minimalist decor is the way to go since people will be distracted by socializing most of the time.

  4. Let guests help. As adults, when we're invited to a party, it's common to bring something, whether it be a food, drink, or entertainment item. Use that to your advantage. If you need or want something, ask guests for specifics. This is a great way to save money and it doesn't put people out unless you're asking for expensive or specific things. But, if you let them know the theme or what you’re missing, then you kill two birds with one stone!

  5. Budget locations. Obviously, hosting the party yourself and at your home is going to be the least expensive way to go for an adult party but that's not always an option. Consider asking friends if they want to go in together to plan a party and one of them can host. Also, keep in mind your community areas. If the weather is nice, throwing a party in a park or in a backyard is a great option.

  6. Send invites digitally. We live in a digital age and one of the best ways to save money and time is by sending things through email or social media platforms over snail mail. You can even use e-cards to make it more exciting.

Easy and Cheap Party Themes

Below, we will share some easy ideas for themes you can follow on a budget. If you have a theme, it is easier to plan and narrow down what you need, which helps keep everything on track, especially the monetary aspect of party planning.

Not all parties need distinct themes but you can still have a few visions in mind so that your overall look isn't scattered. If it's near a holiday, you can always include that into your decor, food, and outfits.

BONUS TIPS:

  • Unless it's incredibly important to you, never make costumes or dressing up mandatory. Just as you want to save money, guests don't want to spend a fortune putting together a costume if they don't want to.
  • Keep themes generic or really specific. Give examples to anyone helping you. For example, if your party theme is the 1920s, mention speakeasies, flapper girls, and The Great Gatsby to those attending or helping plan.

  1. Eras

    It's always fun to pretend you're either living in the past or the future. Pick your favorite era and plan around that. If you're looking to decorate in the past, then thrift stores will be your best friend when looking for little bits of decor of any era.

    The future is unknown which means you have a lot of space to play around and ways to keep it under budget. Most people think of silver and space for the future, so start with that. Check out the dollar store or design some posters or signs yourself using a computer and printer or some scissors and construction paper.

    This can be the theme for decoration only, for the overall look, food, drink, and entertainment, or involving the guests. They can dress up if desired to add another element of fun (examples: speakeasy flapper parties of the 1920s or 1980s music videos).

  2. Colors

    Choosing a specific color or group of colors makes decorating much easier and oftentimes cheaper. You could do black and white or all pink or green to help you narrow down what you have to buy. You could even shop the sales first to see if any color jumps out at you.

    Mixing patterns is also super stylish. Get on that power clashing trend for your party by mixing bright stripes and florals or polka dots and argyle. 

    Use a color wheel to help you find complementary colors, which will look smashing and aesthetically pleasing.

  3. Seasonal

    You can use the season of your party as inspiration. If it's spring, you can decorate with light florals, summertime can be tropical or Hawaiian themed, fall can use those rich autumnal shades, and winter is ripe for crisp whites, blues, silvers, and golds.

    This is especially budget-friendly because you can shop sales for seasonal decor at the time. You can even use natural elements to help decorate or have your party outside.

  4. Entertainment-Inspired

    Use your favorite books, television shows, movies, music, or games to inspire your next party. Guests can dress up as their favorite characters or you can simply decorate or serve food and drinks that match your theme. The key to doing this as inexpensive as possible is by DIYing.

    Start early and don't step too far out of your comfort zone as that can cause unneeded stress on what should be a fun occasion. Check out the next section for some great sites that offer free and easy craft ideas.

Budget-Friendly Crafts

One of the best ways to come up with inexpensive party ideas for adults is by thinking about what you can do yourself. In order to stay within your budget for any party, whether it be a birthday party or another event, consider what you need and how to get it.

Planning and creating in advance is almost always going to save you money. Also, by finding projects to make that won't break the bank. Below, we're going over some of our favorite DIY craft sites to help you find decorations and ideas for your next party for adults.

Be sure to check out our frugal crafts as well!

  1. FaveCrafts is a site dedicated to all the free craft projects you can think of, so it's a wonderful place to start when planning. Be sure to check out their party craft section

    Editor's choice: Hawaiian Party Set - This is great for a tropical-themed party!

  2. AllFreeHolidayCrafts has every holiday-related craft project you could image, even birthdays. Search through the site's keywords or use the search bar at the top left to find what you're looking for.

    Editor's choice: Zodiac DIY Pinata - Pinatas aren't just for kids. Make a birthday party one to remember by bringing back the pinata. Awesomely fun.

  3. Make and Tell is stuffed to the brim with stylish and cool free printables and DIY projects. Take a look at the party printables section to find some of the most creatives ideas for your adult party ever!

    Editor's choice: Printable Rainbow Star Letters - These printable letters are colorful and full of stars. Perfect for garlands, invites, signs, and so much more!

  4. Crafts by Amanda needs to be mentioned when discussing craft party ideas for adults. This site has a whole huge section dedicated to thrifty and unique craft ideas, most of which work beautifully for parties of all types. Check out the adult crafts section to find a project.

    Editor's choice: Fabric Scrap Heart Garland - Any romantic party, whether it be Valentine's Day, anniversaries, showers will look lovely with this sweet and scrappy garland.

  5. CraftPaperScissors is a blog with all sorts of party ideas for someone on a budget. Check out their party decorations posts and get ideas from all over and using all types of materials.

    Editor's choice: The Best Harry Potter Crafts and Recipes for a Magical Party - This fun post features all sorts of ideas for a Harry Potter themed party. So enchanting and not just for kids!

Cheap Party Games

Having a party without games is like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly. Party games can be expensive but there are so many thrifty alternatives. We found so many printable party activities for adults along with some fun and easy DIY games you can make ahead of time.

BONUS TIPS:

  • If you don't feel like printing anything, you can always write your own versions of these ideas or ideas you've seen elsewhere.
  • You can also search garage sales and thrift stores for discount board and video party games. Just make sure you can find all the pieces!

  1. Celebrity Anagrams: This printable game is a fun group activity. Unscramble the letters to find the names of celebrities. You can find more free adult games to print at Word Game World as well.

  2. Milk Bottle Toss Game: Go vintage with this fun milk bottle craft and activity. Guests will love the simple joys and challenges of this classic game. You can find more game ideas at Delineate Your Dwelling as well.

  3. Two Truths and a Lie: This is a fun and thrifty game idea. Guests will write their facts and fallacies down and other guests will have to guess the truths and lies. Find this and more creative party game ideas on Fun Stuff To Do.

  4. Yard-Zee: Take your Yahtzee game to the next level with these large, adult-sized die. They are easy to make and super fun to play with. Find more party decorations and games on Nancy Keslin's site.

  5. Alphabet Game: The best aspect of this game is that you can change up the rules to find lots of different ways to play. Find words related to a theme using the alphabet and the first to fill in all the letters wins. Find this and more printables at My Party Games.

Budget Party Food & Drink Recipes

Now, here's the most important party of any party: the food and drink options! Use your theme or your knowledge about your guests to help you find the perfect recipes.

BONUS TIPS:

  • You can always make your party a potluck, with everyone pitching in to bring something.
  • You can also cut costs by making it BYOB for alcohol, especially because everyone has their own preferences for beer, wine, and liquor.
  • If you are making large-batch or fruity-flavored cocktails, it's fine to get a mid-grade-quality alcohol since (as long as the portions are correct) the other flavors will overtake the alcohol flavor.

Looking for cheap and easy cocktail ideas for big groups?
How about...
1. Five Ingredient White Sangria from RecipeLion

2. Raspberry-Rhubarb Collins Party Punch from Simple Bites

3. Christmas Cranberry Punch Recipe

4. Martini Poinsettia Punch from RecipeLion

5. 3-Ingredient Italian Spritz Cocktail

 

5-Ingredient Pasta Salad

So fast, so easy, and always a party-pleaser!

Easy Mojito Popsicles Recipe

Adult fun to cool off any summer get-together!

Easy Monster Cookie Recipe

Use any baking sweets or candy you already have in your kitchen to make this yummy recipe ultra thrifty!

This comfort food is always welcome at parties. Serve it with bread, pitas, pretzels, or whatever you have on hand.

Slow Cooker Pizza Pull-Apart Bread Recipe

Yum! While you're getting ready for the party, this delicious pull-apart bread is cooking. Couldn't be easier!

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

2 ingredients?! Wow, that couldn't be easier or cheaper to make. Feel free to add your own blend of spices from what you have in your pantry.

Avocado Hummus Recipe

Light appetizers like this hummus will keep your guests satisfied until dinner!

Homemade Mango Raspberry Salsa Recipe

Light, fruity salsas served with plantain chips are ideal for summer parties!

Cauliflower Hot Wings Recipe

Let's not exclude the vegetarians from the hot wings!

5-Ingredient White Pizza

Adaptable, easy, and fun! This pizza is a party in and of itself!

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Hosting a party doesn't have to expensive or stressful. There's many tips here that can help you set up the perfect party and still save your coin. For decor, pick a themed party, it will be easier to buy the decorations at a sale. You can even make your own. As for snacks and food, making dips like guacamole or salsa and chips is easy. You can also ask your guests to bring a pot dish.

Fun ideas for adults. I particularly like the big batch drinks. Easy to make and it leaves more time for socializing.

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