Best 23 Quick and Easy Choices for Cheap Party Food

Whenever you throw a party, always remember to save up your money by serving cheap party food. A party can be as merry as it can be, not only because of the crowd but also the food. Sometimes as a host, you get nervous about what to serve to your guests. Will this be okay? Will this bunch of bread look decent enough as a party food? So many things probably leave you worried about the outcome of your choices.

Party is all about gathering, so serving foods that fit the theme or the concept of your gathering should always be your priority. Aside from decorations and other things, you may also have to consider your guests as well. Certain foods may please the crowd, while some others may not. The other thing you should probably pay attention to is the timing of your party. Consider the food you plan to serve with the time of the party, so your guests will have a good time at your place.

When it comes to party food ideas, you must allow your options to be as diverse but economical at the same time, especially if you struggle with your newfound online jobs. It is important to note that your guests have various types of preferences when it comes to food. Coming up with the different variations of foods along with the considerate portions may allow you to plan your party better.

In order to help you out planning your party, we will give you tips on dealing with cheap party food ideas. Before we dive into the options of cheap food at parties, you can take a look at several things you need to know about party food below.

Food Choices At A Party

Party Food Choices
Party Food Choices

Feeding a crowd of people cannot be that easy. There are people with specific preferences in food and there are also those who have allergies to certain ingredients. While it is impossible to take account of all the things related to their personal choices, you can still rule out some options to please the crowd in a general sense.

Party food ideas should always be aligned with the theme of the party or the audience of the party itself. A big part of the party is always to meet up with people and have a good time. In order to complete that experience, you need good party food ideas to liven up the atmosphere.

Best Choices for Food Party

Food party should always compliment the concept of your party. As simple as it sounds, there are certainly more to the choices that you can actually think of. Good party food ideas should always be accounted for, but coordination shall not be dismissed when it comes to deciding which food party fits best for yours.

A refreshment kind of party may need something refreshing as well. In many occasions, you must prepare fresh foods and beverages. Snacks are also highly recommended in the cheap party food list. Serving light snacks should be considered a staple at your party. If you cannot afford a big buffet, you can always go with various different snacks to please your guests.

If you plan to have a nice little party with a few closest relatives, then a brunch set will preferably make up for the food choice. On the other hand, you can always get the party going with a few snacks and cocktails in a little colleague gathering. In other words, the key is to always consider who will you serve the food for and what you wish people do at your party.

By planning what you want to do with your party beforehand, you will get to save your money on what is necessary. From the concept to the party food ideas, make sure everything is coordinated. Therefore, you will manage to get everything in order and get your budget in check.

Adjust The Time of the Party

In order to manage your party food budget, you have to set the time of your party accordingly. If you can arrange your time accordingly, then you will have more benefit to arrange the schedule. While some events can be arranged, there are some others that cannot be adjusted according to your own will.

Plan your party accordingly for the likes of events such as graduating parties or casual parties. These kinds of events which have no agenda or you can do freely will give you more flexibility in planning your party. In case other events cannot be arranged, you will have to follow up with its schedule. Managing your time can give you an upper hand in planning your food party as well as arranging the budget for the affordable party food.

Just like everyday life, party food needs to be managed according to the time of the day. Since party food is not as different as our daily food, you can always put the time of the party in consideration of your own party food ideas. By arranging the party food according to daily food consumption, your guests will be able to consume the food as normal as they do daily.

Times of the day include days and nights. Food in the days will have to include proper lunch or various snacks. In addition to the food, you will have to at least provide fresh drinks to relieve the grease. A party at a later time in the afternoon will afford less food than the one at noon. Since the party holds after lunch, a couple of fingers foods and refreshing appetizers will do the job finely.

Manage The Guest List of The Party

When it comes to hosting a party, you will have to manage your guest list. Consider the audience of your party when you prepare for food. In terms of the number of guests, snacks can always provide the best options for whichever kind of party you host. If you intend to throw a party with a large crow, you must prepare for a large amount of food. In addition to the numbers, you may also have to consider what types of activities you want to do. A movie screening, for instance, can do with some popcorn buckets and a lot of drinks.

In order to manage your food budget, you have to also consider the crowd of the party. A small gathering may only involve several people closest to you. By looking up to the number of your guests, you can make a budget plan for your party food ideas. Make sure to always choose cheap or affordable food before considering other options.

Keep in mind that cheap food does not equate to bad quality. You can have tasty foods without having to pay for more. Other than the food list, you have to manage the number of your guests as well. A family gathering, for instance, can only be attended by some of your closest family members. Other events, like a birthday party, will also be possible with a few closest friends instead of a large number of colleagues you barely know.

With a small crowd, you can minimize your budget for food. However, you may also invite more crowds with a considerable amount of food. If you plan to invite more guests, you may also have to consider more budget for your party food ideas. Just keep in mind that the number of your guest can affect the budget for your party food.

Party Food for the Occasion

Spend less money with a strategical method. Aside from guest list and time, you must also need to consider the types of foods that fit the events. A gathering with your male colleagues will certainly need some of the more heavy foods and light snacks alike. In addition to foods, you will also need to provide dozens of cans of sodas to relieve the thirst.

A female gathering, on the other hand, can have more of a lighter type of food. Since female colleagues tend to spend their time by conversing with each other, food can simply act as a complement of the event. By considering the event and the guest of the party, you will not waste any foods and keep your party food budget in check.

Minimal Budget for Cheap Party Food

Minimal Budget for Party Food
Minimal Budget for Party Food

Considering the natural factors of throwing parties may give you the benefits of arranging the budget for the food. While the number of guests and the time may allow you to save some money, there are things that you must consider to minimize your budget as well. It is important that you always save up the money from your jobs for more important things other than a party. You can simply use more ideas to maximize the possibility of throwing a party with a minimum budget by serving cheap food.

We have curated some of the options to minimize the food budget below. Try to see if you can do one of the tricks below to minimize your party food budget.

On Sale Food for A Treat

Save up your money for the party by buying on sale food. Despite its cheap price, on-sale food can often taste unexpectedly tasty. Most people often dismiss cheap food because of its price, but that simply is not the case. If you can find the one with great quality for a cheap price, then you will get to save up most of your party budget.

Supermarkets often sell a lot of foods at an affordable price. You may find all kinds of snacks on the rack with a discounted price on their tags. Along with the cheap snacks, you can also get plastic plates to share the snacks to your guests. If you feel like the snacks are not enough, then you can always buy more food. Homemade food with on-sale ingredients, for instance, may also be a good choice as party food ideas.

Since supermarkets often change their on-sale products every month, you will need to grab them when the chance presents. Often, the sale happens within a period of holiday time. In case you intend to plan a gathering or a party during the holiday period, then it is best if you look for the on-sale food. By doing so, you will be able to save up more of your budget than you ever hope.

Keep in mind that a lot of on-sale foods may have near expiry dates, so you must save them in a fully functional refrigerator. If your party exceeds the expiry date of the food, then you must find another alternative choice of snack at an affordable price. The other things you must pay attention to are the packaging of the food itself. If you find the package has a broken seal, you must look for the other snacks.

Buy Affordable Beverage

Another thing you must consider when planning a party is beverages. In addition to cheap food, you must also save up your budget for some drink. After chugging off some snacks, your guests will surely get thirsty. Serving cans of sodas may save you some money. Alternatively, you can try to look for other beverages at an affordable price as well.

A few tips in choosing cheap beverages may do you good in setting up your budget plan. You must keep in mind not to buy alcoholic beverages for they may cost you more money. Cans of beers and bottles of wine are definitely out of the options. Go with fruit punch, coffee, or water to save up your budget even more. If you plan to buy sodas, then it is better to buy two-liter bottles instead of cans. By doing all of these, you can save up your budget for something else which contributes to the party.

Cheap Grocery Store for Affordable Party Food

It will help you a lot if you can find a store which sells cheap food. Try to buy some party food at Aldi or Walmart to get your party food at an affordable price. Certain stores may sell specific items at a cheaper price than the others, so you have to plan on the items to buy first before you get to the store.

In order to get a better idea of the things you have to buy, it is probably better if you get a catalog of each store. You can choose to buy one food in one place and the others in another store. Perhaps it will be inconvenient, but you will manage to save the budget at the end of the day.

Food from Guests

The tradition of bringing foods to someone’s party may help you save some money. When it comes to saving the budget, nothing will get better than getting something for free. You can accumulate the food from your guests and serve them equally to everyone in the room. After all, the abundance of food may keep the party going and please your guests’ appetites throughout the time.

Keep in mind that you can only do this trick to your closest relatives. Asking people at random to bring food to your party may seem inconsiderate and rude. You may only ask for your family members or closest colleagues to bring some food to your party. Other than that, you must also serve your own food at the party aside from the food from the guests.

In order for this trick to work, you will have to maintain close relationships with the people closest to you. Things will get awkward if you barely know some people and ask them to bring some food to your party. Either way, always prepare for your own party food first before you ask for the guests to bring the food along with them.

Ideas for Cheap Party Food

Cheap Party Food Ideas
Cheap Party Food Ideas

Food party should always compliment the concept of your party. As simple as it sounds, there are certainly more to the choices that you can actually think of. Good food should always be accounted for, but coordination shall not be dismissed when it comes to deciding which food party fits best for yours.

A refreshment kind of party may need something refreshing as well. In many occasions, you must prepare fresh foods and beverages. Snacks are also highly recommended in the cheap party food list. Serving light snacks should be considered a staple at your party. If you cannot afford a big buffet, you can always go with various different snacks to please your guests.

If you plan to have a nice little party with a few closest relatives, then a brunch set will preferably make up for the food choice. On the other hand, you can always get the party going with a few snacks and cocktails in a little colleague gathering. In other words, the key is to always consider who will you serve the food for and what you wish people do at your party.

Here are some ideas you can try to serve cheap food at your party. Consider these options below as some treats at your party.

Cheap Appetizer Ideas

In case you want to accompany the brunch with some appetizers, find some ideas which work best for your limited budget. Preparing an appetizer is not as hard as preparing a lunch or dinner menu. All you need to do is to keep it fresh to make your guests salivate for the main course to come.

Try some of these ideas below to make sure your cheap party food lines accordingly to the budget plan.

Veggie and Dip Bar

Fresh vegetables, such as carrot, celery, and cucumber, will make a great treat as an appetizer. Along with the dips like guacamole, you will be able to make the freshest and simplest appetizer to please the crowd of the party. Making the vegetables presentable can hold a key to making this type of appetizer promising. In order to give them a neat look, you can cut each of the veggies accordingly. Afterward, put the dips next to the chopped up veggies to make easy access for your guests.

Pico de Gallo

Pair up the exotic vegetable toppings with the crunch of the chips and tacos. Instead of bringing another salad to the table, you can always try to make a variety out of vegetables. By serving Pico de Gallo, you will be able to serve the alternative version of a vegetable dish without wasting any more money. You can simply use the remaining vegetables from the fridge or go with the on-sale veggies from the market to make it. Since it is purposely made as a topping, you will not need a lot of ingredients to make it.

Guacamole Dip

Aside from the veggie toppings, you can also serve the famous sauce that everyone knows and loves. The Guacamole dip will definitely make a great pair for chips and tacos. Instead of wasting more ingredients to make a new menu, you can simply prepare a sauce or a dip, like Guacamole, with some fresh vegetables. Besides, no one will certainly refuse the Guacamole sauce if it is served right on the table.

Salad Bar

Similarly to veggies dip, salad can be a great choice for an appetizer. You will only need to grab some vegetables as well as fruits to arrange the salad bar. Put chopped up fruits and veggies on different plates. By doing so, your guests will be able to distinguish between the two kinds of salads on the table.

Cheese and Cracker

Another classic treat to welcome your guests at your party is cheese and cracker. The duo has proved to stay relevant throughout the gathering culture whether in the past or in the present. You can simply pick up a tray to get the cheese slices and some crackers ready on the table. While this menu may not be as fresh as a salad, they can very well attend the need of your guests finely.

Deviled Eggs

As a moderately pleasant appetizer, deviled eggs can please the appetite of your guests as soon as they enter the room. Before they crave for the main course, the guests can eat some of the delicious pasted eggs readily served on the tray. The raw taste of the eggs combined with the paste will nicely please your guests. At the end of the day, you must also prepare the beverages alongside the deviled eggs.

Snack Boards

Gather up your snacks from the pantry and the snacks your guests bring. Afterward, bring out some boards and separate them all in different boards. While it does not make for an ideal appetizer, the snack boards will definitely bring out the joy in every heart of your guests. You can pass the time by simply snacking while watching television shows during the party. Alternatively, get the snack boards close and play an exciting game to get everyone closer. By doing so, you will be able to make a treat by using cheap party food ideas and hyping up the party atmosphere all at once.


Nothing can get any better than chips in a party. You can almost see this snack at every party you go to. Being cheap aside, chips can easily be paired up with any kinds of toppings or sauce. The crunchiness and the easy consumption will make everyone in the party craves for more. If you pair the chips with sodas, then you will basically save up the budget of your party for more food to come. In return for the cheap party food, you will get to serve proper treats in between.

Brunch Ideas

Making your guests comfortable at your party has to be the number one priority. In order to keep them satisfied, you will have to keep their belly full so they can enjoy the party. One of may things people commonly do to treat their guests at the party is serving brunch. By serving the brunch menu, you will manage to save your budget as well as serving a pleasing treat to your guests.

Try several brunch ideas below to help you manage affordable food ideas at your party.

Breakfast Sandwiches

Nothing gets more traditional than a couple of slices of breakfast sandwich. You can get all the ingredients to make the sandwich at an affordable price. Bread, eggs, hams, cheese, and chili or tomato sauce will do the sandwich recipe well. Try to look for the ingredients at the cheapest store in town or Walmart. Perhaps going around every store in your neighborhood will give you ideas on which items you shall get to make your own breakfast sandwiches.

Fruit Salad

Serving fruit salad may save you some cash if you know which fruits you can buy at affordable price. Try to look for some commonly used fruits to make a fruit salad first before you head to the store. If certain fruits are too pricey for you, try to look for the other fruits with similar texture or taste. Make sure to also add some honey or milk on top of the salad. By doing so, you will be able to create the taste of the fresh and tasty salad all in once.

Egg Bake

In order to make an egg bake, you have to buy several ingredients first. Just like its name, you will need eggs and bread to make the simple sandwich. A couple of bread slices along with shredded cheese and sausage will definitely make a pleasant treat for your guests. In addition to the creamy egg sandwich, you can also add sausage and many other things you like to the mix. Make sure to use whatever edible ingredients sitting in your fridge instead of sticking to the recipe. By doing so, you will be able to save up your budget for the other menu.

Baked Goods

Other than sandwiches, you can serve your guests with baked goods at your party. Instead of a casual sandwich, you can try to make a variety of party food by baking a couple of pieces of bread. To make the baked food a little bit more interesting, you can always throw some of the fresh and tasty ingredients alike into the mix. Make sure to always look for the existing ingredient in your fridge first instead of sticking to the recipe.

In order to help you out with the ideas of the baked goods, take a look at the options below.

Banana Bread

Baking bread with banana will certainly make a good pair of an incredible recipe. The tasty flavor of the bread along with the distinct scent of the banana melted into one. In order to make this cheap party food, you can use overripe bananas instead of the ripe ones. Use a muffin recipe to make the bread dough and mix in the bananas to the dough on the heated pan. This simple food will pleasantly take the center of the attention of your party.

French Toast

No recipe can beat the old and classic French Toast. By using this idea, you may be able to please, not only your nephews but also the adults in your family alike. The toast will be a great food to serve at a noon party. The baked bread along with a scrambled egg inside will make a perfect brunch at your party.

Lunch or Dinner Ideas

Aside from providing an expensive lunch or dinner menu, you can always make the best out of cheap ingredients in your fridge. The idea of bringing out a lunch or dinner menu is to make your guests satisfied and full all the same. While you can get moderately full with brunch, you have to take up your cooking game a notch if you wish to prepare for some lunch or dinner foods.

Pasta Bar

Serving pasta bar at your party may give you a lot of options to create something out of one simple ingredient. You only have to boil the different variations of pasta and come up with a couple of different sauces. If you want to minimize your budget, you can simply make one sauce and dress it with a variety of ingredient. By doing so, your guests will properly be fed and your party will maintain to course through the time.

Baked Potato Bar

Potatoes will be the most suitable menu as a lunch or dinner menu at your party. Instead of serving it boiled, you can simply bake them and arrange them at a corner. Alongside the baked potato, you may add a variety of different toppings to elevate the hearty lunch or dinner atmosphere.

Taco Bar

A quick and easy menu like Taco will definitely be the main course of your party. This menu can be easily made with cheap ingredients. You can purchase the toppings which are made of exotic vegetables at affordable price. Other than the topping, Taco relatively uses a sauce with cheap ingredients you can find on the market. In order to make this food presentable, you need to make it in a buffet style. In no time, your guests will gather upon the taco bar station and enjoy the delicious and cheap party food you passionately made.

Sloppy Joes

If you wish to serve a proper meal to your guests, then Sloppy Joes will make a perfect choice. The dominated beef meal will absolutely make a perfect treat for the lunch or dinner party. Try to look at the cheap beef you can get from the store. Make sure the beef is suitable to make a Sloppy Joe. When the beef is prepared, you can simply fry it and add the seasonings onto the pan. Serve the beef with a couple of loaf bread to finish it off.


Gather up your closest relatives or colleagues and get the best of the party by throwing some meats to a BBQ grill. While beef may seem pricey in general, there is simply another way to get it at a cheap price. At some special occasions, grocery stores will sell their beef at a discounted price. When that happens, do not miss a chance and go straight to the store to grab some beef.

If you cannot afford to buy some meat, then you can always go with other ingredients. Mushrooms and hams will make for great alternatives. You can always pair ham with a loaf of bread while the grilled mushrooms can be eaten with peanut or soy sauce.

Soup Bar

If you plan to throw a party in the winter, then you will better serve your guests with warm food. Soup bar may be the best choice in the list we have presented so far for food during winter. The heat of the soup will easily melt the cold inside your body in an instant. Not to mention that eating the soup along with your closest relatives may help ease up the coldness as well.

Cheap Dessert Ideas

After catching up with colleagues and friends alike, your guests will likely crave for more food. Instead of giving them more than they can eat, you may serve them some desserts to liven up the mood after a long party. There is no need to serve the expensive type of desserts when you can look for the cheap ones.

Take a look at these options of cheap desserts below and see if one of these may catch your eyes.


As a perfect movie time snack, popcorn cannot definitely be missed out from this list. The classic corn snack will always make everyone joyful and unite everyone in the room as soon as it sets its place on one’s hand. By serving popcorn, you can get people closer at your party for everyone will probably have the idea of sharing it with someone at one point or another.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

No one will ever be able to resist chocolate chip cookies, not even a grown-up Spongebob. The classic chocolate taste along with the chips will always be the peak dessert deep planted in our childhood memory. As long as you have a jar full of chocolate chip cookies, everyone will dearly love you and gladly spend the time with you.

It is easier to buy the chocolate chip cookies than to make one. Some of the commercial brands which sell this type of cookie may present an alternative choice for your cheap dessert if you cannot make one on your own. If you have the skills to make one, then it will be much better for you. If you have all the ingredients to make the cookie in your kitchen cabinet, then you can simply get the cooking process going. Make sure to use the cheap ingredients if from the store to make your chocolate chip cookies. In case you cannot make a lot of cookies, then you can simply adjust the size of each one of the cookies so you can share them with everyone in the room.


If you plan to make a birthday party, then the main priority of the event should be the cake. While it is not easy to find an affordable cake nowadays, the variations of cakes nowadays will make decent choices for you. Instead of purchasing a tall and beautifully decorated cake, you can always go with a simple and smaller cake. If you want to make it prettier, you can simply add some decorations by yourself.

Bar Buffet

Apply a similar concept to snack boards for your cheap dessert ideas. The bar buffet will certainly be able to take up a load of different cookies or bars and your guests will happily take one of each from it. The simple way to set it up is to make a couple of boxes and put them near each other. Voila, the cheap dessert buffet is ready to please your sweet appetite!


Throwing a party with a minimum budget is possible after all. If you can save your money and have the merriest party at the same time, then make it happen. In order to make this party with cheap food happen, you need to plan the entire event beforehand. Make the concept, what you want to do, when you want to do it, and the people you want to invite. After the plan is settled, you shall look for the cheapest choice of food in the store and take it home. The other way you can save up your budget is to cook some of the food on your own. In short, you can always try to take things on your own way and plan the party according to your budget.

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