Making your Party both Awesome and Under Budget
Alright kids, time to get down and boogie. To get down with your bad selves. To pop a nickel in the jukebox machine and finally ask Stacey Turner if she wants to go steady… Ok, maybe I’m a few decades off. But in light of the fact that finance can be so boring, with it’s “Don’t buy this” and “Only invest in that” it stands to reason that things get a little boring. Today we’re shaking it up. Today we’re going to figure out how you can make your party THE party, all while not going super broke.
I’m going to work under a couple assumptions. I’m guessing that you’re having a bunch (20) of people over to your apartment/house. I’m assuming that your goal is for everyone to have a blast without everyone going completely overboard, breaking your shit, terrorizing your cat, and screaming about how much they could totally be a DJ just like Calvin Harris.
…because we all know they couldn’t.
Here’s how I’m going to break down your party into 4 basic components:
- Music – What to play, who picks it, what to play it through!
- Food – What to make that’s cheap, delish, and cleans up mad easy.
- Booze – What to mix that’s fun, but doesn’t kill the bank.
- Activities – Pin the tail on the donkey, charades… yeah, right…
Music at your Party
Alright, first thing up is the tunes? What are you going to put on in the background so you can seem cool and sophisticated? You know, music that no one has heard of but still sounds good. Oh, and isn’t acoustic singer-songwriter whiney bullshit. 🙂
So there are lot’s of free options out there that you can use to get good music pumpin’ through your party. Here are some ideas, in no particular order:
Spotify – There’s obviously the free version and the paid version. However, the premium (paid) version does have a trial period, so if you’re just looking to have the jams for one night, this is a pretty good option. And unless you’re dying to have T. Swift tunes at your party, the selection on Spotify is pretty freakin’ sweet. It also has the ability to queue up songs, so if someone at your party REALLY wants to listen to the Backstreet Boys, you can give them the option.
Though I’d suggest limiting them to one song. BB can be dangerous…
Google Play – This is Google’s attempt at trying to dive into the music subscription service. Much like Spotify, the free version means ads and the paid version means straight music. With 35 million songs, it’s got a bit more content than Spotify. And the bright colored interface might seem pretty shweeeet. The free version is pretty limited though, and if you’re looking to have people queue up songs, they might not be super familiar with how the app works.
Apple Music – So I’ll respect the fact that you might have a ton of music you downloaded back in your iTunes days when you were paying $0.99 for a song so you could put it on your iPod Mini so you could look out the window of your school bus and soak in your own teenaged angst… it’s cool, we all did it. But with no free version, this is a hard sell to me. But hey, if you’ve got a huge iTunes library, I say go for it!
Obviously there are a TON more options. Soundcloud might be cool if your looking for new stuff. Soundwave could help you discover some new stuff. But I could go on and on and on about the different music apps out there. When really, here’s what you want to know…
What about speakers?!
Lot’s of options to go through here…
HMDX Wireless Suction Speaker – I received this as a gift from a former student, and I LOVE IT! It’s bluetooth, so you’re guests aren’t going to be tripping over wires. It’s small, so it won’t be taking up a ton of space. It’s loud. Like I’ve received complaints from my neighbors loud. AND it’s only going to run about $15 on Amazon. Life is good!
Soundworks Oontz Angle 3 – This baby is literally built for parties, especially if they get a little rambunctious. It’s a bluetooth speaker, so again, no wire tripping. But the thing is indestructible! It’s waterproof, dustproof, and sandproof, which essentially means it’s people-proof. Amazing sound quality with crystal-clear mids and highs with a bass that hits your heart without giving distortion. And again, less than $30 and this baby is yours! This speaker makes an awesome investment for your party!
GREAT!!! You’ve got the jams pumpin’! You’ve got free music (hopefully with no ads, #buzzkill) and an inexpensive speaker that just won’t quit. You’re well on your way to making your party awesome. But we’ve still got a ways to go…
The Food at your Party
So you may or may not have realized this yet, but I have a soft spot in my heart for food. Ok, that’s a lie. I have a GIANT soft spot for food. And it’s my opinion that if you’re going to have people over, you’ve got a duty to make sure that there is more than Oreo’s and Chips. I mean, if you really want to put that stuff out, you can. But no one ever said, “HOLY SHIT, THESE COOL RANCH DORITOS ARE AMAZING!!! HOW DID YOU MAKE THEM TASTE SO GOOD?!” Here’s what I suggest you make:
Pizza Roll Ups – Grab a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Pepperoni, and String Cheese. Flatten out the crescent rolls, put some garlic powder on that shit. Lay down 4-5 pepperoni on the crescent roll, cut half a piece of string cheese, put that on the roll, and roll that bad boy up. Put it in the hot box at 375 for 10 minutes, and you’ve got a fancy snack, betch.
Sliced Baked Potato – Do you have any idea how cheap potatos are? #socheap. So grab a bag, slice up a few potatoes so they’re roughly a quarter of an inch thick. Bake in the hot box at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, then throw some cheese and bacon on and bake for a few more minutes (till the cheese melts). Pull it out of the hot box, chop up some green onion and throw some on, and yet again, you’ve got a fancy snack for your party, betch.
Veggie Shots – So easy, so cute, so cheap. Cut up celery, carrots, and put three cherry tomatos on a plastic sword thing. Put a dollop of ranch dressing in the shot glass, and stick the veggies in it, vertically. Voila, something for the vegetarian crowd. And it’s cute af. The final food to make your party fancy. Betch.
I know what you’re thinking.
“Paul, you’re such a culinary GENIUS!” “How did you come up with these?” Super simple guys. It’s an awesome tool called Pinterest. I’ve started a board for cheap party/finger food, so check it out here when you get a chance: https://www.pinterest.com/thecodetoriches/cheap-delicious-snacks/
Booze for your Party
If you’re under 21, I’m going to ask that you stop reading now. This is going to be a part for the adults in the room. Head on over to the kids table where there are action figures with missing appendages, coloring books where EVERY FUCKING PAGE has been scribbled on, and 4 crayons in various shades of white.
Good, the kids are away. Now, there are various ways to consume booze. You can do the BYOB thing, which eventually leads to everyone drinking everyone else’s shit. You can put out a “tip” jar to try to mitigate some of the costs of booze. You can buy cheap liquor and terrible soda and make “mixed-drinks” that taste like “pissed-drinks”. Or you can do the following:
Jello-Shots – I shouldn’t even have to explain this to you. Jell-O is great, and you can basically put any brand of vodka in it and it’s going to taste good. And you can make all sorts of different flavors, AND ALL THE COLORS WILL BE SO PRETTY IT’LL BE LIKE THE CARE BEARS SHIT RAINBOWS INTO CUTE LITTLE DIXIE CUPS ALL OVER YOUR APARTMENT!!!
Side note, cuz I love you: watch out for clean up. Getting Jell-O out of couches and carpet sucks. A lot.
Jungle Juice – Again, you’ll be putting so much stuff in there that it’s not going to matter what brand of booze you decided to go with. For ideas, I’d look to the Tipsy Bartender. He’s got some great ideas on stuff that not only tastes good, but looks good too.
Pinterest – Dear god, I’ve never seen so many pink adorable alcoholic beverages in my life. If you’re looking for suggestions, check out my board at: https://www.pinterest.com/thecodetoriches/cheap-alcoholic-drinks-for-your-party/
Activities at your Party
Ok, so we need a little bit more than a $20/hour magician and a bunch of colorful paper plates to keep us entertained. Here are a couple of ideas that won’t break the bank but will give people something to do as opposed to just sitting around and talking (which is a totally viable thing).
Battle Shots – LOVE THIS! All you need are dixie cups, some liquor to drink, and two pizza boxes. Make a 6×6 grid on the insides of each box. Place your cups vertically/horizontally, and… well, you know how to play battleship. It’s one of those games that the worse you are, the worse you become!
Kings – An oldie but a goodie, and a great way for people to get to know each other. Just save the sexy “never have I ever” questions till you’re SURE every one has had a few drinks. Shit gets real awkward, real quick.
Cards Against Humanity – Considering my line of humor is, “If it’s not offensive, it’s not funny”, this kind of speaks to my heart. I never tire of this game. Plus at only $25, it’s a great value because THE FUNNY LITERALLY NEVER RUNS OUT!! BALLS DEEP IN A SQUEALING HOG IS FUNNY I DON’T CARE WHAT THE SITUATION IS!
Drunk Jenga – Awesome idea, and you only spend money on the wood and the markers. Each piece of wood that’s pulled out has instructions on something ridiculous the player would have to do. Like streak outside for 30 seconds while screaming “Don’t Stop Believin'”. #yolo
Corn Throw – Assign different people to drink when you make it in different holes. Ha! … holes…
Of course, these are just some ideas that are kicking around, but there are lots more. The only limit is your imagination!… and your wallet!… and firecode… and gravity…
Making your Party both Awesome and Under Budget – The Wrap Up
As I so obviously showed when I went to L.A. and had the time of my life, entertainment value is not equal to the amount you spend. Just because you need your party to be awesome does not mean that it needs to leave you with a lighter wallet and a messy apartment. Your 4 main focus areas are:
- Music – You need to have a plan that allows for people to pick songs, and a speaker system that supports your space. If you have a giant house, then you’re probably going to need bigger speakers than I mentioned. But the ones above will do perfectly for an apartment.
- Food – Frozen shit does not count. Go the extra mile and bake something amazeballs. People will appreciate it, I guarantee it. Plus showing off your culinary prowess demonstrates a positive trait to the opposite sex. Or same sex. No judgement here at TCTR.
- Drink – Make it booze. Mix it well. Don’t spend a ton. +7 bonus points for color. That is all.
- Activities – If you’re invited to my party, expect to be offended. If not, try to make sure the activities match the people that are there. Strip twister at an old folks home is not gonna fly. A pile of naked octogenarians with broken pelvises and poor memory is not something anyone wants to see.
What about you? What sort of things have you done to keep your party on a budget? Or do you like to splurge when it comes to entertaining others? Comment below!
Keep trying to crack the code (to awesome parties),