Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thrifty Thursday ~ Throwing a Party for Pennies

We had our annual New Year's Day party last week. I thought I would share how we create a fun party for less than five dollars a person. In fact, this party cost $4.20 a person. We had 15 people, including ourselves. Now, if you are looking for amazing decor, you probably want to move on. We did not focus on that this time and I only took about six photos. I was way more busy playing hostess than photographer. Also, I knew upfront that this needed to be a budget-friendly party and that we were inviting people that were just happy to be with us and didn't need amazing decor and frivolity.
Anne wore a dress that was from the 1920's and gifted to her from an aunt. 
My daughter really wanted a 1920's theme for the party. She researched popular party styles of the early 20's (before the wild parties represented in the book and movies, The Great Gatsby). She said group game nights and dinner parties were all the rage. Now, it just so happens that we were gifted an organic turkey, and our family doesn't really care much for turkey, plus we love games. This sounded like a real possibility for our party.

We decided on a full dinner with turkey and all the usual trimmings. We then decided to play two group games. We also found lots of 1920's jazz music on YouTube to play in the background.

The Dinner ~ The number one rule is use what you have.
  • I used our own dishes. We had exactly 15 Corelle dinner plates that are our everyday plates and 15 punch glasses. I had to borrow a bit of flatware from my Mother to have enough for everyone to have a full place setting. 
  • We used that gifted turkey, which didn't cost us a thing and made a wonderful filling meal.
  • I made cranberry sauce from frozen cranberries that were sitting in the freezer.
  • I shopped the after-Christmas sales and got two frozen name brand pies for $5 total.
  • We bought pre-made mashed potatoes, pies and stuffing for time management.
  • I used my own linens mixed with dollar store gold tablecloths for the table settings.
  • We DID NOT serve any alcohol. We don't drink it anyway and the cost is exorbitant.
Our menu included: turkey, boxed stuffing, cucumbers with dip, rolls, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Key Lime pie, Ice Cream pie and clear punch (ginger ale, lemon lime soda and white grape juice).

We struggled with having enough chairs. We ended up using our outdoor chairs, the piano bench and two folding chairs. Like I said, this was about having friends over to ring in the new year, not about creating a show stopper. 

After a lovely meal, we started the games. We played many rounds of Bingo. I didn't get a single picture because I was the bingo caller. We had prizes from my Mother's and my own gift boxes. I am sure we aren't the only ones that keep a box of brand new items just in case we are invited to a party or event and need something quickly. We also had a selection of candy from the Dollar Store. Our prizes consisted of candy, multi-gum packs, lotion, candles, post card books, a few travel games, an ornament and Pringle chips. I was surprised how much everyone was into this game. Even the adults were very serious about winning. We played until everyone won and we were out of prizes.

We also played a Skittles tournament. The winners received a box of Skittles. You can see that, for comfort's sake, Anne had ditched the dress for a onesie pajama by then.
It was a great afternoon filled with fun and friendship. I got several texts afterward thanking me for the wonderful food and fellowship. It just goes to show you don't need a ton of money to have a wonderful time. 

We could have saved even more money by making everything from scratch or having a hot chocolate bar with light snacks instead of a full meal. 

Blessings, Dawn


  1. What a fun day! Love the Gatsby/20's theme idea. Your turkey looks amazing! How did you get it out of your roaster and onto a serving platter still intact? No matter what I do the drumsticks and wings always fall all when I move it from one to the other.

    1. I let it cool for about 40 minutes under a towel so it decreases in heat very slowly. That usually works.
      Blessings, Dawn

    2. I'll have to give it a try.

  2. What a delightful party! We never have matching chairs for everyone at our house, either. :)