How to Throw a Surprise Party on a Budget (8 Easy Ways!)

Trying To Throw a Surprise Party on a Budget?! We Got You

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of a surprise party. It’s a sudden outpouring of appreciation and fun that you’ll want to get just right.

These occasions are not easy to plan, from keeping everything secret to your dawning realization of a ballooning budget.

People need food and beverages, and you can’t have them running out of it. 

They’ll be looking for something interesting to do beyond chatting or listening to music. All that and more is headache-inducing when money is tight, pushing you to cut corners.

But you can pull off a great surprise party on a budget without compromising quality.

Time to get cracking. Learn how to plan a sweet blowout without needing to shell out!

Budget Surprise Party Ideas

Make It a Potluck

A potluck is an AMAZING idea for any and all events - it helps keep costs low during parties

One way to take a burden off your shoulders is by styling the party as a potluck.

There is no need to go on a snack food shopping spree or stress yourself out cooking a multitude of treats.

You can finish preparing your food more quickly with aid from your fellow party planners.

Get each of your friends to make a good quantity of something and bring it to enrich the festivities.

Make this more interesting by coming up with a theme. It might be a multicultural potluck, a valentine’s potluck, or even a monster movie potluck.

A theme will help you bind it all in a nice package worth remembering! 

Craft Decorations

DIY party decorations are a fun and easy way to decorate for the special day

You can make your own decorations instead of spending money on them, and they don’t have to end up looking goofy.

Just fire up your printer and take advantage of online resources.

There are free printable designs, customizable fonts, and in-depth tutorial videos. You’d be surprised what you can rustle up with little more than paper, markers, and string.

You might make things like festive paper garlands or cut-outs hanging in front of LEDs. Don’t even bother with balloons, though it may be tempting.

Need ideas? How about tissue paper pom poms, tassels, and origami?

Household Doodad Decorations

Use and DIY you home items to make them special for the party

Another way to spruce up your decor is simply by repurposing stuff you have lying around.

Take string lights that you’d normally use outside and drape them over your dining table.

Use a watering can to hold a bouquet or a lamp. Create dip-napkins for a groovy appearance.

Ferret out an old lava lamp and place it as a neat centerpiece at high elevation.

Take your magnets off the fridge and adorn them on a range of surfaces for a charming effect.

Even grab sofa pillows and put them in unusual spots like your foyer! I could go on, but I think you have enough to start with!

Self-Serve Drinks

Allow everyone to make their own drink at a party

Party guests crave entertainment, and you might be thinking about renting a karaoke machine. Instead, take advantage of the fact that people like to mix drinks at parties.

Set up a do-it-yourself cocktail bar for people to create their own drinks using lime and a shaker.

That way your guests can entertain themselves all the way through and you don’t have to dream up a series of expensive party attractions. 

Tabletop Games

Playing games, like Cards Against Humanity, is a fun (and cheap!) way to host a party

To spend downtime with your partygoers, board games are a cheap and rewarding outlet for fun.

Tell your friends to bring with them whatever tabletop pastimes they have, whether it be checkers, backgammon, Monopoly, or Cluedo.

These sorts of games are really absorbing and will distract everyone from the low-budget nature of the party.

Your guests are likely to get excited and riled up, forming rivalries and striking back at their opponents. It’s a good way to make the setting a little more lively!   

Be Smart About Food

Chips and salsa are an amazing party appetizer that EVERYONE loves

Make sure you cook pragmatically to keep expenses down. Sometimes meat is the most expensive ingredient, so cut that right out.

Foods that are convenient for parties include stews, casseroles, taleggio tarts, potato frittata, and tortillas with guacamole.

If you’ve got any around, satisfy your guests’ cravings with bowls of peanuts, cashews, and almonds!

It might look like a simple meal, but it’s actually far more filling! 

Find Out What You Can Borrow

Having drinks with friends at a birthday party

You wouldn’t believe what useful things people aren’t using. If you need cutlery, furniture, and other essentials for the party, try asking someone close to you.

They might lend you things they no longer use, including odds and ends they had forgotten about.

You should obviously secure eating utensils, glasses, chairs, and tables, but also look for any trinkets that would enhance the party.

Try for lamps, mirrors, scented candles, snow globes, swivel chairs, bean bags, and miniature medicine cabinets.

Procure a good amount, since you don’t want to be short-handed when your venue is crowded with people.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Cheap

Birthday Party Balloons are a cheap and fun way to decorate a party

If you do go out and buy things for this occasion, stay frugal.

It can be too easy to convince yourself to splurge because you want to impress.

More expensive does not equal better though. Stick to dollar stores and thrift stores where you can find splendid deals.

The dollar store sells balloons and a bunch of other knick-knacks that are perfect for the occasion.

It’s astounding what practical and handy items you can stumble across.

You might find something perfect for the party that you wouldn’t have seen at a more high-end location.


The real impact of the surprise party will be how well the reveal goes, so don’t sweat the finer details.

If the person is happy about your generosity in putting on such an event, it won’t matter that it was all on a budget.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to make everything presentable, but in the end, that’s not what matters most. 

After all, you and your guests will expect the event to be presented in a way that shows how much you care.

Whether you pick a special theme or just wing it, put your heart and soul into it.

A surprise party (or any party) is an expression of the depth of human interaction.

It can’t only strengthen the bonds we share, but create new ones too.

A well-put-together party means pleased party guests, and that yields pleasant memories of a job well done.

Good luck and best wishes!

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