Frugal Party Food

bubbles How do you feed 14 kids and 12 adults cheaply without being stingy? Here is how I made the most of the resources on hand to serve all of these people for very little money with a combination of store bought and homemade food (and I had a nice amount of leftovers).

This past Saturday, we threw a nice-sized birthday party for my daughter, who by the way, insisted that we call her princess the entire time. Originally, we were going to pick up some pre-made food at our local pizza restaurant. The restaurant is a favorite one of ours for a nice inexpensive meal when we eat out or take out. However, I was truly shocked by how much getting food for 20 people would cost: $180. Potentially add the cost of a fancy birthday cake (princess wanted a castle cake), appetizers, snacks, drinks etc, and we could blow our entire grocery budget for the month.

I thanked the owner of the restaurant, and we went ahead with other plans. Here is what we did.

One day during the week I made up 24 individual pizza crusts, par-baked them and put them in the freezer. For the party, the kids made individual pizzas using the crust plus pizza sauce and bulk shredded cheese. I placed them in the oven and served them when done. It served as both an activity and as food.

I baked the cake the night before and then assembled and decorated it the morning of the party. My daughter helped, and she thought that was the best part. It cost us only the price of a couple of boxed cake mixes and frosting (both purchased on sale). I used Halloween candy for decorations, such as making a door and windows from Hershey Bar segments. Leftover cake batter was turned into cupcakes.

To save on individual ice cream bars or sandwiches and still have convenience, I bought gallons of ice cream on sale and placed individual scoops into aluminum cupcake papers the night before and then stored them in the freezer on a cookie sheet.

For the adults, we had the following:

Pasta and sauce, and meatballs, both of which I cooked the day before. We also had fried chicken we ordered from the local grocery store, which was cheap and tasty. I made a salad from fresh ingredients. Extras such as bread and inexpensive snacks were also served.

How do you save money on party food?

Click here for more articles by Mary Ann Romans.

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT or visit her personal blog