Throwing a graduation party for your son or daughter doesn’t have to break the bank. With these money-saving ideas you can throw a graduation party on a budget that will make both you and your grad happy. Start by making a list of the basics you’ll need:

  • Location
  • Invitations
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Decorations

Graduation party on a budget: garage partyLocation on a budget
It makes sense that if you’re trying to save money, renting a location is out of the question. But sometimes you can find a hidden gem, such as a neighborhood park or pavilion that can be rented for a low cost. Your back yard or garage is a popular and inexpensive option, and only requires some tidying up. As long as you don’t go overboard on the landscaping or decide to rebuild your garage, this may be your best option. You will need a backup in case of rain, so if the garage is unavailable, you may have to rent a tent or move the party inside.

A joint party for your grad and 2 or 3 friends can also help lower costs. With more than one family to defray costs, you may be able to afford renting a space or have it at one of the houses and share all the costs.

graduation invitations

Graduation invitations on a budget
Graduation invitations come in all shapes and sizes. To save money, keep to the simple two-sided invitations that allow you to share a photo, add your party details and show off a little personality at the same time. Pear Tree’s two-sided graduation invitations like those shown above start at just 92 cents per card. Single-sided photo paper cards start at just 65 cents per card.

desserts tableGraduation party food on a budget
The best way to save money on food is to keep it simple. Depending on the time of day and the number of guests you expect, here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Candy bar – Fill glass jars with different kinds of colorful candy and provide scoops and bags for gusts to fill.
  • Pancake breakfast – Find a local Lions Club or VFW that will make your pancakes on site in exchange for a donation to one of their favorite charities.
  • Sundaes & Sodas – All you have to do is keep the ice cream cold and provide lots of toppings and soda flavors. Carbonated soda makers are available everywhere now.
  • Subs – Sure, you can order these pre-made from a restaurant, but you can also make them yourself. Buy long loaves of French bread (ordered ahead of time), slice them horizontally and add your favorite fillings. Then slice into individual servings. Fill out the menu with snacks and beverages.

beverages in school colors
Graduation party beverages on a budget
Shop well in advance to get the best deals on canned or bottled beverages. Or make your own beverages. Think about lemonade, iced tea, root beer floats, or a punch bowl filled with punch in your school color. Add colored straws in the second school color.

View More: party decorations on a budget
At a minimum, you’ll need table coverings and some sort of display to honor your graduate. It’s easy to create your own photo display, along with memorabilia, awards and trophies you’ve saved over the years. But for about the same price as all those photo reprints, you could create a custom poster that holds up to 54 photos and takes just minutes. See our Pinterest board for more graduation photo display ideas.

personalized table decor

light strand photo displayColorful rolls of plastic or kraft paper are inexpensive ways to cover your tables. Adding personalized table decorations sounds like a splurge, but can be used in so many ways they’re worth every penny. Depending on your budget, you can add a bunting banner, or create one of your own out of twine or a strand of lights decorated with photos of your grad.

See? You can plan a graduation party on a budget that both you and your grad will love. We’d love to hear your graduation party ideas and cost-saving tips!