10 on Tuesday: Cheap Grad Party Ideas

It’s graduation season! Will you be celebrating your years of hard work in the classroom this spring? Here’s how to do it on a budget.

Throwing a graduation party, or any party, on a budget is all about being creative with the resources that you already have. Why buy when you can borrow, reuse or upcycle? There ideas will help you celebrate your graduation without going broke. Let’s face it, you’ll need that money to start paying back your student loans.

I rented myself a bounce house for my graduation party. It was not cheap, but man, it was fun.

I rented myself a bounce house for my graduation party. It was not cheap, but man, it was fun.

1. DIY Invites

Craft time! Dig out that construction paper and some of your old papers and tests from class. Hand make your invites, print out info from your computer, and cut out those A+ marks from your professor to paste on the front. Your party guests will get a kick out of the authentic handwritten grades.

2. Host it at (someone’s) home

Don’t rent a hall. Host the event at your house, camp, or a family member’s house or camp.

3. Borrow

Is it an outdoor event? Forget paying to rent a tent, ask around. Friends, family and neighbors probably have a dusty tent hanging out in their garage. With a little scrubbing you’ll have a rain cover or shade from the sun, free of charge.

4. This calls for a BBQ

Buy beef, hot dogs and chicken in bulk at stores like Sam’s Club. You’ll pay way less per pound. Who doesn’t love a hamburger in early summer?

5. Potluck

For side dishes and dessert, ask friends and family to bring their favorite dish. To make it a little more fun, ask them to write their recipes down on an index card and put them together in a book. It’ll be your start of a family recipe collection.

6. Don’t Buy Decorations

Paper streamers are an enormous waste of money. If you’d like to decorate, use memorabilia from your school that you already have. If you’d like to pick up some extra decorations, invest in things you can reuse like paper lanterns and strings of LED lights. If it can’t be reused after the party, it’s probably not worth spending your money.

7. DIY Party Games

Make some outdoor party games with every day items around the house. This site has some great plans for a homemade “dunk bucket” and a ring toss game. 

8. Crowd-source photography

Your friends and family probably have smart phones, so while they snap away ask them to upload their images to Instagram with a personalized hashtag, like #KylieFinallyGraduated. You’ll be able to see all the pictures in one place by searching for your hashtag.

9. Recycle

Did your brother, sister, cousin, friend, great-aunt twice removed throw a graduation party recently? Ask to borrow any supplies they have leftover.

10. Upcycle

Upcycling is all about turning waste items into something useful. Turn old barrels into seating, make garland out of old magazine pages, or craft lanterns out of toilet paper rolls. Check out PopSugar for some incredible upcycling ideas. 

Congrats, grads! Keep it cheap and have fun.

Kylie K.