How To Throw A Budget-Friendly Pool Party

Who doesn’t look forward to a refreshing dip in the pool to beat the summer heat? Whether you are throwing a pool party to celebrate a birthday, holiday, or just have a gathering with friends, there are various ways to have fun in the sun without breaking the bank.  

Party Planning 

The first thing you should do is create a budget to track expenses and prevent overspending—this is especially important if you are throwing a large party. You can even divide your budget into different categories such as food, decorations, and entertainment.  

If you plan on sending invitation letters, consider creating digital invites instead. There are a multitude of free templates online, which you can easily customize to your liking.  

Thrifty Decor 

It’s not uncommon for parties to have some sort of theme.  A backyard pool party, for example, can have a beach or tropical theme. And there’s no need to skip this part when you are on a budget! However, decorations and items should be kept to a minimum.  

Start by gathering enough materials to make the theme obvious. But before you grab every beach-themed item in the party aisle, determine which ones are essential and which ones you can do without. Thrifty beach-themed dinnerware such as paper plates and napkins can make a good addition. You may also include beach balls, floaters, and anything you can keep and reuse later on.  

While party items like oversized balloons or fancy cups shaped like palm trees are nice, they can be considered unnecessary expenses—especially if essential items already make the theme clear. 

If you want to decorate the backyard, there are a few creative and frugal ways to do so. For example, you can make hangable decorations like paper flowers or pom-poms using tissue paper.  

You can also give guests a photo opportunity to remember the big day. If you are feeling crafty and you have enough room in your budget, you can assemble a DIY backdrop made of inexpensive items like cardboard, and different kinds of colorful paper. You can find a few ideas here.

Save on Food 

Tasty food and refreshing drinks are an essential part of any outdoor gathering. While it can be timesaving (and maybe even tempting) to order several boxes of extra-large pizzas with sides and soft drinks, this could cost you hundreds of dollars if there are a lot of guests. 

Instead, create your own cookout menu consisting of inexpensive—but delicious—items. Burgers and hot dogs, for example, would make great entrees. And good news: they are oven-friendly and don’t always require a grill. Be sure to also include plenty of budget-friendly homemade finger food like deviled eggs, parmesan crisps, and cheese or spinach balls. 

Don’t forget about dessert! Ice cube tray popsicles can be made with four simple items: juice or soda, plastic wrap, toothpicks, and an ice cube tray. You can use one flavor for all the cubes or mix things up with different flavored juices or sodas.  

For a larger dessert, consider baking a cake from scratch or making an easy no-bake pie such as key lime. 

To get a better idea of how much food you will need, consider asking guests to RSVP. If cooking is not your forte, you can also have a potluck and encourage guests to bring shareables for everyone to enjoy. You can be responsible for the main meal while your guests bring side dishes or dessert. 

Backyard Activities 

Are games included in your plans? Besides the classic pool game of Marco Polo, here are a few creative pool activities that guests of all ages can participate in. Some of these do not require materials and others may require a few inexpensive items. 

Pool Relay Race 

Have a few players line up separate pool floaters on one end of the pool. The purpose of the game is for them to race to the other side and back without falling off. Before you get started, make sure your pool is large enough to provide players with the space they need to move freely. 

Beach Ball Bowling 

Create your own poolside bowling alley by using pool noodles, empty bottles, a yoga mat, and a beach ball. Roll the beach ball down the yoga mat and see how many bottles you can knock over. To create bumpers on the sides, place a few pool noodles around the yoga mat. For more details, check out a tutorial here.

DIY Slip-and-Slide  

Did you know you can create a DIY, inexpensive slip-and-slide in your backyard? The kids—and possibly adults—will surely love this one. To get started, you will need the following materials: 

  • 10×100 foot roll of heavy plastic 
  • Garden staples 
  • Water hose or sprinklers 
  • Baby shampoo 
  • Optional: Drill, hammer, and a large pool noodle 

See a detailed step-by-step tutorial from here.

Water Balloons 

Classic water balloon fights or team relay races can make a big splash. But before buying multiple packs, estimate how many balloons each guest will need. For example, you can set a limit of 10 water balloons per person. Keep in mind that setting a limit can also lessen the amount of cleaning required afterward.  

Pool Musical Chairs 

This game is just like the regular version of musical chairs—except all you need is a beach ball. Have players gather in a circle inside the pool and toss the ball around while music plays on a speaker. When the music stops, the player holding the ball is eliminated and the game continues until there is only one player left standing (or swimming). 

Board and Card Games 

Bring the entertainment outside of the pool with any regular board or card games you may have. If you happen to have a square or rectangle-shaped pool raft, you can get creative and use it as a table for card games. This way, you can play it cool.

Make a Splash While Saving Cash 

You don’t have to go into credit card debt when hosting your next backyard party. Be sure to plan ahead, set a budget, and only purchase the essentials. Remember that living frugally should not stop you from partaking in quality time with friends and family. Your pool party can be an excellent opportunity to enjoy company while making new memories without breaking the bank. 

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