How To Host A Summer Potluck on a Budget
Hosting a Summer Potluck is not just about having your guests bring their best recipes to your party. It’s about how you and your friends can celebrate summer without breaking the budget!
Follow our easy tips to host your summer soiree. It’s such fun to invite a bunch of friends and family over but let’s face it, the budget could take a hit if you are not careful. Follow our tips to host your summer potluck on a budget!
Keep It Simple Yet Festive
Don’t plan an elaborate menu, location or decor. Just keep it simple by hosting at your home, and using what you have for decor.
You’ll want to be sensitive to your guests budgets also so keep your menu fairly basic.
Summer Potluck Food Theme Ideas
- Summer Salads
- Taco Bar
- Burgers & Dogs
- Steak & Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Recipes
- Baked Potato Bar (cook them in Slow Cookers)
B.Y.O.S. or B.Y.O.M. Bring Your Own Steak or Bring Your Own Meat
We have been hosting a Steak and Potatoes dinner for the last couple of summers. We provide all of the Baked Potatoes and have our guests bring their own steaks. Folks bring their own sauces if desired and others sign up for salads and sides.
We mark the owner of each steak using toothpicks and tape. Simply fold the tape around the tip of the toothpick and write the persons name on it. Stick it in the steak once it is done. It isn’t fancy or cute but it is cheap and it works. Our master grill operator only cooks one family’s steaks at a time to avoid confusion.
Depending on how man folks you have invited, delegate each couple a specific part of the menu. Several for each; appetizers, entree, sides, dessert and beverages. Be sure your Theme includes dishes which will be easy to transport for your guests. Encourage the use of coolers for transport during the heat of the summer for food safety. Pasta salads are great but most require refrigeration and need to be kept cool for the trip to your party.
Never assign appetizers to anyone who is habitually late! Double check to make sure two people won’t be bringing the same dish.
Cut fresh flowers such as hydrangea and display them in any of your vases or even a Mason jar. If you don’t have live flowers in your yard, just ask a friend or neighbor to let you cut a few.
You can fill a Mason Jar with pretty much anything, sand, hard candies, aquarium rocks or dried beans and place a tea light candle on top or even stick small flags in for bright festive decor. Pictured above is a soup tureen with silk hydrangea I used for a quick and cheap centerpiece.
Shop the Dollar Store for supplies
Tablescloths and napkins from the Dollar Store are perfect and you won’t feel guilty about tossing them when it’s over for easy clean up.
Skip the Paper Plates
Use your real dishes. You can save a few bucks by skipping the paper plates and plastic forks and use what you have instead. Mixing patterns is perfectly acceptable and in fact can be fun eclectic decor. I mixed three different sets of dishes for the place setting pictured above. The napkins are from the Dollar Store and the flower in the cup is silk from my stash of fake flowers for decorating.
Ask Guest To Bring Their Own To-Go Containers
Pot Lucks are notorious for left overs which is great because it means you won’t have to cook the next day. Cha ching to the budget! Rather than provide to-go containers, ask your guests to bring their own. No one has to worry about returning dishes and there is no extra expense involved.
Use social media for your Invitations. You can easily create an Event on Facebook and invite your friends and family. If you are not familiar with it there is a site called Evite which allows you to create free invitations which you can email to your friends. They can RSVP back as well.
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Have some fun and plan a few games which are cheap and easy to pull together. Here are a few good ideas.
- Cornhole (have a friend bring theirs if you don’t own a set)
- How To Install A Ring & Hook Game
- 35 Family Friendly Game Ideas for Kids & Grown Ups
- Family Friendly Party Games
Have lots of fun! Follow our tips for hosting a potluck on a budget and spend more time visiting with your friends and less time fussing over decor and food!
Loving all of these great ideas since I’m ALWAYS on a budget! Thanks so much for sharing with us at the Whimsical Wednesdays Link Party!
Shirley, I made this a feature at the week’s Whimsical Wednesdays Link party in the Labor Day Weekend Recipe section. Have a wonderful week!
Great tips! We love to host, but it does have a way of getting expensive fast!
Such great ideas!
I’d love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, and tips: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/
Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!
i will print the Food Should Taste Good chips coupon.
We are having a potluck at work tomorrow and I think I’m going to look around the house for some décor items to bring in. Great idea. Thanks for sharing
I’d love to try the greek salad and pair with salmon!
i’d love to try the creamy italian
I would love to try all their varieties, especially the Broccoli & Cherry Tomato Parmesan Pasta Salad.
The Chicken Pasta Salad with Grapes and Poppy Seed Dressing sounds so yummy!
the greek pasta salad looks soooo good!
julimi at aol dot com
I’ll definitely be making the bacon and ranch suddenly salad
Oh my gosh, your salad looks so yummy! I have to try it…we grow cherry tomatoes in our garden! I have only tried the classic before, I didnt know they had so many different ones! I would love to try their recipe for the Chicken Pasta Salad with Grapes and Poppy Seed Dressing using their classic Suddenly Salad! I make a pretty plain chicken salad with grapes…this one looks so much better than mine. Have to try! I love cold pasta salads in the summer!
I’d forgotten about the chicken salad with grapes! Yes, the Suddenly Salad recipes sounds so much better, doesn’t it! Cold pasta salads are so perfect for the summer menu!
I went to the store last week and bought four boxes of suddenly salad because the sale stacked so well with the coupons. i got them for 50 cents a box! I looked at the recipes and i’d try the chicken salad and grapes.
Sharon, those coupons from the Ready Plan Save site make the sale great at Publix. It is a great time to stock up! I’m going to try that recipe too!
I prefer the Suddenly Salad varieties that require mayo over the ones that use vegetable oil. I find the ones that use vegetable oil to be too vinegary for my taste, where the other ones more resemble a traditional macaroni salad. The southwest style ranch is my favorite variety because it has tortilla chips included that give it a unique crunch. My favorite recipe from their site is the Chipotle Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Layered Salad, which could be made using my favorite variety.
David, you and I agree about the mayo. We will be trying the Southwest Style Ranch with those tortilla chips. Sounds like a really good summer dinner!
I want to try the Layered Mexican Party Salad. It looks so festive and would make a nice addition to a party table.
This dish looks delicious! It made me hungry for lunch and I haven’t had breakfast! Thanks for linking to Talk It Up Thursday. Have a great week and hope to see you back this Thursday.
I am a big fan of ranch. I would make the Ranch Spinach Pasta Salad which is perfect for grilling out with family and friends.
We’re big fans of ranch flavor too and we also enjoy spinach. The Ranch Spinach Pasta Salad makes regular appearances at our table.
I’d like the layered mexican party salad!
I love pasta salads during the summer. I would buy the Suddenly Salad classic pasta salad mix to make the Layered Mexican Party Salad. I have never had a pasta salad and a leaf salad together before, would be interesting to try.
cshell090869 at aol dot com
Shelly, I just served our pasta salad on a bed of lettuce. We don’t mix the two either. Suddenly Salad makes it so easy to have Pasta salad often in the summer!
All of these recipes look very enticing to me. The one that stands out the most and the one I want to try the most would be the Black and Blue Pasta Salad with Steak recipe. It looks so healthy and easy to make. I think my family would really enjoy it. Thank You!
We really do need to try that Black and Blue Pasta Salad. We love all the ingredients. It makes a pasta salad look kind of fancy, doesn’t it!
We are having our big Summer potluck for the 4th of July and the recipe that I really want to try is Greek Tossed Pasta Salad! We love Suddenly Salad recipes and get them all the time. I just got 4 boxes for $1 each! Thanks so much for this awesome giveaway!
Julie, you got a good deal on your recent Suddenly Salad purchase. Publix will have a coupon up soon for .75 off when you buy three on their Ready, Plan Save site.
Thanks for the tips! We have not had time to settle down and think yet…since the move. I’m pinning for when I get a moment to check out these recipes:)
Thanks for the Pin Zan. I hope you guys get settled in soon. Suddenly Salad would make an easy meal while you are still unpacking and getting the new house organized.
I can’t decide. Both the Black and Blue Pasta Salad with steak and the Greek Tossed Pasta salad sound really good to me! (I must be hungry!)
I would love to try the Grilled Shrimp Fajitas
Ooh, chicken pasta salad would be what I would love!!! Thanks for the tips today. Hugs a
nd blessings, Cindy
I love the idea of a salad theme for a summer potluck! Every single time I make a recipe featuring Suddenly Salad for a potluck, I have to double or triple it. Your salad looks scrumptious.
We double and triple also Alli. Suddenly Salad is such an easy meal to prepare and I love the way you can make it your own by adding our favorite ingredients to it.
I would like to try Grilled Chicken Breasts with Mustard-Garlic Marinade and Sauce.
I would love to try the Layered Mexican party salad recipe!
I would make the ranch spinach pasta salad for sure! It combines many of my favorite ingredients…and ranch on pretty much anything tastes amazing.
I would like to try Bloody Mary Shrimp and Pasta Salad recipe. It is going to be a hit in the party.
Great tips! I’d love to try the Chicken Pasta Salad with Grapes and Poppy Seed Dressing!
I’d like to try the Ranch Spinach Pasta Salad.
I would like to try the Chicken Pasta Salad with Grapes and Poppy Seed Dressing recipe.
jslbrown2009 at aol dot com
That Chicken Pastas Salad sounds really yummy with grapes and poppy seed, Lisa!
I would like to try the Club Pasta Salad.
I’d like to try the Black and Blue Pasta Salad with Steak.
Bloody Mary Shrimp and Pasta Salad
Wow, that Black and Blue Pasta with Steak sounds really good!
I want to try the Ranch Spinach Pasta Salad
elena150980 at yahoo dot com
I would love to try the Suddenly Salad Creamy Macaroni but I’ve never seen it at the grocery store before. They only have 3 varieties. I didn’t even know they made this one. firstname.lastname@example.org
Try your nearest Publix for a full selection of Suddenly Salad flavors. What is the name of the recipe you liked the most from the site link?
Oh, I especially love their Suddenly Pasta Salad™ Ranch and Bacon. I typically make two boxes at once and add either two packs of imitation crab pieces or a pound of those tiny cocktail-type shrimp (I’ve done a mixture of imitation crab and shrimp, too). It makes for a quick meal for hot days when I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen cooking.
Linda! That sounds delicious, crab and shrimp with the Ranch and Bacon! I’m putting that on my menu soon.