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The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

How to Plan a Cool Summer Party Without Breaking the Bank

Summer is in full swing, and there are a host of reasons to celebrate. Luckily there’s no need to bust your budget while entertaining friends and family. Here are our favorite money-saving tips for parties from planning and shopping to solutions for leftovers.

Serve Summer’s Bounty

Here are a handful of ideas on how to let the season’s finest flavors standout on your table.

  • Cook a whole fish on the grill, stovetop or in the oven. Then focus on flavornot portion size, by allowing 3–4 ounces of fish per person and serving it over a salad or in tacos.
  • Grill a whole spatchcocked chicken, and then shred the meat off the bone for crowd-pleasing tacos, salads or enchiladas. Spatchcocking (or removing the backbone) lets a chicken lay almost flat, ensuring even cooking on the grill. It’s an economical choice allowing you to buy a whole bird rather than wings, breasts and drumsticks separately. Bonus: Chickens sold at Whole Foods Market come with a heaping helping of standards — including no antibiotics, ever.
  • Stretch a protein by combining it with veggies on kabobs. Consider Chile-Orange Swordfish KabobsGrilled Barbecue Pork and Plum Kabobs or Grilled Tempeh Kabobs.
  • Offer seasonal veggies sides such as grilled corn or this quick and colorful Southwestern Couscous Salad.
  • Desert expensive desserts. Decorate homemade cakes with beautiful in-season berries instead.

Be Beverage Wise

Drawing attention to the beverage table doesn’t have to mean additional alcohol; it means more fun beverages. Our favorite awe-inspiring ways to beat the bar tab include:

  • Create a custom cocktail such as Summer Sangria to be your seasonal signature.
  • Always keep pitchers — not costly individual bottles — of cold water and “mocktails” on the table. Float slices of citrus for effect.

Invites, Decorations & Favors

  • If you’re opting for non-digital invites, consider upcycling old photos or paper you already have for a DIY invite to decrease cost and waste. Or put your kids to work drawing or painting.
  • Go natural! Decorate with fresh fruit (e.g. lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit in bowls, trays or vases) and flowers and herbs and greenery from the garden. Or reuse decorations from other events.
  • If your gathering is a match for favors (think baby showers or engagement parties), pass up plastic trinkets in favor of homemade delights. Make big batches of Spiced Quick-Pickled Cherries), pot succulents in mason jars or make body care gifts (check out our beauty how-to videos for ideas including DIY Relaxing Lavender Body Scrub and DIY Moisturizing Lotion Bars.)

Shop for Savings

There are many ways to save even before you do your shop:

  • Download digital coupons. Find the latest, greatest sales and digital coupons* to use in the store. Find printable coupons too.
  • Look for what’s on sale now. Search local sales on our website and stock up. For example, buy lots of cherries when they’re on sale and pit and freeze for later or blend and freeze for fruity ice cubes or ice pops.
  • Case discount. Get discounted pricing on most items when you buy a full case including fruit, sparkling water and wine (in most stores). Ask for details at Customer Service.
  • Cut costs in half. If you need only half a melon, chunk of cheese, fish fillet, loaf of fresh bread, etc., we’re happy to provide just the half you need.

Reinvent Leftovers

Control waste and get the most out of your money by putting leftover ingredients towards delicious new meals. Here are a few ideas:

  • Use buns to make croutons and breadcrumbs
  • Crumbled up burgers can be added to quesadillas or burritos or top a pizza
  • Toss grilled veggies into pasta or rice
  • Add hotdogs or sausage bites to beans
  • Make sandwiches with chicken

What are your tips for summer entertaining on a budget?

*Digital coupons are valid for in-store shopping at U.S. stores only.