Picture yourself on a warm summer afternoon, a cold bevy in your hand, and hours of daylight stretching ahead of you. Add a few of your closest pals, and you’ve got yourself a perfect day. Not sure how to gather up your nearest and dearest without breaking the bank? We’re on it. Scroll on down to see how we’re saving money while partying it upall summer long.

1. Scale back your menu. Nobody expects lobster and filet mignon! Pick a less expensive cut of meat and master your cooking technique to maximize its flavor. We love slow-cooked pulled pork or marinated beef ribs. (Tip + Recipe via Creme de la Crumb)

2. Accept help from your pals. Take your friends up on their offers to contribute to the menu. Salads, fruit, and appetizers are easy to delegate and allow you more time (and dollars!) to spend on your main dishes. If you’re the one bringing the side, choose something that relies on a budget-friendly starring ingredient. This cucumber, basil, and watermelon salad also provides a healthy dose of hydration — perfect for soaring temps! (Tip + Recipe via FoodieCrush)

3. Stick to one type of booze (and own it!). Too many beverage options get expensive and often leads to waste. A classic cold can like PBR is fun, budget-friendly, and perfect for a hot day. Don’t love beer? Mix up a couple pitchers of a classic cocktail like this summery strawberry margarita. If all else fails, go the BYOB route! (Tip + Recipe via How Sweet It Is)

4. Add ambiance with classic summer jams. Flower centerpieces and other decorations are expensive and rarely remembered. A killer playlist, on the other hand, sets a fun tone and loosens everyone up. Classics like The Rolling Stones or Jackson 5 are crowd pleasers, or check out our picks for a killer summer playlist.

5. Remember that games are for grown ups too. If there’s one thing that adds instant life to a party, it’s friendly competition. Invest in a corn hole set or, the newest rage — spikeball! It will keep your guests entertained for seasons to come.

6. Forget the traditional seating. If you’re short on chairs and tables, don’t feel the need to rent or buy extras. Gather up some colorful blankets and quilts and spread them out on the ground, picnic style.

7. Streamline your dessert. Sometimes the simplest things are also the most unexpected. Surprise your guests with an ultra classic summertime treat like a DIY s’mores bar or a few boxes of ice cream sandwiches. Everyone will love the nostalgia, and you’ll love the money you save! If you must make something, cookies are easy to serve and equally easy on the wallet. These peanut butter cookies will also hold up to summer’s heat. (Tip + Recipe via Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Love hosting parties? Follow us on Pinterest for tons of entertaining inspo, DIYs, and recipes!

(Photos via William Iven/Pixabay, Pexels, Blake Lisk/Unsplash)