Don't leave it until the last minute. Planning your party in advance will make your life easier, but it will also allow you to shop the best bargains on food, beverages and decorations.
Make a list. In your planning, make a list of everything you need for your dinner party. While this may be tedious, it will be very helpful when shopping. Without a list, you are more likely to buy things you don't need. Stick to your list and you won't overspend!
Keep it simple. Adopt the "less is more" philosophy when it comes to throwing a dinner party on a budget. Don't go overboard and get plenty of extra food that you will end up throwing away. Get enough for you and your guests and don't overdo it. This will save money and space. Simple meals tend to be cheaper - for example, grilling hotdogs and burgers on the barbecue. The same thing goes for snacks. Simple foods like chips, cookies and veggies are always guest favourites and won't hurt your wallet as much.
Make it a potluck. If you want to save even more on food, make it a potluck party! Every guest will be in charge of bringing one dish, and it can be served buffet-style or at the table. This will cut your food costs and let you spend more on other aspects if you wish to.
Accept help. It doesn't make you a bad host if you accept help from your guests. People will offer to bring something, so take them up on it! Every little bit helps.
Make some killer playlists. The cheapest entertainment is free entertainment. Take some time and make a few playlists to have on throughout the party.
Use items you already own. Look around your kitchen and home to see what you have available. Instead of going out and buying dishes, trays or anything else, see if there is something at home you can use. Be creative!
Take a trip to The Dollar Store. If there is anything you need that you can't find at home, there is no cheaper place to get it than the local dollar store. You can find some great (and colourful) trays, dishes, candles and tablecloths for extremely low prices.