Frugal ideas for a housewarming party

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Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr

Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt via Flickr

Now that Brian and I have settled into the new condo, we’ve started having people over to show off the new house.  It’s a small condo, so we’re having small-ish batches of people over at a time.  So far, we’ve had Brian’s work colleagues and a group of my computer-y friends come over.  Any time you have a party, it can get expensive.  Food, snacks, soda, alcohol… it adds up!  As a result, we’ve been trying to think of housewarming party ideas that are fun AND affordable.

Buy snacks… but not too many

When people come over to my house, I like to be able to offer them snacks. But there’s no need to go overboard.  At a housewarming, I don’t think people are expecting a lavish dinner.  I usually put out a veggie tray, a few meats, cheeses and crackers, and two types of chips.  This costs us about $20.  Unless you’re specifically hosting your housewarming as a dinner party, you shouldn’t feel obligated to provide heavier foods.

And don’t stock up on drinks

This is sort of dependent on personal preferences.  I like to have a bottle of white wine, a bottle of red wine, and a few bottles of beer in the fridge to offer people when they first arrive.  No one likes to have a warm beer after all!  I’ll also have water, juice and teas.  But I’m expecting that most people will bring their own booze.  And usually (I’ve had quite a few housewarmings…), people will bring bottles of wine as gifts so I’ll end up with more wine that I could possibly need for one night!  As a result, I try not to go too crazy when buying drinks for a housewarming.

Play games!

We love playing board games, regardless of the occasion.  But I think breaking out a board game during a housewarming is a great way to make a new place feel more like home.  It’s a good way to get people engaged and talking to each other, and unless you’re buying a new game, it’s free!  At our housewarming, we played Cards Against Humanity.  If you’re not into board games, maybe one of your friends could bring over a game system.  One of my friends brought his Wii and we played a few rounds of Smash Brothers.


For me, the whole point of having a housewarming is to get some friends together and “break in” the new place.  You don’t need to get fancy appetizers or expensive wines to do this!

What other housewarming tips do you guys have?  

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  1. I always have a tendency to go overboard with food when I have a party. I seem to forget that most everyone brings some kind of food and beverage. I don’t mind having leftover wine, but I do not need to be left alone with extra cheese and crackers! 🙂 Congrats on the new place!

    • CF says:

      Thanks! I used to go overboard on food for parties as well. I would make spring rolls and finger foods and sushi… now I’m lazier lol, and no one seems to mind.

  2. Congrats on your new digs! We had a housewarming party within two weeks of moving in. Red wine spilled on the carpet and I was on my hands and knees with cleaner! I agree limiting beverage purchases is a smart idea since everyone brings booze as a housewarming gift. Even when we host dinner parties, we always offer appetizers and I usually make something tasty for dessert, so we have WAY too much food. Finger foods and drinks are plenty for informal get-togethers, and having a few games to play is always a nice touch! Music is also key — we just stream from Pandora or play tracks from our personal collection. When it’s warm outside, you can let the nice weather do the entertaining at no cost.

    • CF says:


      I totally forgot about music – I always try to play a mix of music at parties. It’s kind of strange if there’s no ambient noise.

  3. We didn’t really have a house warming party when we moved in our house but we did have guests over here and there. We used to go crazy with food and drinks. Our friends would bring a bottle of wine for dinner which was gone before they left so they might as well of just brought their own booze lol. Now we are like you and provide snacks and trays of food and drinks. I like the blender drinks in the summer as they are so easy to whip up. Well I don’t make them the wife does with fruits, juice, ice and booze and it’s perfect on a hot night, fancy looking and doesn’t cost that much! Glad to hear you are all settled in. Cheers!

    • CF says:

      I might have to try making blended drinks this summer too. We have a big balcony and I’m looking forward to having guests out there in the summer.

  4. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce says:

    Great tips, and very true about others bringing gifts you can use at the party.

  5. Hehe – I’ve always wanted to play cards against humanity!
    I like salsa and chips… cheap, easy, semi-healthy and enjoyed by most folks.

  6. We’ve been in our home almost a year and haven’t done a housewarming yet (maybe it’s too late at this point), but we will still likely just have a general party. Our friends always bring booze when they come, which is downright friendly of them. We have a pretty good supply on hand, but almost never drink any of it because everyone else brings their own.

  7. When I have a party my guests always bring their own drinks (alchohol is VERY expensive in Norway), and often they bring some snacks as well, so my expenses on parties are minimal.

    • CF says:

      Interesting – I’ve only been to Germany, so I didn’t realize alcohol was very expensive in Norway… all the more reason to not be too extravagant!

  8. Yeah, it’s a house warming gifts and guests often bring wine. So you don’t have to worry about that. When it comes to food, your suggestions are right on target. Nobody expects a scrumptious meal so light snacks would do.

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