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How to Throw a Cheap Pool Party (That's Still Awesome)!

Written by
Andrew Tavin, CFEI
Andrew Tavin is a personal finance writer who covered budgeting with expertise in building credit and saving for OppU. His work has been cited by Wikipedia, Crunchbase, and Hacker News, and he is a Certified Financial Education Instructor through the National Financial Educators Council.
Read time: 5 min
Updated on August 9, 2022
young man with sunglasses learning how to how to throw a cheap pool party
Whether you’re lucky enough to have a pool, know someone with a pool, or are planning to jump a fence in the middle of the night, there’s no party like a pool party! But you don’t want to wash away all your savings on one fun evening.

Which is why we’ve talked to only the chillest of pool party professors to get you the tips you need for affordable fun in the sun.

Don’t go overboard on decorations.

Depending what kind of party planner you are, you might not even want decorations. You might just set the ambiance with a jammin’ pool party playlist, but if you want a treat for the eyes as well as the ears, there are decoration options you can choose that are cheaper than hanging streamers of dollar bills around the backyard.

Natasha Rachel Smith, head of global communications at TopCashBack, advises you to say “no” to expensive decorations: “Everyone aims to have an Instagram-worthy party, but that doesn’t come cheap. Shop around for pool games and floats and decorations at discount stores such as Walmart and FiveBelow. Instead of paying from $20 to $100 per item, you can snag goodies for a little as five bucks.”

David Bakke, a financial expert at, offered another cheap option, “For any decorations for the party, get them at the dollar store. You'll likely just discard them afterward anyways.”

Wait thirty minutes.

Any great party needs food, and the pool variety is no exception. Whether you’re a grill master, a snack supplier, some combination of those two, or an option we haven’t even considered, there’s no reason you have to overspend on your party food.

Smith suggests focusing on a few options: “While you might want to please everyone’s palates, don’t go overboard with the menu. Stick to simple items such as sandwiches, grilled food, and beverages. Consider buying items in bulk to help save money, since you’ll most likely use them again this summer. Don’t be afraid to buy hot dogs or hamburgers in large quantities with the intention to freeze any unused food for subsequent events. If you live in a household with a lot of mouths to feed, I often recommend purchasing wholesale store memberships as they tend to pay for themselves in the first few months. Make all big quantity purchases at wholesale stores such as Costco or BJs to take advantage of their notorious buy-in-bulk offers. You’ll earn up to three percent cashback by doing so through”

Bakke also recommended using coupon options, as well as shopping smart and limiting your guest list: “For the grocery shopping, be sure to use coupons. There are plenty of mobile apps that have digital coupons and they're in the newspaper as well. You could probably get away with a few generics or store brands as well on your food and supply purchases, the quality is usually equal. If serving alcohol, stick with just beer and wine, and ask your liquor store if they offer a discount for buying in bulk or paying in cash. You may want to limit the guest list as well—the fewer attendees, the less you have to buy. You could also make the party of a potluck variety, where each guest brings a drink, dessert, or side dish. That's an excellent way to cut costs. Check your credit cards for the best cash back program to use for your general purchasing as well.”

Obviously, you can’t force guests to bring stuff, but if you’re the one providing access to a pool, it’s really the least they can do. Put a big BYOB at the bottom of the invitation. And speaking of invitations…

Invitation to the future.

Paper invitations might seem classic, but it isn’t Victorian times anymore, and aside from the trees you’ll save, there’s no reason to spend money on paper invites. These days, all the coolest invitations are happening online.

Jennifer Skarakis, founder of Sendomatic Invitations, told us how her online invites can be a great party option:

“Electronic invitations are drastically less expensive than paper invites. Some are free and some services charge a minimal fee.

“Here are some of our free Pool Party email invitations.

“There many benefits from using digital invitations including RSVP management, calendaring, ticket sales and guest communication. We have found that party throwers also use polling to collect even more information about guests.

“Since 1999, we have seen a steady increase of digital invitations usage for all sorts of summer parties and events: BBQs, Reunions, Father's Day, Weddings and 4th of July. Email invitations have become increasingly more popular and easy to use. Some including even sound and animation! Email and text message invitations are easy to set up and a great way to invite friends and family to events.”

Smith also recommended getting on the electronic invite train, saying, “Pool parties should be merry, stress-free and simple, so don’t complicate it by overspending on fancy invitations. Using Evite or creating a Facebook event page is a great way to showcase the anticipated fun in the sun to your guests. Both offer free services or you could opt for Evite’s premium designs. Paying for them via TopCashback will cut more than a third (35 percent) off the cost.”

Party box!

Too busy to do the work of planning a party? Asher Weinstein, marketing manager at Birthday in a Box and Costume SuperCenter, suggested pool party planners try out Birthday in a Box and offered some additional planning tips:

“We created a great resource of pool party ideas that you can find here.

“Some ideas include:

  • Create a summer pool party music playlist
  • Have a photo booth for your guests to capture all of the fun moments. Include silly props.
  • Play games like Marco Polo, limbo, and sharks and minnows
  • Fun desserts to keep things cool!”

Now that summer is in full swing, use these tip to get your pool fun on for less!

Article contributors
David Bakke

David Bakke (@YourFinances101) is a finance expert who started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called ““Don’t Be A Mule…” Since then he has been a regular contributor at Money Crashers.

Natasha Rachel Smith

Natasha Rachel Smith (@topcashbackusa) is head of global communications at Natasha’s background is in retail, banking, personal finance and consumer empowerment; ranging from sales to journalism, marketing, public relations and spokesperson work during a 17-year career period. She’s originally from London, UK, but moved to Montclair, New Jersey, USA, several years ago to launch and run the American arm of the British-owned TopCashback brand; a global consumer empowerment and money-saving portal company.

Jennifer Skarakis (@Sendomatic), an accomplished Brand & Graphic Designer, has built a name for herself and her company Sendo Invitations in the Event Planning & Management industry. This successful entrepreneur and mother of three continues to grow her company while hosting community events with her husband Chris in their refurbished barn. Jennifer has a BA in Graphic Design and Interior Architecture from UC Davis.

Asher Weinstein is the marketing manager at Birthday In A Box (@BirthdayInABox) and their sister site, Costume SuperCenter (@CostumeSC). There isn't a birthday party supplies website on the internet that can help you plan a party as quickly and easily as Birthday in a Box. Our site offers a ton of party ideas, themes and low priced party supplies for any birthday or event.

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