DH is finishing up his school program in May and I'm planning a party for him. His field of study is the paralegal program offered at a local college, and in 2 years, he has nearly completed the program. His final classes end in the middle of May. Since he has opted out of the graduation ceremony, I've decided he'll at least get a small backyard, BBQ type of party to commemorate finishing this stage of schooling.

Using the reasoning that a small townhouse isn't big enough to host a party, I've enlisted my mother-in-law to help with this shindig and we'll hold the get-together at her house. After all, he's definitely mama's favorite! Here's what I'm thinking for a full-flavor, frugalicious fun for $25...

MENU - to feed 20-25 people Cost: $25 or less

Chicken and hotdogs/sausage on the grill ($8 - that's all I'll spend out of pocket on meat - I think I can manage that and I've got tons of free marinades to use)
Baked Pasta (1 large pan or 2 smaller pans - got everything, so FREE)
Garden salad ($3 - I'll grab whatever is on sale the week of)
Beans & Rice ($2-$3 I've got everything to make the rice, so I just need a large bag of pinto beans)
Baked Bean Casserole (got everything so FREE)
Tortillas & Buns ($5 - 6-8 dozen tortillas and 3-5 pkgs. buns)
Condiments (got 'em - I've got loads of stuff for this! FREE)
Chips, dip, crackers ($5 - good tortilla chips, dip, guacamole)
Cake (DaMama has offered to bake 2 cakes - yippee)
Cookies & bars (got all the ingredients for them, so FREE)

My mother-in-law has offered to supply the beverages, which I'm so glad, that tends to be the most expensive part of the get together, but I'll bring Southern-style sweet tea and a couple canisters of lemonade mix, to help round out the water and soda.

I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for deals like $.50 hotdogs, $.49 chicken leg quarters, and any deal on sausage I can get. I'll probably roll some cats that are about to expire into bags of dried pinto beans, to help bring down the cost a little more, too. I'll scan for deals on sour cream (for dip) when we get down to the last 3-4 weeks before the party. By zeroing in on a menu now, I have time to get everything for the price I want. It's easy to entertain on a budget, but it requires strategy and planning. Always know what you want before you shop! If I have any $$ leftover, I'll grab potatoes for potato salad or a package of ribs. Let's see how the dollars go.

Any frugal ideas on rounding out the party? My budget is $25 for all the food and drink that I'm bringing. I think I can do this - fun, frugal, and fabulous!!
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