Uh-oh. You’ve sent out your party invites and all your friends have RSVP’d, but your budget is a bit tighter than you expected. Canceling is for quitters, of course, but you still need to think of some way to feed your guests. Chips, dip, and a veggie tray might get the job done, but where’s the pizazz?

Fret not, my friend. You don’t have to spend an entire paycheck to put together an impressive party spread. Here are four ideas for cheap party snacks that pack a lot of flavor and flair into a tiny package.

Cheese & Jelly Pairings

Cheese and wine pairings are a classic party staple, but good wine tends to be pricey. Homemade jellies and jams make for a delicious alternative. Obviously, this takes a little planning (or you could always settle for store-bought preserves), but all you need are some empty jars and basic ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Your guests will love the contrast between tart apple jam and sharp English Cheddar or sweet ‘n’ spicy mango pepper jelly and Brie. Nom.


Everybody likes a tasty burger. It’s practically guaranteed that a tray of little beef sliders (or chicken… or turkey… or pork… or…) will be a hit at your next get-together. Best of all, you’ll find that a little bit of meat goes a long way. They also don’t take long to cook, so don’t get intimidated by the prospect of making a whole bunch of mini-burgers at once. Guests will gobble them up hot or cold. Assemble a simple condiment/topping bar and let them customize each slider to their hearts’ content. Affordable, adorable, and surprisingly filling.

Grilled Veggie Skewers

Sliders are great, but we can’t forget our vegan and vegetarian friends. Fortunately, few things say “simplicity” quite like a bunch of veggies impaled on a stick and heated over a fire. It may sound like caveman cooking, but grilled veggie skewers are delicious, especially with the addition of a nice marinade or pesto. And just like the burgers, party-goers will love getting to pick their ingredients and customize their skewer to their tastes. Just make sure to soak your skewers first.


Blinis are essentially miniature Russian pancakes that look fancy and taste great but are quick and inexpensive to make. You can buy them premade or whip up your own. What really makes blinis special, though, are the toppings. Though commonly served with caviar (not an option if you’re trying to pinch those pennies), the truth is they go good with just about anything: smoked salmon and sour cream, Nutella and sliced banana, pizza sauce and melted cheese. Sweet or savory, these little guys can do it all.


Cheryl Posner is the owner of Winey Mommy. Of course, she loves wine, her family, and writing about it all (in no certain order).

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