That includes most of the food and decor.

By Jaime Milan
March 06, 2019
Melissa Renwick/Getty Images

Throwing a party can be fun (albeit stressful) experience. And there’s nothing that kills a party faster than having not enough—or not very good—food. Recently, I was tasked with throwing a friend’s baby shower. I thought long and hard about what kind of food I wanted to serve.

Since the shower would be at 2 p.m., and there would be around 15 people, I settled on small bites—chicken salad stuffed in phyllo cups, a fruit and cheese platter, veggies with hummus, mini BBQ meatballs, pasta salad, and crostinis with whipped goat cheese and apricot preserves.

I also wanted to include lots of flowers and fresh peaches in the decor (the shower was peach-themed!)

So I went to my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s, grocery list in-hand. What I didn’t expect was for the cost of all these items to be so low. I was able to purchase everything on my list minus phyllo dough cups, which I forgot, and, unsurprisingly, the peaches, which are not actually in season yet. I ended up heading to another grocery store to pick those items up, and paid about $17 (I bought a lot of peaches!)

Full disclosure: Since I work at a food magazine, I actually had some leftover samples of cheese and marinated olives on hand, which I used for the cheese platter. My husband supplied the beverages, and a friend volunteered to bring her pasta salad. Those items would likely have added up to about $30. Everything else, however, was purchased at Trader Joe's, and for about 2/3 of what I had budgeted to spend!

Here’s what I bought from Trader Joe’s:

  • Three containers of premade chicken salad ($12)
  • Grapes, various crackers, and brie for the cheese platter ($17)
  • Two bags of mini party meatballs and two bottles of Trader Joe’s Kansas City barbecue sauce ($16)
  • Two seedless cucumbers, a bag of baby carrots, and a bag of mini peppers ($11)
  • Hummus ($3)
  • Pecans, which I seasoned and roasted at home ($5)
  • Two baguettes ($4)
  • Ricotta ($3)
  • Goat cheese ($3)
  • Apricot preserves($3)
  • Two dozen roses, carnations, eucalyptus bunches, and white stock ($25)

Total: $102

Overall, I was super happy with how the party turned out! Here are some photos of everything I made, and what it all looked like when it came together.

Jaime Milan
Jaime Milan

If you’re looking to host a small- to medium-sized party, I would definitely encourage you to check out Trader Joe’s. I thought the prices were very fair, and I didn’t end up with bulk-sized amounts of food I’d probably have to throw away days after the party. This spread left me with plenty of food for guests, and just enough leftovers to feed my husband for two days. Plus, I think I had a pretty tasty spread for right around $100!

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