The trick to slashing your food budget is to avoid serving big meals. Plan the party for the afternoon (after lunch, but before dinner), and serve a few inexpensive appetizers. Or, have everyone meet up later in the evening. After-dinner get-togethers make great dessert parties, which are chic and inexpensive. Just make sure the invitation is clear about what's on the menu so you won't get stuck with a group of hungry, grumpy guests.