Of course, the best way to avoid blowing money at restaurants is to stick with house parties. Wade, for instance, suggests organizing potluck dinners so you only have to bring one thing (whether that one thing is potato salad or a six-pack of beer). But even that can get pricey.
"It's expensive to bring a six-pack to every party," says Julia Scott, who says that she likes to make mint lemonade as an inexpensive and original alternative. "Lemons are cheap this time of year," she points out.
The problem is compounded if you have a kid who's getting invited to numerous summer birthday parties. All those presents can add up, so it might be time for some tough love.
"Depending on the age of your kid and how tight money is, you may have to have a frank conversation with your child," says Ingram. "Say, 'We've got 10 birthday invitations ... If we can only go to five, who are the five you like the best?'"