Graduation -- whether from kindergarten, elementary school, high school, college or specialized training -- deserves to be celebrated. You can host a nice party for your graduate without spending a ton of money. Simply shop around for low prices on the necessities like plates and cups. Keep the food and decorations simple and you'll have an inexpensive graduation party.
Graduation invitations don't have to cost anything at all. Inviting guests is as easy as shooting an email to friends and family. Of course, not all your friends may have email. For others, design a simple flier for an invitation -- hand-deliver it, if possible, to save the cost of postage. Alternatively, you can send postcards for cheaper rates than enveloped invitations. Decorate the cards with simple stamps or stickers to make them festive.
Keep the food simple. Instead of a large cake, make cupcakes. Make the frosting in school colors if possible. Top each cupcake with inexpensive picks that feature the graduation year or school mascot; make your own by printing images on card stock and taping them from the backside to a toothpick. For appetizers, stick with simple snack mix and a few vegetables and dip.
Graduation-themed tableware is sometimes expensive. Improvise by using school colors instead of printed themed plates, napkins and cups. Before shopping at a party supply store, check discount stores: they often have much cheaper colored tableware. When choosing napkins, buy colored cocktail napkins. They are smaller and you get more per package. Use large, generic white napkins for wipes and spills. Use plastic forks, spoons and knives.
Streamers from a dollar store create a festive setting. Braid them, twist them and hang them over your serving table. Print out a few pictures of the graduate and hang those as well. Include balloons if you like. Latex balloons are rather inexpensive -- it's the helium that becomes costly. Instead of helium balloons, blow balloons up yourself, string them together and tack or tape them to the ceiling or walls.