Going out in college can be broken down into two categories: chugging a beer in the dark basement of a frat house and sipping on wine with a couple close friends in someone’s dorm. While beer is easy and cheap, sometimes all we want is to throw a small, classy gathering with friends… like a wine and cheese party.

Many college students think you have to be Blair Waldorf to successfully have an elegant soirée in college. But never fear, I am here to bust that myth. Here’s your quick guide for how to throw a wine and cheese party for five of your closest friends for under $40.

The Wine

wine and cheese

Photo by Jocelyn Hsu

The booze is half of the wine and cheese party (obviously). While many wines can be on the more expensive side, there are many options for less than $10 a bottle.

André Champagnes is a great option. There is a decent range of dry and sweet champagnes for only $6.99 a bottle, which means you can stock up. If you desire a nice red wine, Barefoot California Cabernet can also be found for $6.99 a bottle. Don’t know what kind of wine you like to drink? Get some knowledge dropped on you and learn to navigate the wine aisle.

Now let’s do the math. Assuming a typical bottle contains three big glasses of champagne, and each party-goer will drink two glasses (come on, we are trying to be classy here… kind of), only two bottles are needed.

The Cheese

wine and cheese

Photo by Jocelyn Hsu

The second half of a wine and cheese party is, obviously, the cheese. Cheap cheese does not mean succumbing to American cheese. The perfect cheese plate includes a firm cheese, a semi-firm cheese, and a soft cheese. Walmart can fulfill many of these needs.

For a good firm cheese, consider Emmi Gruyere Cheese for only $6.98. This is paired nicely with a semi-firm cheese like Rembrandt Extra-Aged Gouda for $5.98. A crowd-pleasing soft cheese is plain Brie, the cheapest cheese for $4.48 a wheel.

The Crackers

wine and cheese

Photo by Lauren Kaplan

Crackers are the obvious vehicle for our glorious cheeses. This is the easiest of the categories because there are an abundance of options other than saltines. At Walmart, Great Value Buttery Smooth Crackers only cost $2 a box. For a variety of crackers, try the Keebler Toasted Crackers Party Pack – it includes three different types of crackers for only $3.65 a box.

The Math

Finally, add up all of the options for wine, cheese, and crackers:

$6.99 (x2) + $6.98 + $5.98 + $4.98 + $2.00 + $3.65 = $37.57 – if everyone splits the cost, this is only $6.26 a person. Definitely doable.

So enjoy your classy wine and cheese party secure in the knowledge you’ll be able to afford lunch tomorrow.