Cheese platters can make delicious and budget-friendly cocktail hors d'oeuvres. To get the most bang for your buck, select several varieties of cheese that are standard in your region -- they'll likely be the most economically priced. You can cut them into cubes and serve with small chunks of deli ham and turkey that your guests can stack up on party toothpicks like mini kabobs. Or, you can place slabs of different types of cheese on a tray with assorted crackers. Be sure to provide a knife to slice each variety of cheese.
Grissini (thin, salted pastry breadsticks) also go great with hard and soft cheeses. You can easily bake grissini or cheese straws using store-bought refrigerated pie crust. As a time-saving tip, Martha Stewart advises baking breadsticks two days in advance of your party (they'll still be fresh come party time) [source: Martha Stewart]. For a stunning presentation that's easy on the eyes and your wallet, try these recipes for Cheese Pinecones and a Pesto Cheese Wreath.