Birthday on a Budget

A great bash doesnít have to break the bank.

Celebrating a child’s birthday is undoubtedly a reason for celebration, but marking that milestone can quickly add up in cost if you aren’t mindful. However, with a little creativity and imagination, you can prepare an affordable, convenient, and fun party for kids of all ages. Read on for expert party planning tips and ideas for the budget-conscious planner.

First, think about what type of event you’re looking to plan. Determine whether you want guests to enjoy a casual or formal event, as well as whether you want the event to be focused solely on the children or have an opportunity for parents to join in the fun, too.

Next, think about your theme, which will set the tone for your event. Consider a theme like clowns, trains, animals, princesses, or pirates that will help you stay within budget for your party while getting all the necessities you want. A basic theme can also be enhanced with a little imagination. For example, a princess theme offers the opportunity to host a fun tea party, and an animal theme can easily be turned into a jungle adventure.

After choosing a theme, it’s time to consider location, location, location! If you plan to hold the event at your house, you’ll have the opportunity to creatively decorate to your liking. Consider the number of invited guests to determine whether this option is a possibility. Cook or secure catered food to match the theme. And, if the weather is nice, consider a camping party in your backyard. Set up tents, build a campfire, and make S’mores and priceless memories ­­— all at a low financial impact!

If you prefer not to hold the party at your home, shop around for locations such as indoor swimming pools, gymnastics venues, inflatable parks, sports centers, bowling alleys, skating rinks, children’s salons, cooking or pottery places, etc., where you can rent an event room for a specific time and engage guests in planned activities. Rain or cold pending, scope out your area’s parks for a fun pavilion party, and have the kids play on the playground while you grill. Let your imagination wander. Celebrations can be held anywhere, anytime, on any budget with a little creativity.
Decorations are a key part to making a celebration come alive. For simple decorations, try finding printable cards and cutouts you can use and prepare from your home computer. You can create a celebratory piñata out of colorful tissue paper and cardboard of any shape and size. Look online for do-it-yourself tutorials to create fun and affordable decorations.

When it comes to the birthday cake, some parents only consider store-bought cakes from the local bakery or grocery store. To save money, bake a cake in your kitchen with icing, sprinkles, and other edible decorations that match your theme or color scheme. If you want a layered cake, simply make multiple small cakes and use icing to “glue” them together. You can layer with different icing flavors for a unique effect. Add streamers, figurines, or homemade cake toppers to your party pastry once complete. Making your own dessert means you’ll get the exact cake size you need and stay within budget.

Lastly, goodie bags can be expensive, but you can set whatever price limit for them you think is reasonable. Try going to your neighborhood dollar store to find colorful lunch bags in packs that match your decorations. Buy a bulk bag of candy and split it into each goodie bag along with stickers, cool erasers, or age-appropriate trinkets that go with your party theme. If you don’t want to fill up your goodie bags with toys, consider baking your favorite cookies and putting about three in each bag, tied up with streamers and a bow to add decoration.

Imagination and creativity are the key ingredients to help make any celebration inexpensive and affordable.