Over the past 8 years, my kid’s birthday parties have run the gamut from simple to elaborate, expensive to under $80, total which inspired this post on how to throw an inexpensive birthday party. And what I have learned is elaborate or expensive doesn’t necessarily make for a better party.
But it can make for a more stressed out mom.
I vividly remember this Fancy Nancy birthday party I threw for my 6-year-old daughter. I had three specialty activities for the girls, but the highlight of the party was when my husband started an impromptu game of duck duck goose. They thought it was so fun Emma’s dad was playing.
Note to self.
Now there are years you might feel up to going “all out” and to that, I say, “go for it!” If you have the time, means and desire to put on a Pinteresty Party, absolutely you should do it. I am just saying that you don’t have to.
I was so pleasantly surprised by this recent inexpensive birthday party we had for my daughter (which turned out to be one of my all time favorites) it inspired me to write this post.
How to Throw an Inexpensive Birthday Party
Host it at a free venue.
A party at home or a park will always be cheapest. Avoiding a venue rental fee is key.
Timing is everything.
If you host your party during a non-meal timeframe, you can serve some simple snacks along with your birthday cake or cupcakes and skip the cost of a meal. Consider a 1 – 3p, 2-4p or even a 930am- 11:30am party time frame and you won’t have to serve breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Keep the guest count low.
The old rule of thumb was to invite the same number of kids as the birthday kid’s age, which really does make a lot of sense. I know this is often not possible, but if you can keep it to a small number of friends, smaller parties can be better all around, for the kids and for the budget.
When kids are “of age” a drop off party where parents drop the kids off at your home can also help as you will not be expected to provide drinks or food for the adults.
Don’t underestimate the festive power of balloons.
Old school helium balloons like we had when we were kids can transform a whole party area. Tie them to chairs, the mailbox, even keep them loose in the living room, and immediately your house will look festive without breaking the bank.
Make your own cake or cupcakes.
Store bought or bakery bought items will be more expensive than the good ole’ boxed mix from the store. Or, from scratch. Plus, there is something extra special about making your own child’s birthday cake. Or, set up something fun and different like an ice cream sundae bar.
Bring back Old School party games.
Games like musical chairs, freeze dance, duck duck goose, pin the tail on the donkey, relay races, water balloon tosses were all popular for a reason – kids LOVE them! If they are having fun just playing around, no need to organize a game, but if you start to sense a lull, pull one of of these oldies but goodies out.
Pick a simple theme.
A simple theme, like “Princess” or “Pirate” where kids are invited to wear their dress up clothes, or “Pretend Sleepover” or Pajamas and Pancakes, where kids wear jammies can make a party seem even more fun without spending a cent. Or, chose the birthday kid’s favorite color, and have the kids wear that color, then do all your paper good and balloons same color. Big effect for little cost.
Shop for paper goods at discount stores.
We have local Dollar Tree and 99 Cent Only stores that can carry great party goods like paper plates, napkins, cups, and plastic table covers, all for $1. Sometimes you can even find good themed ones.
Forgo the party favors.
Kids don’t really need them, or, give each child a helium balloon when they leave so they can walk out with a little something.
Send an Evite.
Online invites are cute, easy, more eco-friendly and free!
Set up toy stations.
For my daughter’s recent 5-year-old birthday party, we set out toys in stations: Barbies, ponies, Littlest Pet Shop, etc. Her preschool friends were in heaven just getting to play with her toys.
Remember, the party will be magical no matter what.
Just having a birthday party, any type of party, where your child’s friends get to come over, bring them presents and everyone sings to them over their favorite sweet, is AWESOME. And sometimes the simplest things in life can be the best.
Do you have any tips on how to keep birthday party costs down? Have you thrown an inexpensive birthday party? Would love to hear your ideas below!