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Keeping your Child's Birthday Party Budget Friendly

Updated on December 31, 2012

Keeping it Simple Saves - KISS Rule

Being a party planner for years now I have seen parents over spend on their child's birthday parties. Of course for me it means money in my pocket, but I am always willing to help save parents money with ideas and tips. Even if it means a cut in my profits - why? because I am a parent as well.

I am going to share with you some tips that will hopefully be helpful the next time you are getting ready to plan your child's birthday party. It is so important for everyone with our economy to cut corners and learn ways to help save yourself a couple bucks. Many parents are now choosing to have parties at home and that alone can be a big money saver. These tips can apply for either one.

It may take a little extra work on your part, but in the end it is worth it. So that takes me into my first tip.

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Plan Ahead

We all know when our kids birthdays are - so it is important to plan ahead for their party. The biggest reason I see that parents spend so much money is because they wait until the very last minute. By doing that you end up over spending every time. You will pay increased expedited shipping on supplies, full price on party goods and so on.

When planning ahead you can shop sales and clearance racks. That is always a great way to find Party Favors and Craft Ideas for the party and so on.

So do not wait until 2 weeks before the party to start planning - try to start at least 3+ months in advance. It will also be less stressful and more enjoyable for you in the end as well.

Choose your Party Theme

Having a party theme is very important and it helps to make planning so much easier. Once you have a Theme you can really start the planning. Think of things you already have in your house that you can use for decorations. For instance my daughter had a Cat Theme Birthday Party - we gathered all of her Cat Stuffed Animals and toys to use as party decorations. I had her draw cat pictures and color them and they became part of the decorations as well and she was so proud.

I think it is important to get the kids involved. You can find coloring pages on almost anything with a Goggle search. have the kids color them in - you can cut them out and hang them from the ceiling, tape on the walls, add glitter etc...

Just shop around your home and I guarantee you will find the majority of fun things you can use right there.

Of course you can buy some new stuff like Balloons and a few items to add some extra Theme Touches, but much less of it.

Now you saved all that money on decorations. A little creativity saves BIG.

Tips to save on Theme Paper Goods

I think the Themed Party Goods are great, but if you are on a tight budget here are some tips that I do myself. Use solid colored paper goods and just add in the Theme Plates or just the dessert plates or Napkins. You can even just get away with the Theme Table cloth.

Another thing I have done is to use solid plastic cups and ahead of time draw my own designs on them with a permanent marker and add the children's names. You can even add stickers with the party theme on them - and a lot of times that is much cheaper.

One big hit the kids love is to buy solid paper from the roll - usually found at a paper supply store and comes in various colors. My local store sells 4" Wide paper for 10 cents per foot. You top your table with this and toss some crayons out and let the kids draw as they are sitting at the table.

The picture of the Thomas Table Setting is by my Friend Janet21 who is also known for her creative Birthday Party Skills. So KUDOS to her for using this rule. So stop by her Hubpages for even more fun party ideas.

Craft Activities

It is always good to have some craft activities for the kids. Save money by having your craft activity double as your party favor. Like for instance with my Stuff a Plush products. The guests all get to stuff a plush and then take it home - so this will be your favor.

You can do things like: Decorate a Shirt - you can find shirts at the craft store for as low as $2.00 each on sale. Use fabric markers, stamps, paint, tye dye etc...

Decorate a Beach Ball using permanent markers, make a frame and take some fun photos using a digital camera, print and put in their frames, the ideas here can be endless.

Family is a great resource to finding some great craft ideas for the party. Also use caution when buying some of the craft kits online and read reviews - sometimes when you receive them they are not as quality as they may have looked in the photo.

Craft stores usually always offer coupons - mine always has 40% off ones. You can even find them online at their websites. Take advantage of these!!! Use more than one - when planning ahead you can do this or bring your friends when you shop and enlist them with some cash to purchase some items using a coupon for you.

Party Invitations

Save money by making them yourself. Go back to basics with some construction paper and markers. You can get very creative and yes it takes time, but it can be fun doing it with your child.

Print some out. You can find many websites which offer free printable party invitations or make your own with one of your programs. Search pictures on your theme using google images or add some of your child.

Here is a fun invitation idea: Take a regular balloon - blow it up using a balloon pump. DO NOT tie it off. Hold it while you write all your party info on the Balloon. Then deflate it. Stick it in an envelope and mail to your guests. Now they will have to blow it up to see the invite and that is why you do not use your mouth to blow it up when creating. This is original and unique. You can even do the same thing with a beach ball.

Another great option is EBay - they offer wonderful invitation designs you can personalize. You can find some good prices on invites and most even give you the option to print them out yourself to save even more money.

Saving Money on Party Food

Again this is another area where parents go over board. I see so much food wasted all the time. Half the time the kids just graze and hardly eat - so Keep it Simple.Plan it out well and this is another area where you can save big. By planning ahead you can use coupons and shop sales.

First you must decide if you are going to feed the kids a meal. To save from doing this plan your party in the safe zone - 1pm - 4pm. BUT I always recommend to write in the invitations what you will be serving so parents will know if they need to feed their kids lunch before they come. So if it is a non meal party I would write - Cake and Snacks will be served.

If you plan to serve lunch or dinner than write - Lunch,Snacks and Cake will be served and so on. It is very helpful for parents to know.

Some Party Food Ideas: FINGER FOODS!!! Kids love to snack at parties. You can keep it fun and healthy by serving cut up fruit and veggies with dip. Choose just a couple types of pretzels and chips. Cut up Cheese Chunks. Try not to have much candy - not only is it not good for them, but you do not need the kids getting a major sugar rush - lol. Save that for cake time later.

There are lots of great books on party foods and finger foods - I just say do not do too much because you will end up with so much left over. I see it all the time. And don't get too fancy - kids do not like to try new things at parties.

Cake Time

Save money and make your own cake. You can have so much fun with this. Use the Internet to see what other have made to go with your theme by searching google images. There are so many cake pans available and ideas to help make this fun and easy.

I really like to use cupcakes at my parties for a few reasons. You avoid the fighting over who gets what piece of the cake, it is already divided into servings and kids love cupcakes.

You can even turn cupcakes into a fun time for the kids by allowing them to decorate them themselves having some frosting and sprinkles available so they can add what they want to them.

The other fun thing is the cupcake stands - you can have them displayed on the stand which will add to the party decor.

So have fun with this use your creativity and save money by doing it yourself. Oh and another fun boost is the compliments you will get from your work.

Draw up your own Party Games

Pin the Tie on Spongebob
Pin the Tie on Spongebob
Feed the Webkinz Bulldog
Feed the Webkinz Bulldog

Party Games

To save money on party games - make your own and utilize items you already have in your home.

I make a lot of custom game posters for parties and it is not hard. No you do not have to be an artist anyone can do it. I take large poster board, markers and I love to use crayons. Find a picture of what you would like on it - for instance: Spongebob. When I drew that out I left his tie blank and made red ties that the kids had to pin on Spongebob. Just plan it out before you start to draw.

Kids really enjoy the old favorites like Hot Potato which can be adapted into anything like Pass Patrick, Pass the Webkinz etc...

Musical Chairs is always a fun one and again this can be changed - I have done musical towels in the summer and I plan to do musical ice bergs for my daughter's penguin party this year.

One of my favorite Party Game Website is Party Game Central and you can find just about every party game there.

One last Party Game Tip - Make sure your games are simple, age appropriate, you know how to play ahead of time and also make sure you have extras planned just in case they go quicker then planned.

Party Favors

Yet another place parents overspend almost all the time. First you must keep in mind that party favors are just a small token to say Thanks for coming to my party. Somewhere over time this has become a large gift being sent home with each guest. We need to bring this back to what they really are.

The second thing is to think of what you would want to see come home with your kids from a party and I am sure it is not useless carnival toys and bags full of candy.

Try sending the kids home with useful items - one of my favorite ideas are Take Home Party Cups The kids can reuse these and they come in so many great design choices. Also as stated above you can use your party craft activity as the party favor as well.

Bake some cookies and add a juice box. Attach a note saying something like Thanks for coming to my party it was SWEET of you and your guests will have a nice snack to enjoy after the party.

If you decide to send kids home with toys and candy - keep it minimal and be creative. And again always look for sales and clearance items. Find things sold in multiples to save even more money.

The photo shows a simple Cat Cup Party Favor I made for my daughter's Cat Party. I used cups I had in the house and added a few various items to the cup - they were huge hits. To learn how to make them yourself you can read the How to; Click Here.

A little creativity saves money.

In Conclusion

So really saving money is not hard - it just take a little more planning, creativity, the use of coupons, shopping sales and KEEPING IT SIMPLE. Do your research and be unique. I hate nothing more than having the same party as my neighbor.

If you need help with any planning then contact me - The Party Animal and I would be happy to help give ideas and suggestions.

You can also visit my Children's Party Blog where I feature great party ideas, BUDGET FRIENDLY party favors and the latest in Theme Party Supplies.

Good Luck with your planning and just have fun - do not complicate it any more than it needs to be.

Let me know you stopped by and if any of my tips were helpful

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I loved teh article and yes it was very helpful. I started early this year and have been able to take advantage of discounts......even a store going out of business. I got all the cups, plates etc for VERy CHEAP and bought a themed set just to add a theme. Instead of my normal $170 i spent $37. :-)

    • ThePartyAnimal profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @janices7 Thanks for taking the time to read and yes I love that idea too - I love love love useful party favors.

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 

      8 years ago

      Love the take home party cups idea! A great inexpensive party favor is always a hit with me. Thanks for all the great info!


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