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How to Plan a Big Birthday Party on a Small Budget

Updated on August 4, 2014

Coming up fast is a very special little girl's big day. You really want to throw her the beautiful birthday party she deserves. However, times are tough, money is tight, and you really want to save as much as possible without compromising the quality off the event. Don't fret!

This guide will help you plan the perfect party, which is guaranteed to be as precious as she is!

Choosing A Theme

The Theme: Girly Garden Tea Party

A Tea Party theme is a timeless classic and ideal for young girls. After all, what little lady doesn't enjoy getting all dressed up and pretending to be all grown up? More importantly, this idea achievable at basically any location; big or small, indoors or outdoors. If you do have a backyard, set up the "grand tea table" out there and utilize that space. If you don't, set up in the largest area of your house or apartment. If you don't own or can't borrow a table to seat all the tea party guests, that's quite alright. Buy or find some quilts to use as picnic blankets and set up those instead. If you are worried about spills, buy some cheap plastic sheaving at Wal-Mart or Home-Depot. Ask everyone to bring their favorite doll or toy to the tea party-- this will make for more play time and tea party fun! Add some tiny vases of flowers, sprinkle some petals, and string some white strands of Christmas lights to give the party a realistic "garden" feeling.


The Décor

I have two words: Dollar Tree! Your local Dollar Tree (or any 99 cents store if your town doesn't have an actual Dollar Tree Inc. Store location nearby) will be your birthday budget saving lifesaver! Dollar Tree Inc. stores carry fine quality products and all for just a dollar or less. Their birthday party selection is utterly fabulous-- you will be surprised by all the great things you'll find! You should be able to find almost everything you need here: birthday party hats, cups, plates, utensils, table cloths, gift bags, gift tags, wrapping paper, colored tissue paper and decorative ribbons, toys, and so much more! There are also nice wine glasses, place settings, and dishes if you need to set up at little spread for the adults that are joining the party as well. Just keep it simple and pick your little girl's favorite color. It will be easier to focus if you buying everything in that same color genre. Once you are in the birthday aisle I promise all your décor decisions will fall into place. Shopping this way is hundreds of dollars cheaper than getting party supplies at any other store, and your guests won't be able to tell the difference

Cuisine Ideas

Food and Drinks

Okay, so your food and drink options depend on how much you want to spend. The Dollar Tree has a good grocery selection, but it won't be as great as your local grocery store. To find a nice middle ground, I recommend shopping for your birthday cuisine and beverages at Wal-Mart, Cosco, or Sam's Club. You can buy a large bulk items or regular items, all for low prices. Below is a sample grocery list of all the things you'll need to buy to properly provide for the tea party. Prices will vary depending on locations. You will also need to add fresh gallons of water to the list if your location doesn't have drinkable running tap water or reverse osmosis system. This water will be for drinking, making ice if need be, and of course making all the teas. You can pick and choose your food items on the list according to guest count.

Tea Party Food & Drink List

  • White and/or wheat bread
  • Cream cheese
  • Cucumber(s)
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Little cookies
  • Fresh fruit and veggie slices of your choice
  • A variety of crackers and pretzels
  • A large bag of variety candy
  • 2 liters of Punch (or more)
  • Tea Bags of your choice
  • Fruit Juices of your choice
  • Cupcake mix
  • Cupcake frosting
  • Muffin Cups
  • Sprinkles
  • Large pack of sliced cheeses
  • Turkey and Ham sliced lunch meat
  • Lettuce, tomato
  • Mayo and Mustard
  • Bag(s) of Ice
  • Mini plain bagels

With this list you can create the following dishes: mini bagels with cream cheese, "tea scones" aka cookies, crackers and cheese, ants on a log, fruit and veggie platters, mini or regular cupcakes, and of course finger sandwiches. I recommend a variety of sandwiches: cucumber and cream cheese, peanut butter and jelly, turkey and ham with lettuce and tomato mayo and mustard. You of course will have your teas, punch, and water, and that is really all you need for beverages. Choosing the cupcake route is cheaper and more practical than a regular birthday cake. Save the cake for just you and your family.

Party Favor Ideas

Party Favors

Last, but certainly not least, are the party favors. Kill two birds with one stone by going to the Goodwill and purchasing a mixed assortment of cute little tea pots and teas cups. Make sure you have a tea cup or teapot for each party guest. Next, go to a place like Michael's Crafts or Wal-Mart and buy ceramic/porcelain writing art pen. They usually have a variety of colors you can choose from, but I would just buy some that are the same color as the rest of your décor. Follow the step by step artistic directions on the pen. Then, have some fun creatively writing each girl's name on the cup. Everyone will have a unique party favor they can use throughout the little girl's tea party. For an extra something, you can fill each one with candy as they say leave and take their new personalized gift home with them. You save money by not having to use as many paper cups, and they get something that they can keep forever (because tea parties are for ladies of all ages!)

Good luck with your all your birthday party planning!

5 stars for Planning A Birthday Party on A Budget

Tell me what you think! How did this party idea work for you?

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    • Danielle Burnett profile imageAUTHOR

      Danielle Burnett 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      Your welcome! I'm so happy I could help! This was honestly my favorite birthday party theme I had growing up.

      It is a timeless classic idea and seems to be enjoyed by all! :-)

    • JamesWhitaker profile image

      James N. Whitaker 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you so much for sharing this. My friend's niece is going to celebrate her birthday two weeks and this is really helpful. Thanks.


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