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A Birthday Party on a Budget

Updated on September 17, 2014

Like any ordinary family we have our financial struggles but being a hands on mom I was determined to celebrate our baby's 1st birthday. I sought ways to make our baby boy's special day one that he'll always be able to look back on with fondness.

I prowled the internet in search of good decorating ideas on a budget. There are tons and tons of great ideas and some that you can even curtail to your liking. I highly recommend that you check out these sites where I got a lot of fabulous ideas from.

Tip Junkie


I wanted to have a lot more decorations but time was unfortunately not on my side. I made the best of the situation. So for all the mothers out there who want to celebrate their little one's birthday but have little to no time and are extremely budget conscious here are a few suggestions.

We live in a low rise condominium that's more of a small suburb having 12 buildings and 5 floors each. It's a very safe place for families most especially for children to play in. We have a clubhouse that regularly gets rented out for special occasions but seeing as how we were budget conscious we opted to have our baby's 1st birthday in our building's foyer which was free of cost. We had only a few family and friends to invite and the space was just big enough.

The first thing I did was check out the foyer. I needed to see how big it was exactly. I see it almost everyday but I realized that I didn't know it's exact dimensions and it was only then that I really saw every nook and cranny. It was important to determine how big a space I had for decorating.

I went online and scoured for decorations I could make with paper and crepe paper as these were the 2 materials I could use in abundance and that were cheap! I saw three great paper decorations that I could adapt for my party.


I saw this colorful paper decoration and instantly knew that I had to have these. I changed the color combination to fit the theme of the party. I also saved a bit by using tape to make the starburst petals stick to one another. In the tutorial it shows that a brad was used. I checked out the price of split pins but saw that these were a bit expensive. So instead of using 9 split pins I ended up using only one which used to hold all the petals together to form the star shape.

Check out the easy step by step tutorial at:

Patriotic Paper Starbursts

the original starburst
the original starburst
my version
my version
original design
original design

Zig Zag Streamers

The next decoration I saw were these streamers that had a different take.

I couldn't believe that I had found such a creative yet inexpensive decoration to make.

I had help from my kids with this. It turned out to be a great project for us to work on.

Here's the short and simple tutorial that you can check out:

Accordion Zig Zag Streamers

my version
my version

I wanted to have more than what you see in the picture but having worked a 12 hour day by the time I was finished with everything it was already 5am on the day of the birthday!

What's great about this decoration is that even with only a few pieces it instantly livened up that section of the foyer.

my version
my version

Fringe Streamers

I knew that I wanted to have streamers but I didn't want any old type of streamers. I came across this streamer idea and wanted to use it for the party. Originally my idea was to twist 2 colored streamers across the ceiling. This was a much better idea.

Check out the step by step tutorial here.

It's the little things that count...

Having handled Events ( I was an Events & Communications Officer), I knew that it was the little things that counted. I printed a few designs that I came up with and put it all around the foyer in small ways. They did help to make it more personal.

I got these great Mylar balloons at Divisoria at 168 Mall for only P25 each! I made some decals that I had printed out at Tronix, an inexpensive place to get pictures printed (only P25 for 1 8R).
I got these great Mylar balloons at Divisoria at 168 Mall for only P25 each! I made some decals that I had printed out at Tronix, an inexpensive place to get pictures printed (only P25 for 1 8R).
I made these small decals for the birthday cake (my own version of cake toppers) but since I had extra pieces I decided to use these by taping them to balloon streamers. At the end of the party all the kids were grabbing them to take home.
I made these small decals for the birthday cake (my own version of cake toppers) but since I had extra pieces I decided to use these by taping them to balloon streamers. At the end of the party all the kids were grabbing them to take home.

How to Make Your Own Cake Toppers

The cake is an essential part of any birthday celebration but with the budget being what it was I couldn't afford to get those very expensive cakes that had these great 3D designs. My sister in law actually sponsored the cake and so we got these great dedication cakes from Red Ribbon (only P490). It had colorful swirls that went perfectly with my party motif.

A dedication cake is a very basic cake with a space for whatever message you want to have put on it. To make it a little more special I decided to make toppers that I could put on the cake. I created my own designs and even had a couple with my baby's face on them.

The basic materials for any cake or cupcake topper is the design, the stick and the ribbon or streamer. I went to the local supermarket and to my surprise I couldn't find the right kind of stick. It dawned on me to try to use pick up sticks (perfect because it is also colorful) BUT unlucky me they were out of stock. So it was back to the drawing board.

I was determined to have these toppers and I needed the perfect sized stick. So my daughter and I trooped back to the supermarket and took a closer look at the things around us. We finally saw a pack of ice cream spoons that were perfect. They were long enough and had a small square at the very end where I could stick the topper design on.

We actually got a wonderful cake as a present from our baby's Godmother with his face on it. It was adorable.

Here is the easy step by step instructions to make your very own toppers.

You need:

  • printed designs (preferably in circular shapes) in different sizes
  • streamers or ribbons
  • gift wrapping paper
  • plain colored cardstock or cartolina
  • ice cream sticks
  • glue
  • tape

I glued the circle designs to gift wrapping paper choosing wrappers that would bring our the colors on my designs. Then I glued it onto card stock (you can also use cartolina) and cut it into a circular shape. I didn't use any measurements and just used the circle as my guide to cut around and give enough space in between for the gift wrapper to show.

I then taped it to the ice cream stick and tied streamers on to it. I also added more curls using a pair of scissors (the old stretch and pull trick).

Here's the final result!
Here's the final result!
It may not seem noticeable but if you look closely you'll see blue and green confetti. Remember, it's the details that count.
It may not seem noticeable but if you look closely you'll see blue and green confetti. Remember, it's the details that count.

Your party doesn't have to cost you thousands of pesos to look festive.

What's important is that you have a few key pieces and have some small details. I couldn't afford to buy tablecloths so I had to look for alternatives.

I ended up using crepe paper and plastic to cover my tables. I simply added some homemade confetti and it gave the tables a simple decoration. It also makes cleaning up afterwards easy.

Your party can be a success and not heavy on the pocket. Save by making your own decorations or maybe spend more on food instead of hiring a decorator or buying already made decorations.

If you have delicious food your party will be a hit. With great decorations it'll be even more memorable.

Lastly, take some video messages from your guests and compile into a CD so that your little one will be able to watch his 1st birthday party when he gets a little older. He's sure to laugh and enjoy the people that were there and the colorful decorations that you made yourself.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      you gave me a lot of tips on how to celebrate the birthday party on a budget.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      this is so nice and decorative. I agree you don't need to spend a lot it's the memory really matters.

    • profile image

      Erlaine of Glamma Momma 

      3 years ago

      I love DIYs and how you did yours! Will try to make the paper starbursts. Nakakainspire talaga ang Pinterest, di ba? One of my favorites din are the medallions and pinwheels.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I super agree with you! When my boy turned 1, almost everything was DIY and I think we only spent around 7k - 8k including the food? But even after that, I vowed not to host parties anymore coz I don't have the energy for it!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Very Helpful! My Daughter will celebrate her 1st birthday soon and this post really help me a lot in planning. I love you DIY topper, so cute!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      your DIY ideas are really great. I agree that birthday party need not be so expensive as long as it will be celebrated with the family. :-D

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      The place looks so festive! The ceiling and walls are bursting with colors. I'm sure your son was in awe. Yes, a video of the guests saying their birthday greetings would be wonderful, especially when your son's older and wants to look back on his first birthday.

    • livelovelaugh5 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Hi rama! I'm glad this hub gave you some ideas! Stay tuned for more :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      thanks jenan! the ieads to prepare all decorative stuff at home was very nice and u shared all the information and given each and every detailes that was very use full to the parents who want to celebrate their babys birthdays on low budget as well as to the parents who were shock to prepaer every thing by there own hand for there little one. thank you very mach,i am thinking what i can do for my little son for his first birthday by my self finally i got a clear idea. thank u very machhhhh

    • livelovelaugh5 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks Jenan! I've always loved to make things. If I can recall right I've been doing this since I was 8 years old! Thank you for being there and sharing our special day!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I feel like im reading something off a martha stewart magazine! These are such great ideas! So efficient and cost effective. I love the colors you chose for the different decorations. There are some color shades that can look tacky but the ones you chose for the decos were so refreshing and appropriate for the baby boy's bday party. The decos really transformed the simple foyer into a festive area. My favorite decos would have to be the fringe streamers and the starbursts...i just loved them! Couldn't believe you actually made all that. Great job!


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