Planning Your Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget

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High angle view at multi ethnic group of children blowing party horns at camera

It’s so exciting to celebrate your little one turning another year older, but sometimes we can go overboard on the spending. But don’t worry, you don’t have to rent out a restaurant or bowling alley to host a celebration to remember. 

If you’re looking to plan a budget-friendly birthday party for kids that is still fun, use these money-saving strategies and budget-friendly birthday party ideas. Join Twin Cities Kids Club today for access to local discounts and activities the whole family will love.

Happy children and their parents entertain and have fun with color balloon on kids birthday party

Tips for a Budget-Friendly Party

Time of Day Matters 

The time of day is something to consider with your birthday budget. If you plan a birthday around mealtime, you will need to feed your guests an actual meal instead of snack foods.

Guests

To help keep your child’s birthday party on a budget, minimize your guest list. Try only to invite family and extremely close friends. Fewer guests mean less mouths to feed, which means lower costs. 

Decorations

There is no need to go over the top on decorations to get the theme of your party to stand out. Make your own decorations, or use the ones from your previous parties, to save on money. 

You can create decorations such as:

  • Make vines from butcher paper
  • Cut out bananas from yellow paper plates
  • Paint ice cream cone cutouts from card stock
  • Flowers balls out of colored/painted coffee filters
  • Cardboard cutouts 

You can find hundreds of ideas on Pinterest for cute decorations, and sometimes they offer free print outs. The dollar store is also a great place to find low-cost party decorations.

Childhood, holidays, celebration, friendship and people concept. Happy children in party hats giving gifts at birthday party

Location

It’s always cheaper to have a birthday party at your house rather than somewhere else. With some decorations, you can turn a living room, basement, or even a garage into a great party space. 

Don’t want to throw a party at your home? Sign up for a free membership card with Twin Cities Kids Club. 

This free membership card comes with free magic shows, puppet shows, chocolate factory tours, movies in the park, swim days, skate days, arts and crafts, carnivals, festivals, and more. Nothing keeps you under budget, like free activities. 

Food

This brings us back to the time of day you choose to host your party. Stay away from meal times to keep your costs down. If you are able to do that, you can have snack foods at your birthday party. 

Here is a fantastic list of healthy snacks for some inspiration.

It’s almost always cheaper to make your food then to cater or buy party platters. You can prepare most of the food a couple of days before the party so that you are not rushing to prepare everything all at once.

Some great and easy to make snack foods include:

  • Apple dipper sticks
  • Fruit and cheese kabobs
  • Veggie platter 
  • Chips and dip
  • Pigs in a blanket
  • Egg rolls
  • Marshmallow fruit dip
  • Mini mac and cheese bites

Cake

To save money, try making your own birthday cake. Cupcakes are typically easier to make and work just as well! Instead of having a smash cake for your kids’ 1st birthday, make a cupcake for them to smash. 

This saves money and food because most one-year-olds don’t care for the smash cake anyways.

Kids looking at birthday cake with candles, having b-day party

Invitations

Rather than spending time and money on mailing out cards, visit PunchBowl.com. Here, you can create birthday card invitations and email them to your guests for no cost at all! Another great way to save money! They have tons of templates you can choose from. 

PunchBowl even tracks who is and isn’t available to attend and will allow you to send thank you cards after the party. 

Make the Activity the Party Favor

There’s a life-long tradition of sending home party guests with a goody bag. Why not make the activity the party favors?

Here are some activities that double as party favors:

Homemade Light Sabers

Every Jedi-in-training needs a light saber. Pool noodle light sabers are lightweight and inexpensive, and you can easily keep the fun going with a challenge! See if they can use the Force (and their light sabers) to keep a balloon from touching the ground.

DIY Bracelets

All you need is some string and beads!

Slime

All you need is glue, baking soda, and a saline solution. The kids will love creating their very own slime creation. They can choose their colors and even glitter to add to it! Check out The Kitchn for an easy to follow slime recipe.

Individual Canvases

For young artists, nothing could be better than a painting party. Find some low-cost canvases at your local Walmart, cover a table with newspaper and layout lots of paint colors and brushes. 

Stand back and watch the youngsters create! Then, each talented guest can bring home their masterpiece.

Paper Dolls

Find a free printable template online and prep the paper dolls. Each kiddo can decorate their troop of paper dolls with markers, glitter, construction paper, and whatever else you can find around the house!

Yarn Dolls

So simple, so cost-friendly, so cute! Let your guests design their very own stick dolls in any theme: mermaids, pirates, animals, and more. All you need is yarn, buttons, and popsicle sticks. Happy Hooligans has a great How-To!

Combine Birthday Events for Multiple Kids

This may not work for everyone, but if your child’s best friend’s birthday is around the same time, you can team up with other parents trying to celebrate a child’s birthday, buy party supplies in bulk, and then distribute the supplies between them to lower overall costs. 

Group of children in a rope-pulling contest in kindergarten

Budget-Friendly Birthday Party for Kids

You don’t have to hire an entertainer, such as a clown or a Disney princess, to host an unforgettable party. You can organize some free games such as: 

  • Musical chairs
  • Pin the tail on the donkey
  • Charades
  • Freeze tag
  • Hide-and-Seek
  • The telephone game

It’s too easy for adults to forget how many children’s games there are that are not only free but a lot of fun.

Although it can be easy to slip and spend too much money, hosting an unforgettable birthday party on a budget is doable without feeling like a cheapskate. 

Before you start baking that cake, just make sure you have your birthday party budget in place. Get your kids to join in on the baking, it will be fun for all!

Don’t forget to join Twin Cities Kids Club today and good luck and happy planning!

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