Jun 28, 2013

Four Money Saving Birthday Party Tips

Birthday parties can be costly, whether you are planning a first birthday party, 50th birthday party, or any in between; there are a lot of details that have to be ironed out. Most which cost money!

For children, they will remember playing with their friends, eating cake and opening presents. Kids are quite easy to please, which is great for the wallet! If you are on a tight budget, here are a few pointers for planning and executing a birthday party.

#1 Do It Yourself

Even if you are not a baker, artist and/or creative, you can still make a cake or cupcakes yourself! If you want to make a cake from scratch, your best bet is to research recipes on the Internet. Otherwise, buy a cheap box of cake mix from the store and follow the directions on the box. Even easier, buy cupcake wrappers and make cupcakes for everyone!

If there is a pattern or theme that your child likes, see if you can find some images to print, purchase some card stock and print pictures to hang on the wall at home for decoration. If you want to make cupcake sticks, just use the card stock and print out a bunch of the same pictures. Then cut them out and glue or tape them on to a tooth pick. The kids are just going to pull them out of the cupcake anyway, so may as well make them to look cute in a budget friendly way.

#2 Have Joint Birthday Parties

If you have more than one child with a birthday around the same time, combine the two parties to save money. Let each child invite four or five friends so it does not get too overwhelming and come up with some activities for them to do either at your house or at the venue where you are having the party.

If you have a child in school or know of a family member that is having a party, see if you can split the cost with the other person and have a joint party.

#3 Keep it Simple

There is no need to go overboard for a birthday party, as long as you have snacks, drinks and cake, I am sure your guests will be content.

If you are planning on hosting the party in your home the following foods could be offered:
  • Chips and Dip
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Tossed Salad
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Baked Ziti
  • Pizza
  • Soda, water and juice boxes
Of course, you can plan your menu as you choose, however, it will be less stressful (and budget friendly) if you keep it simple.

You could also have the party at an off time so you do not have to provide a meal to anyone, but snacks and cupcakes and/or cake are sufficient. If you have a get together in the summer time you could have the kids arrive at 1:30 PM, serve snacks and let them play outside for a bit, then have cake or cupcakes and open presents.

Kids also like games, a few games that are perfect for little ones at a birthday party include:
  • Pin the tail on the donkey
  • Water balloon toss
  • Musical chairs
  • Piñata
If you are saving in another area, such as having the party at an off time to save from purchasing a meal, if you have a little extra in the budget to buy a piñata, the kids would love it and the candy would be the party favor as well!

#4 Do Your Research

It may be cheaper, and easier, for you to have the birthday party at a location other than your home. Places such as sports complexes, bowling alleys, children’s entertainment and fun centers like Chuck E Cheese and Laser Quest, often host birthday parties at a package cost. Many places will offer an all-inclusive package deal for you so you do not have to purchase anything extra. If you are going to go this route, it will save you time and stress from having to clean up your house before and after, but definitely search for a coupon to use to potentially cut costs.

Many times, this route may actually be cheaper because when adding up all of the costs from what is needed for a home birthday party.

#5 Purchase Party Favors and Supplies at a Discount

Online sites, such as Oriental Trading or the Dollar Store Direct offer party supply options at a cheaper price.  You can also sign up to receive e-mails at the party store websites and on occasion they send out coupons to use on party supplies!

If the party is in the summer time and at your house, if you have a sand box you could purchase sand toys from the dollar store, get letter stickers, and personalize the sand toys with the child’s names. They can play with their sand toys in the sand box and in the end; you’ll know what belongs to which child because their names will be on the toys. The sand toys would double as their party favor and if you want to offer something else to go along with that, maybe a candy bar would suffice.

No matter what you decide to do, just remember, it is only one day, for a few hours so don’t over spend. Set a budget and stick to it!

*Nikki Muroski is a mommy of three, a wife and a blogger for her site, Nickel-and-Diming with Nikki. She is also a regular contributor to the CareOne Debt Relief Services blog, a community that provides debt consolidation and money-saving advice.


  1. I stopped hosting a party after that "drama" issue I had (lam mo na yun). I'd rather take my kids somewhere else now to celebrate their birthday than host a party at my house... I know that inviting other kids would be fun but I don't like the stress anymore.

  2. i noticed most birthday parties these days are not extravagant, but done in simple but very fun ways for kids. kids mostly want to have fun, not really to over-stuff themselves with foods, and attending parents see the kind of fun their kids are having so instead of complaining of less variety of foods, they also follow the same modeling of preparing fun activities for kids and simple foods for them to nourish their activities.


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