Birthdays shouldn’t mean spending big bucks. Birthday parties should be all about celebrating life and creating memories. However, birthday parties nowadays have become lavish affairs with grand gestures, extravagant celebrations, and unlimited budgets. It has become more about “keeping up with the Joneses” than having family fun. Unless I really get a million dollar cheque from a Nigerian prince soon, I am not going to use up my savings for a party.
However, if you are looking for birthday celebration ideas on a budget while creating beautiful memories, family bonds, and loads of fun, it is not a difficult task at all. All you need is a little creativity, planning, and a desire to stay within your budget. Here are 11 budget birthday party ideas that I think will work for everyone.
11 ideas to celebrate kids’ birthdays on a budget
The reason we end up spending more than we intended to for any party is that we forgot to plan ahead. Planning a last-minute party will ensure that you spend way more than necessary on essentials like cake, food, decorations, etc. If you do your birthday party planning well before the time it will be easier to check out the best prices, get more options and save money on buying in advance. Use our free birthday party planning checklist to keep your birthday party organised.
Think of out of the box ideas for birthday themes
Birthday parties are more about the experiences that kids have rather than the location, food, or even gifts. Some frugal birthday party ideas can be-a trip to the zoo (animal theme), a science museum (space theme), an aquarium (aquatic animal theme), a rail museum (Thomas & Friends theme), or a dance studio (dance party). Take the kids to your local burger or pizza place afterwards, and they are sure to have a great time.
Party at home
There is no place like home, and definitely, nothing is cheaper when you want to host a shindig. You don’t need to have a birthday party in a farmhouse or a banquet hall. You can have an awesome birthday party at home too. I wish in India we could celebrate birthdays in public parks like they do in the west, but you can do it in your neighbourhood park too. Ask for permission from the concerned authorities and you can have a beautiful and natural location for your party. Just remember to clean after the party! You can check out how we celebrated my daughter’s birthday with a simple princess theme party at home.
Reduce the number of guests
Does your child really need to have 40 or more friends on their birthday, or is it more the case of “she invited me, so I have to invite her”? The rule of the thumb for birthday party guests should be the age of the child + 2 i.e. if your child is 4, then have 6 kids, if she is 6-years-old, have 8 friends and so on. Kids cannot interact or have fun with more than a few children at the party and a crowd will make your child moody, cranky and not the centre of attention on their special day.
Use e-vites or homemade invitations.
Birthday invitations don’t come cheap, and why spend so much if you can easily make them at home. Check out our birthday party Pinterest board for some homemade invitation cards. You can also create and send electronic invites for absolutely free. This works very well if you have a big gathering and you need RSVPs in a timely manner.
Use family as helpers and entertainers
You don’t need to hire entertainers and helpers from outside to help you with your party. Ask your family members and close friends to help you out with the birthday preparations. While the adults can help with the food preparation, the teens and the tweens can help in creating decorations, organizing the party games etc. Don’t forget to give them a small gift as a token of your appreciation.
Before birthday food went the five-star catering way, people used to make party food at home, and it was always delicious fare. Making homemade party food will require planning and time on your part, but will provide healthy, nutritious, tasty, and inexpensive food for your guests. I have already created the menu for Sam’s party and prepared the grocery list accordingly. My mom is preparing one of her signature dishes, and I know guests will be clamouring for more. The rest are simple and quick to assemble dishes. If you have any bulk food coupons like Pizza coupons etc. then this is the time to use them and save money.
Make your own cake
If you are even a little good at baking you can try your hand at making a cake at home. Believe me, it is not very difficult and will make your party even more special. You can make an easy homemade kit kat cake made with a normal sponge cake.
Poonam from Mommygyan has an awesome recipe for cake pops which is easy to replicate and looks adorable.
Create party activities at home
You don’t need a lot of money to create party games and activities at home for your kids’ birthday party. We have listed around 40 birthday party activities and games for kids of all ages on the blog which can be helpful to you. Internet is your friend and you can find a variety of activities based on your budget.
Homemade birthday party decorations
At any birthday party, next to food, people tend to spend the most on decorations. There are all kinds of fancy party supplies available on the market, but if you are looking to create a fun mood and a lively atmosphere, you don’t need to break your bank for that. DIY party decorations like tissue pom-poms or paper buntings or even paper cup fairy lights will up the ante of your party while going easy on your pocket. For “Thank you” favors you can use lollipop covers, as I made for my nieces’ birthday a while back.
Reuse and recycle gift bags and wrapping supplies.
We have a habit of saving all the gift bags and wrapping supplies like gift paper, ribbons, etc. When we have to attend a birthday party, we hardly ever need to buy gift paper to wrap the gifts up. Similarly, you can recycle your gift bags and wrapping supplies for return gifts and party favours. Fabian from Shocksandshoes made goodie bags from newspapers which I think is an excellent idea.