Hosting a birthday party on a budget? Just the sound of it seems scary. There are so many little expenses that add up fast, and there’s also the societal pressure of wanting to keep up with the neighborhood. Sometimes you have to watch your money and sometimes you just don’t have the time to make a ton of things from scratch and that’s what this article is for.
It is possible to throw a fabulous kids birthday party on a budget, even with a budget of $20 or less. Read through these ideas and you’ll see it doesn’t take a lot of cash in hand to make a memorable party anthropologie birthday coupon.
1) Party Favors: If your budget is really, really low skip the party favors altogether. Otherwise try this idea out for fun party favors that will only cost $2. No, not $2 each, $2 total! Gather up enough brown paper lunch bags to have one for each guest and buy two bags of bulk wrapped candy like Hershey kisses from the dollar store. Have your child decorate each bag with the guests name and a few fun drawings. Let them get started with this a week in advance doing a few bags each night before bed. Also give your child one sheet of paper for each guest. Have them write a special message to each guest saying why they are their friend. Once each bag is decorated, fill it with a few pieces of each candy and the message your child has created. The paper message will take up a large bulk of the bag and keep it from feeling skimpy.
2) Decorations: Buy one helium balloon from the dollar store and one coloring book from the dollar store.
Use the balloon in the party room. Then cut out four or five pages from the coloring book and have your child decorate them. Hang them on the wall and hang a handwritten sign above them that says “Birthday Art Gallery”. Children don’t really need all the fanfare that us adults put together. One balloon in the party room and a few hand-colored pages is actually enough to give a festive atmosphere.
3) Games and Activities: You can extend the Birthday Art Gallery theme by cutting out one coloring page per guest from the coloring book. Have markers and crayons from around the house gathered up so each guest can color their own page. Then hang each one up on the Birthday Art Gallery wall. The kids will have fun coloring, they’ll enjoy seeing their own “art” up on the wall and it will add to the festive look.
Keep all of the other games as traditional birthday party games that don’t use any supplies (which makes them free!). Examples are duck, duck, goose; the shoe game (hide their shoes around the house and have them find them), I spy, follow the leader, a birthday parade (using pots and pans from around the house), and rhyme time game.
4) Food: There’s no need to provide a whole meal. Do just cake and ice cream. Forgo the fancy paper plates and serve it on your regular dishes. You’ll have to do the dishes later but you will have saved forking over $10 on paper plates and plastic forks and spoons. The cake and ice cream will be your biggest expense. If you do a box cake at home and buy a gallon of store brand ice cream, it will cost around $8 total. If you want to go with a pre-done cake because you don’t have time, you can skip the ice cream, serve only cake, and buy a simple pre-made cake for $10.
5) Presents: If you’re on a really tight budget, birthday presents can seem mythical. Consider this: Buy your child exactly as many gifts as their age. Buy each gift from the dollar store. So if they are 7, they will get 7 dollar store gifts. It will look like a fun presentation and “mounds of stuff” but will only have cost you $7 instead of $100. An alternative would be 7 coupons for free things. If your child loves the park, give them 6 coupons for “1 hour of Saturday swing time” at the local park and one standard gift.
Total cost for this party? $2 for the candy bags, $1 for the helium balloon, $1 for the coloring book which does double duty as decorations and activities, $8 for cake and ice cream, and $7 for gifts (if your child is seven). That’s a $19 birthday party on a budget!
You’ll really be amazed that kids won’t miss all the “extras” you’re used to providing. Have enough games on hand and a piece of cake and they’ll be more than happy! The only spot that will be difficult is with the presents for your child. If you know they will feel jilted because they didn’t get a $30 action figure they wanted, save the “family presents” to be opened for after their friends have left. There is nothing worse than a temper tantrum in front of guests about not getting what they wanted.
They will most likely have many gifts from others that will take away the sting of not getting high dollar gifts from mom and dad. Depending on their age and how “stuff oriented” they are, you may want to have a talk with them about how you had to budget the gifts this year but will save up for one item that they really want. If they are young or not particularly materialistic, they will most likely be perfectly happy with the dollar store gifts!