How to Throw an Inexpensive Kid’s Birthday Party

by Frugal Brian

kid bday

Kids love having a party for their birthday. It makes them feel special on their big day and let’s them celebrate with their friends and family members. But throwing a birthday party can get expensive. Here are some tips to help keep costs down for your child’s next birthday party, while still making sure you throw a great party.

Start by controlling your guest list as much as you possibly can. Logically, the more people you invite, the more expensive the party will be. More guests will mean more food, more favors, and a bigger cake.

If you have the room, hold the party at your own home. Or at the home of a relative who has a large enough home and is willing to let you use their home. Renting a children’s entertainment place or a recreation center can cost you hundreds of dollars for the location alone. If you do not have the space to throw the party in a home, then consider a local pizza parlor, or even a fast food restaurant with a play center; such as McDonalds or Burger King.  If the weather permits, you can also throw a party outdoors at park with a playground or a beach.

For invitations, make them yourself. If you are not crafty, you can buy general invitations and write in the party info yourself. This is cheaper than buying printed photo ones. You can also send e-vites. All you need is the email address of all the parents and it won’t cost you anything.

You do not have to go above and beyond in decorations. Some simple streamers and balloons will do. Keep in mind that decorations with a specific character, logo, or theme will normally cost more then general decorations. Try sticking to a few certain colors of the decorations. Or if you do have a specific theme, you can just buy colored balloons and streamers to match it, rather than buying the balloons and streamers with the character printed on it.  Shop at the dollar store for whatever you will need.

If you are planning to give out party favors for the kids, you can use the same idea as the decorations. Stick to general bags or boxes, as opposed to more expensive printed ones. Fill the bags or boxes with little toys or goodies such as bubbles, temporary tattoos, stickers, and fruit snacks that can be purchased at the dollar store.

For entertainment, see if you have any friends or family members who can help out. They can put on a silly act, do face painting, put on a puppet show, juggle, or hula hoop. You can also check with high schools or community colleges to see if they have any drama clubs that would not mind performing at the party. If you just need a simple activity, you can set up an arts and crafts table. You can do print outs that match the theme and scatter crayons or markers on the table. Other ideas are giving each child a plastic tumbler and letting then decorate their own cups with paint pens, or decorating flower pots if you have a garden theme. You can also provide soil and seeds and each child can take home their own plant. 

When it comes to feeding your guests, the cheapest way is to make everything yourself. If you time your party for mid-afternoon, you can get away serving a bunch of snack items as opposed to a big meal. If you do want to serve lunch, easy kid party meals are deli sandwiches, purchase the deli meat and bread separately and assemble them yourself; or hot dogs, set up a condiment table and let guests add what they want. If you want to purchase the food, whole pizzas are inexpensive at Sam’s Club or Costco. For drinks, look for 2 liter sodas and juices and pour them yourself instead of purchasing single serving cans and bottles.

Bake the cake yourself as well. Make a simple square cake and decorate it. Or you can make cupcakes and arrange them however you would like.
If you plan to send thank you cards, be sure to get the general ones, just as you do with the invitations. You will have to write them all out, but handwritten are more personal and a nice touch. Plus you save money not having to have them all printed out.
Throwing your child a party for their birthday does not have to be extremely costly. If you find a free or inexpensive location, shop smart for invitations, decorations, and favors, and make the food yourself, you can definitely throw a great birthday party for very little money.

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