Birthday parties can be expensive and it’s hard to keep them on a strict budget. But it is doable. Here are some great tips from the readers on how to save money on a birthday party:
Have a miniature party. Reader Holly says “I made tiny invites on the computer, we had all mini food – you can get mini taco appetizers, mini quiche, mini hot dogs, mini m&m’s, even make mini pb & j sandwiches if you like! I made mini cupcakes. It was fun to come up with things that were tiny and the kids loved that everything was their size!
Have a garden party. Reader Holly says “This past summer we had a “garden party” where all the kids came prepared to plant. They each got to pot a flower to take home as their party favor. They had a great time!”
Reader Nicole says “Have a puppy party…then you could give out hand made puppy ears as the favors, with dog bone shaped cookies. You could paint their faces with little whiskers and a nose. The ears are really easy to make. Just get a package of head bands, cut some ears out of felt and hot glue them on.”
Reader Sandi says “Have a Disney World party. You could do a hidden Mickey treasure hunt for the kids, make mickey ears headbands out of construction paper, and mickey shaped finger foods. You could even make a Mickey cake pretty easy. The Dollar tree has red and black party supples for $1, with a little yellow thrown in of course. You could also print out a photo of each of his favorite Magic Kingdom rides and make some sort of station for each of them. Like Small World make paper flower decorations, download the song, and maybe decorate gingerbread kid cookies. The Peter Pan section each kid could be either a pirate or tinkerbell. Again the Dollar Tree has lots of Disney related things, from puzzles to coloring books.”
Reader Robin says “When my son was turning 3 or 4 we did a race car party. We got some paper boxes and let each child decorate their own race car. You cut the bottom of the box out and tie ribbons to put over their shoulders to help them stay on. We bought helmets from the party store and then had our own race around the yard. It was lots of fun! The best was Daddy in a paper box with a helmet. HA!”
Reader Carra gives her kids their party money. “After spending $300 for a gymnastics party a few years ago, I decided enough is enough. Now I give my kids $100 for their birthday party. If they choose to invite friends and have a party, the cost comes out of that $100. If they choose to just have a family party, they get to keep the $100. My kids are 13 and (about to turn) 10. We’ve been doing this for several years now and they always choose a party. They usually have 3-4 friends sleep over. They use the money for pizza and party favors. I offer to bake the cake but they have to pay for ingredients. It’s amazing how frugal kids can get when they’re spending “their own” money. They always have some money left over. One year, my spendthrift son had over $50 left over! Anyway, it has worked wonderfully, saved me quite a bit of money, and has taught my kids a great lesson on the value of money.”
Reader Courtney suggests, “If your child has a birthday during a warmer month, look into using a park area. Most times they are free and offer free entertainment.”
Reader Paula says, “For my son’s 7th birthday, we had a pirate party. I was able to get a lot of pirate stuff from the 99 cents store and Dollar Tree. I even found plastic coins and mini treasure boxes that I used for a treasure hunt. For the prize, I used battleship that I got a couple of of weeks ago with coupons.”
Reader Alexis says, “For my then 5 year old, we did a Princess Party. We had 2 aunts come, one did hair (curling and a little color hairspray) another did make up (individual mini lip gloss and mini nail polish doubled as party favors). Then the kids used our assorted dress up clothes / shoes and played. We set up a tea party table (just a tablecloth and cute plastic cups) for the princesses and took pics. The girls strung beads to make their own necklaces and bracelets for the rest of the party favor.
Order a plain cake and place your own figurines on top.
Reader Jessica shares her birthday cake recipe:
16 ice cream sandwiches
1 container whipped topping(or you can use the real stuff)
1 candy bar grated or any favorite candy
Layer bottom of 9×13 baking dish with half of sandwiches. cut sandwiches as necessary. next add half of whipped topping evenly on sandwiches. add remaining sandwiches and then again with the whipped topping. decorate with candy or to whatever theme you would like.
Reader Tiffany made her son a dirt cake. “The cake idea we did for our BOY, a simple 1 layer chocolate cake, chocolate frosting on top, crumbled Oreos and gummy worms! A dirt cake! ALL the kids loved the cake and it was the cheapest thing ever!”
Pick up a bunch of bouncy balls (the medium sized ones). Let the kids play games with them and then take the balls home as party favors.
You can use Dum-Dum suckers or Blow Pops as balloon weights that will also double as party favors. Each child can have a balloon and sucker when they go home!
Reader Leann says “For party favors, I got a 6 pack of bubbles at the $ store, along with some Cars stickers, some little race cars and some bubble gum. I used brown lunch bags that I stamped with race cars and checkered border and tied with red ribbon. ”
Reader Carla says “For party favors I had paper bag lunch bags I closed them (fold the tab down once) each and hole punched them and with yarn I already had I made like a bow to close. One the front of the bad I placed another Disney Character larger and we colored those too. They had different Disney Character and the children got to pick which one they wanted. They did not have anything in them since we bought a Mickey pinata the candy they got from the pinata went into the bags for them to take home. ”
Buy your party supplies at the Dollar Tree. Reader Christie says “I always use the Dollar Tree for decorations and favors. They have colored plates and napkins, streamers, balloons and great things like play doh and books for favors.”
Buy 1 package of themed decorations and mix it with solid matching colors. Such as buying a package of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse plates and mixing with solid red plates of the same size.
Decorations do not have to be elaborate. And the Dollar Tree is a good place for inexpensive cups, plates, napkins, balloons, streamers, and other decorations.
You can also use what you already have at home for decorations. Use your daughter’s princess dolls or your son’s trucks as table decorations that fit in with your theme.
Have a candy buffet. Reader Rachel says “We had a candy buffet at our party. I used sales and coupons to get most of it free! Everyone loved it. Plus I had little bags so they could take alot of the candy home. So then I didn’t buy any party favors since they had a ton of candy to take home.”
Reader Leann says “I really like to get pizza from Sam’s or Costco. They are reasonable and I personally think they taste better then some chain pizza restaurants. That and a simple veggie tray makes a nice lunch.”
Reader Carla says “We made our porch into the birthday area since it was in July. We hid numbers and color shapes around the party area and on the walls. One of the games was to find a specific number, color shape, etc. The one that scored the most the fastest won.”
A table with some coloring sheets and crayons is often all you need to entertain the kids. Printable coloring sheets are found at most children’s website. Look up your child’s favorite show and you should be able to find coloring sheets to fit your theme.
Allowing each child to decorate their own cupcake or cookie is another activity!
Find out all the ways to save with our helpful Savings Bingo!