Three Tips for Throwing a Birthday Bash Without Breaking the Bank

Year after year, kids’ parties seem to get more and more extravagant, don’t they?

They’re getting more and more expensive, too.

Oftentimes, throwing a birthday party for your child can feel like a case of keeping up with the neighbors. That is, parents fight to “outdo” each other for the most lavish, expensive parties possible.


Newsflash: you don’t have to drop hundreds of dollars on an awesome party that your child will never forget.

Forego the arcades and skating rinks and opt for an affordable birthday bash instead. With proper planning and a personal touch, you can make memories during your next party instead of putting yourself in the red.

So, where do you start planning a party that doesn’t feel tied to a budget?

Figure Out What Matters the Most

If you want something, sometimes it’s best to simply ask for it.

Likewise, be straightforward with your child and ask for their input on the party before planning something elaborate and expensive. By allowing your child to set their own expectations, you can focus on what matters most to them.

For example, you could start by figuring out what kind of theme your child wants for their party and work around that. Something as simple as “zombies” or “princesses” can allow you to tap into your creativity and come up with something truly unique. Having a theme can outshine the “flashier” aspects of parties such as a destination or pricey gifts.

Given the importance of your party’s theme, decorations are perhaps the one area where you don’t want to skimp. Once you’ve established a theme as a starting point for planning, you can find decorations through sites such as Party Swizzle to lay the foundation for your party. Eye-popping decorations can help set the mood regardless of what you choose to do for your child.

Harness the Power of Free (or Almost Free)

Destination birthday parties may be all the rage, but considering the cost of food and entertainment alone, a DIY approach is probably more prudent for parents on a budget. Brainstorm the following free (or almost free) options when it comes to your party such as:

  • Having your party in the comfort of your home or at a public park
  • Allowing friends and family, including parents of other children attending the party, to provide entertainment: perhaps you have a friend with a portable pool or know someone who’s an amateur performer
  • Emphasize the outdoors, if possible: items such as kick balls, water balloons and squirt guns cost next to nothing at your local Dollar Store

You may surprised at just how much kids can entertain themselves once you’ve got them all in the same place. Likewise, something such as a homemade water slide can be just as fun as the “real thing.” Making the most of a discount party comes down to your creativity: what can you do to entertain your crowd on the cheap?

Cook in Bulk

When there are dozens of mouths to feed, your food budget can climb quickly.

Therefore, consider what you can cook at home or purchase in bulk as a sort of pre-party project for yourself and your family. Warehouse clubs such as Costco sell discounted snacks and cakes en masse. You could also bake your own goodies rather than splashing cash on pre-wrapped treats. Again, don’t be afraid to let you creativity shine (think: a pink cake for a princess party or a “brain” cake for a zombie-themed affair).

Don’t break the bank for your next birthday bash: nobody’s expecting you to. Instead, focus on a theme that your kids will go crazy for and emphasize fun and games versus dollars and cents