Planning a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget

My son’s birthday is coming up and I am in the process of planning his party. I find myself in new territory because to date the guest list consisted mainly of family members. Now that he is a bit older, he has his own ideas about who should be invited.

With the guest list growing, it seems so is the budget. But does it have to? Well, somewhat I suppose, but there are ways to keep costs down.

Invitations: Forget traditional paper invitations and take advantage of the multitude of online evites to save money, time and paper. A free site I use is

Plus, the convenience of receiving an invitation straight to an inbox will not be lost on your guests. I know I certainly appreciate the ease of finding the invitation as a reference closer to the date. I was never any good at tracking paper.

Location: Consider hosting the party at your house instead of renting an off-site location. Weather permitting, consider inviting everyone to a public park. You can set up a few tables to serve cake and the kids can run around free. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about your breakables and it’s free! If your child’s birthday is in the middle of winter and you would rather die than host at home, look into having the party at an indoor playgym. I know the Mini Port at Place d’Orleans hosts birthday parties for a reasonable cost ($100 for 2 hours).

Time & Food: Celebrate with friends during the hours of 1pm and 5pm. This way you have time to get ready for the event in the morning and you do not have to serve a full meal. Instead you can offer mini sandwiches, veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, etc. All of which can be prepared at home and without extravagant costs.

As for the cake, making it yourself can be fun, especially if you take on the project with your partner or a friend – and a glass of wine doesn’t hurt the process.

Keep it generic: You may not realize but every time you buy something with a name brand, you pay more. Hopefully you do realize it, but many don’t. Instead of buying Dora the Explorer plates or Transformers balloons, grab the generic brand of these. You will save money and your child will appreciate the decorations just as well.

Entertainment: You don’t need to hire a professional clown or princess to ensure your child has fun on his or her special day. There are tons of games and activities that can keep the little ones busy between snacks and cake. Everyone will have fun participating in a three-legged race or apple relay. You can also organize a crafting activity or break out a piñata. For video-instructions on making your own piñata, click here.

Loot bags: Instead of giving away costly gifts, thank your guests for coming with a package of your homemade cookies. Beware of any allergies before handing out food.

There you have it. Just a few simple principles and tips to keep your birthday party fun while respecting a budget.


This entry was posted in Affordable Activities, Budget, Parties, Saving and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Planning a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget

  1. jen lloyd says:

    I am currently in the same boat with my 3 and 5 year olds, Dollar store was great and since its fall, we made our own candy apples for loot bags!

  2. Kristen says:

    Great ideas! I didn’t even make a cake – I made cupcakes and bought candy at the bulk store and had the kids decorate their own and then eat them. They also took home a dollar store frame that they decorated as a loot bag and I emailed a picture from the party to put in it.

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