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After planning a first birthday party on a budget (and subsequently a second on an even tighter budget), I think we’re on track to keep these birthday parties as budget friendly as possible for as long as we can. One thing that will change is when Squeaker is in school and the whole concept of class parties or having more friends come into play. But, even then, I hope to stick with budget friendly birthday party ideas. I’m already thinking of possible themes for Squeaker’s third birthday and maybe she’ll get more involved in the planning process when the time comes around. In the meantime, we could also start saving for her birthday or at the very least, start planning about three months ahead.

Children's birthday parties can be pricey and the costs may add up quickly. Here are some budget friendly birthday party ideas to help keep your party in check.

7 Tips for a Budget Friendly Birthday Party

Some parents pull out all the stops for their kids’ birthday parties, spending tons of money on decorations and gifts, hiring entertainment, and inviting every child in the vicinity. But all that’s not necessary to properly celebrate a little one’s birthday. In fact, if you go overboard, your child is more likely to be overwhelmed by it all than to have a good time. Here are some tips for throwing a fun party at very little expense.

* Limit the number of guests that you invite. A good rule of thumb is to invite one guest for each year of the child’s age. The fewer guests you have, the less chaos there will be, and the less you will have to spend on food and favors.

* Have the party at home. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve limited the number of guests, and it will save you quite a bit of money as opposed to reserving a park shelter, skating rink or section of a restaurant. Plus you won’t have to be rushed while decorating or worry about forgetting to bring something important.

* Make your own invitations. You can print them out on the computer or use scrapbooking supplies that you have on hand.

* Look to friends and family to provide entertainment. You could have your cousin dress up as a clown, get your brother to do a magic act, or ask a friend to bring his collection of exotic pets. They may give you a lower price than you would pay elsewhere, let you barter some of your skills in exchange for the service, or even offer to do it absolutely free.

* Bake the cake yourself instead of buying one from a store or bakery. You can find everything you need to decorate it at most grocery and discount stores. If you’re unsure of your cake decorating skills, buy some candy letters and decorations to go on it.

* Skip the decorated plates, cups and napkins, and just buy plain ones instead. The themed ones are nice to look at, but they will just end up in the trash. Nobody will have a bad time just because you didn’t buy those expensive Barbie plates!

* Play inexpensive games. Musical chairs is a popular party game, and you probably have everything you need to play it at home. You could also make your own pin the tail on the donkey game by drawing a tailless donkey on a piece of poster board, cutting out a tail, and putting a piece of two-sided tape on the back of it.

There’s no need to go on a spending spree for your child’s birthday party. Even if you don’t buy the fanciest decorations or spring for expensive entertainment, you can put together a party that everyone will enjoy.

In need of more ideas? Consider these frugal birthday party themes:

4 Simple Budget Friendly Birthday Party Themes

Theme Parties

These ‘character’ or ‘theme’ parties can be the most expensive of all. To cut corners, mix and match accessories and decorations with plain things such as tablecloths, napkins, plates, and such. If you are choosing to go with a theme such as a Disney movie or TV show character, find printable characters online or draw freehand if you can and use them for hanging banners, or even the design for a homemade cake.

Old Fashioned Picnic Parties

Taking all the kids for a big picnic in a park can be a great way to save money. The kids can use the playground and a simple $3 pack of balloons filled with water can provide a whole day of fun playing water balloon games. You can even bring a couple cartons of eggs at only a few dollars a carton, along with spoons, and play games like racing to the finish line without dropping the egg. If the situation is right, you may also like to get an organized game going, like softball, volleyball, or soccer.

Camping Themed

An outdoor party where you camp-out in the backyard, or even just cook-out in the backyard, can be a wonderful time. Roast marshmallows and hotdogs, and make S’mores on a barbeque or fire pit. Set up tents for sleepovers, or just gather around the campfire to tell spooky ghost stories until it’s time to go home. The cost is minimal for a big bag or two of marshmallows, some hot dogs and buns, a box of graham crackers, and some bars of chocolate. For goodie bags, little flashlights and glow in the dark stickers are a great way to have fun outdoors.

Wild Winter Parties

If your birthday party falls during the winter months, and you have snow to play in, this could provide you with a built-in party. Rent or borrow sleds and you’re on your way to a great party. You will want cold-weather food including thermoses filled with hot chocolate and a supply of marshmallows to add in each mug. Don’t forget the blankets and lawn chairs for whoever wants to sit and watch the fun. Bring a big pot of chili and a box of cupcakes, and you have an easy party with easy-to-serve food, and very little money involved.

When the weather is nice it’s always fun to have an outdoor party. Not only does it keep the kids out of the house and from making a mess, but it also gives you more room. Check out these five kid-themed outdoor parties and give them a try this summer. And don’t worry if your child’s birthday doesn’t fall during warmer months. Make it a back to school bash/send off to summer party instead of a birthday party. These are some really great outdoor party ideas, though.

Five Outdoor Kids’ Parties

1. Pool party. Of course this is an obvious one and it’s great if you have a pool. But if you don’t, that’s okay too. A sprinkler party and Slip ‘n Slide can be just as great. Or if you have a town pool you can rent out, then go for it. That might be even better because then you can get some lifeguards. However, if doing that is out of your price range, then fear not – you can still have a great wet ‘n fun party. Water guns, water balloons, and water relay races will make for plenty of fun times.

2. Beach party. Bring the beach to your back yard. If you have a sand box or can get one, that’s great. Some sand toys and a little sandcastle-building competition will be great fun. Beach balls will add to the fun of this party.

3. Garden party. Have all of your guests plant some seeds in a cup which they can bring home and grow for their own garden. Make some heavenly dirt out of chocolate pudding, Oreo cookie crumbs, and cool whip. Add some gummy worms for effect. Butterfly wings to dance in the garden like a butterfly will be a fun touch.

4. Nerf party. Do you have a bunch of Nerf guns in your house? Well, even if you don’t you can probably ask your guests to bring their own Nerf and have a blast running around the yard shooting darts at each other. Or better yet, instead of having them shoot each other (because even those Nerf darts can hurt), set up an obstacle course and have them run through it shooting at targets.

5. Kite party. Invite your guests to come over with their favorite kite (or provide one for everyone that they can bring home with them) and let everyone fly their kite. This is best done in an open field without a lot of trees and of course on a windy day which can be hard to predict. But even still trying to launch your kite and see who can get it the highest is a lot of fun. For food and decorations think diamond shapes and bright colors. Graham crackers decorated like kites will make for a fun treat for your party guests.

Those are just a few budget friendly birthday party ideas to keep in mind when you’re planning your child’s party. What ideas or tips do you have?

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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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