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How can I Plan a Birthday Party on a Budget?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 16, 2024
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You want to plan a birthday party on a budget, but you don't want to be cheap. Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with setting a budget and then spending only the amount you decided on. In fact, it's one of the best ways to keep from going overboard. Using less expensive items and ideas doesn't mean it will be less of a party. The best parties are those that are well planned, not those that cost the most.

The first tip is don't try to outdo your friends' birthday parties, and don't try to outdo yourself each year. When it becomes a competition, you will end up spending more than you should. You can plan a birthday party on a budget and still give a great party. It just takes a little more effort. There are other tips to keep in mind when you plan a party, such as persuading your friends to help with entertainment.

If one of your friends can draw well, ask him or her to do face painting at the party. If someone you know can do a few magic tricks, perhaps he or she will be willing to perform. Since the plan is to keep the birthday party within a limited budget, try bartering with your friends. Offer to baby-sit sometime or agree to help out when it comes time for your friend to give a party.

Another good tip is to limit the amount you will have to spend on food. This is not difficult do accomplish if you plan carefully. Not only can you take advantage of sale items, but you can also choose to have your party at a time of day when people have already eaten. Shortly after lunchtime is usually a good choice, since you can simply provide snacks instead of heartier foods. It also helps if you make most of the food yourself, including the cake.

Whenever you plan a birthday party on a budget, it can become difficult to incorporate themed items. Since there are so many items available for any given theme, you can spend a lot of money in no time purchasing all of them. But, don't give up on that theme party yet. Rather than choosing all themed items, choose a few then alternate with color-coordinated items that are less expensive. For example, you can use themed tableware but use an inexpensive, solid colored tablecloth instead of a themed one.

To create a good mix, and keep a birthday party on budget, use your imagination and make substitutions where possible. The most important part is to have fun. You can still give a great party that everyone will enjoy, even with a budget.

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Discussion Comments
By anon172379 — On May 03, 2011

I think these are very helpful tips for anyone planning a child's party. it helps know how to keep your cost down and your fun up. it has helped me greatly!

By anon114694 — On Sep 29, 2010

Renting a pavilion at a local park with playground is an inexpensive way to gather and celebrate without breaking the bank! The key here is to rent the pavilion. I've seen so many local park parties ruined by rain or others who show up right before you and stake their claim to the pavilion!

By anon104670 — On Aug 17, 2010

We just had my daughter's fourth birthday at Fairies and Dragons and she absolutely loved it, so did we and so did all of the girls who came and their parents.

By Planch — On Jul 26, 2010

Another good tip for planning a budget birthday party is to remember to use what you already have.

Whether it's for a kid or an adult, chances are you've got one tablecloth, one pack of streamers, or one good outfit that you can use for the party, which can help you stay within budget.

By Charlie89 — On Jul 26, 2010

@EarlyForest -- A lot of what the article says is applicable.

I think a lot of times parents have trouble remembering that they don't have to keep up with the other parents though.

It's your child's party, not a competition.

Likewise, if there's a particular theme your kid is set on (my son is a Buzz Lightyear fanatic, so I know how it is) then try to get maybe one themed item, and just use complimentary colors and items for the rest of the decorations.

Finally, if you feel up to it, making a cake at home can be a lot cheaper than buying a store-bought one, so consider little expenses like that.

By EarlyForest — On Jul 26, 2010

What are some good suggestions for planning a kid's birthday party on a budget?

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