7 Ways to Save Money on Children’s Birthday Parties

For my daughter's 1st birthday, my husband and I decided that we were going to make it all about her and so we threw a birthday party at home with just the family. After all, was she really going to remember any of it? We bought the cake and the gifts and she had a fabulous time. For her 2nd we went all out, picked a venue and spent an astronomical sum making sure that not only she, but the invitees were happy. Does she remember? You bet she doesn't! Children’s birthdays have become huge events these days. With everything from characters, equipment rentals, petting zoo’s, presents, fully catered affairs, and all sorts of excess. Today I want to share how you can scale back and save money with these 7 tips,  and still throw your child a fun and amazing birthday party.


Use what you have on hand: Whenever we have a theme party-dinosaurs, fairies, bugs, camping, etc., I hit my own stock first and by stock I mean I am literally pulling decorations off the kids' walls, stuffed toys off the bed, etc., I will look into what we have around the house to set the scene. Chances are good that if your child has picked a theme they already have lots of toys or items on hand. Pokemon party? Use their double cards ( you can’t touch their precious cards in the binder, trust me!) to decorate tables or hang from the ceiling. Plush characters can be set onto tables to set a mood as well.

Make cake/food yourself: You may want to give your child the most memorable fancy beautiful cake and the most delicious gourmet food but you know what? They are going to remember the hot dogs and handmade decorations just as much or perhaps more than the chafing dish full of shrimp scampi and perfectly tied bows. So grab a couple boxes of cake mix, some frosting, and create something with your hands and all your love- your kid won’t care if it’s slightly lopsided.


Borrow what you can: Instead of spending money renting or buying tables, chairs, tents, punch bowls umbrellas for shade, or other items borrow from family and friends. Most people are more than happy to share their excess that is likely wasting away in a garage or shed.

The Dollar Store: Even if you have a theme party there is no reason to spend extra money on character plates and other disposable items. Grab plates, plastic ware, tablecloths and balloons in a solid color that match your theme from your local dollar store and save yourself a ton of money.

Stay at home: Opt for a home party instead of renting a location, or shelling out big bucks at a kids game and a pizza place.  Indoors or out your home is the perfect place to celebrate your child.  You can also look for other free locations like shelters at your local parks.

Schedule party between meals: If you want to avoid feeding a whole big group of people an entire meal, snacks, and cake, then schedules it between lunch and dinner, or after dinner. Offer something like an ice cream sundae bar or light snacks (make it clear, most people expect food) but if they know no one should be  be too disappointed without a big spread.

Skip the goodie bags: I can’t tell you how many cheap toys from goody bags I have thrown away in my stint as a mom. Both leftovers from our parties and ones they have brought home. While it is nice to give the guests a little parting gift it is not necessary to spend so much when it usually ends up on the floor of the car before they get home. Parents especially might appreciate something more personal like a photo of their child-instant cameras, a quick printing, or emailed.

Let's discuss: In what ways do you save on your own children's birthday parties?