How to Throw a Kids birthday party without over spending

by Emma W.R. on July 13, 2016

Your child’s birthday party doesn’t have to mean a missed mortgage payment. Here are some ideas for how to throw a kids birthday party without overspending.

When planning the menu, foods that go further such as pasta, hot dogs or pizza (ask them to cut it into 16 slices) are great budget-friendly ways to feed a crowd.

Even better is a ‘cake-only’ party. Be sure it’s clear on the invitation that there won’t be food (‘come for cake and fun!’) and set the start time after typical meal times.

And while we’re talking cake, consider making your own! Bakery cakes are nice but can take a real bite out of your budget. A favorite recipe or box mix will cost you a fraction of the price, and you might be surprised at all the flavor options (Seriously – check out the baking aisle!)

Cupcakes are another fun, low-cost dessert option – you won’t even need cake plates or forks!
Speaking of paper goods, consider mixing and matching the more expensive themed/licensed party goods with a coordinating color, using the ‘good stuff’ in high profile places such as the tablecloth and dessert plates.

 Make your own decorations using your home printer. The internet is full of creative ideas and you’ll be amazed at what you can make yourself, from toothpick cake decorations to personalized placemats to banners, wall decorations – you name it!

As for entertainment, kids still love to play the classics and games like Musical Chairs, Telephone and Hot Potato get a crowd giggling without breaking the bank. Try printing your own ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ and don’t be afraid to get creative and make something to match the theme. We ‘Pinned the Golden Snitch in Harry’s Hand’ for our Harry Potter themed birthday a few years ago – the kids loved it!

 Instead of giving goodie bags, consider having the kids make a craft they can take home. Crafts are a fun way to pass the time, and making a treasured keepsake is a wonderful take-away that beats a bag full of sugar. 

And finally, be sure to do a little research before you decide you can’t have the party out. You might be surprised to find local places that take care of everything for less than it would cost to do it all yourself, and sometimes that peace of mind is priceless.



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Shayna March 24, 2017 at 11:24 am

If the weather will be warm, plan a Dodge Ball Party and serve pizza and cake! Simple and fun!


Ida February 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Love the idea of saying it’s a “cake only” party. That really takes away a lot of my stress! Gotta do some research and see what’s included in some local kid-hot-spots!


Shante January 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

Too often the parties become about the parents and that is where it gets expensive. I agree with Sheryl! I’ve been to so many parties where all the parents are invited to stay and there are food and drinks for them – I thought this was for six year olds!??!


Robert Guilliman October 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Depending on the season outdoor activities can be real winners for tiring out the crowd, great article!


Mina September 29, 2016 at 11:04 am

I always loved simple birthday parties as a kid. We always had either traditional cake or ice cream cake and pizza. It was always great. I had a good time with friends coming over and we’d just give each other makeovers, dance around to some fun music, watch movies, or play video games. The time I got to spend with my friends and family were always the most memorable, especially when you have old photos and home videos to look back on.


Janet Martin September 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

When I had a birthday party for my daughter when she was younger, I had a friend come over and do a makeup party. I just bought some different eye shadows and lipsticks and the girls just loved it. I served pizza and cake and everyone was happy.


Antionette Reed September 27, 2016 at 10:05 am

I remember when I had parties for my children when they were younger. I always kept it simple with pizza. I would put out some chips and as long as they were kept busy, the food was never a big deal. I would buy them a craft to make and take home and we would finish off with the cake, and who doesn’t love that.


Louisa September 1, 2016 at 9:42 am

I have twins so I am especially cautious about over-spending on parties because it is double! Luckily my kids are still at the age where the simplest things will entertain them. Surely it will get trickier as they get older!


Hayley July 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Just plan activities where the kids are active so they go right to sleep when they get home! The parents will appreciate it. 😉


Rose July 25, 2016 at 1:09 pm

If you can just get the kids outdoors that will save a fortune. You don’t even need many activities because they entertain themselves so well.


Lisa July 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm

What happened to good old slumber parties or pool parties??


Sheryl July 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm

You know, sometimes the parties become more for and about the parents! The kids don’t need much.


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