My children’s birthday parties are some of the best memories I’ve ever had with them, and despite all the stress of balancing my kids and all of their friends—it’s worth it. I make sure to always spend a lot of time with them so that I know they’re having their dream party (so long as it fits within my budget, of course). Budgeting for parties, however, can be one the most strenuous things (especially when they’re near the holidays). So here are five tips to help you give your child a memorable, fun birthday and give your budget a grateful sigh of relief! Want more crafty ideas? Check out our Pinterest page here.

1. Have your child make the invitation.

Having your child create a custom invitation, in either e-format or in print, will make sure to keep the tone of the party all about your child. Plus it’ll save you a bundle on postage!

  • What to do: Sit down with your child and talk about the birthday theme, then (depending on their age) you can work together to create a custom birthday invitation. You can find free card layouts on Pinterest and customize cards on sites like Evite.
  • How you save: If you have 30 guests on the list, sending invites via email will help you save. To mail the invitations could mean spending anywhere from $20-$30 once you add up the costs of postage, printing and envelopes.

2. Keep the menu simple and kid-friendly.

While there are many youngsters out there who enjoy finer foods—for the most part kids still enjoy "fun" food that is fast, simple, and can be eaten on the go.

  • What to do: Have your child help plan the menu. You can give them a list of choices for each course. For instance, main course (hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza), dessert (cake, ice cream, candy), drinks (soda, orange juice, water) and so forth. There are also plenty of kid-friendly recipes online. My kids love these Ham and Cheese Pinwheels.

  • How you save: You can buy these items in bulk and/or on sale. Then find willing parents or grandparents to help man the stove/grill/drink station.

3. Make the favors and the festivities work together.

Rather than spending extra on party favors, why not plan a craft that sends each child home with a favor of their own making? Here are a few ideas!

  • Cupcake decorating: My sister-in-law did "decorate your own cupcakes—one for now and one for later.” It was a huge hit! Just bake a bunch of cupcakes like these the night before and let the kiddos decorate during the party!

  • Make your own hula hoop: Get some poly tubing, colored duct tape (it comes in every color now!) and you are well on your way to custom-made hula hoops. Learn more here.
  • Rubber band bracelets: My nephews love making bracelets even more than my niece does—it occupies them for hours on long car rides. There are some patterns you can do without a loom (which makes it cheaper). Just order bands and you’re done! Check out some of these patterns here.
  • Glitter Slime: If the kids are old enough to handle this one, it works as a great party favor and a fun task that girls and boys both enjoy.

  • Puffy paint: Making your own puffy paint can be an inexpensive, fun way to keep the kids busy (plus have loads of fun), and they get to take home their own picture.

4. Make your own party decorations!

Instead of spending a ton of money on pre-made decorations, make your own original trims and garnishes! They’ll be more original, and you can always view it as a way to put the kids to work too!

  • Dixie cup lights: These are cute little decorations that you can string around the house or out in the backyard. The paper that you pick for these can make them as personalized as you’d like for your kid’s birthday party.

  • Party Banner: Banners are so easy to make—so why buy one? If your kids are old enough (or you have some older ones to help you) this can be a quick and cute DIY project that you can make with items around your own house. This particular banner has footballs, but you can substitute anything, or just make a plain (but colorful!) flag with you kid’s name on it.

5. Plan for an inexpensive take-home favor.

Most kids love party favors—even if they’re already walking out with a craft in-hand. So keep it simple, but have a couple of options in case you need to accommodate a child with a food allergy or other issue.

  • “Trick or Treat” as they leave: Treat party favors like they’re “trick or treating”—put a bunch of super-cheap but fun goodies into a bin by the door and let each child fill a small bag with whatever they like as they leave. Bags and treats can all be found at a local dollar store.
  • Pom Pom Shooters: These can be a great addition to any bag of party favors. They’re safe and fun!

  • Butteryfly snacks: These are great party favors that are adorable, and my children loved making them!

  • Fortune Cookie Favors: These are inexpensive, cute party favors that older children (and parents) will enjoy.


Pint-Sized Party Time: 5 Tips to Rock Your Child's Birthday on a Budget