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Planning your child's birthday party on a budget

Here are some tips on how to kid-party on a budget!

birthday partyBirthdays are a great time to celebrate – especially for your little one! Whether it’s their first birthday or 13th, here are some tips on how to give them a great birthday celebration without breaking the bank.

First of all, you’ll need to establish how many people you’re going to invite to the celebration. A small family gathering is a lot less expensive than a party that includes your son’s entire 4th-grade class!

Food, snacks + cake

If you’re worried about spending money on buying food and snacks for your guests (like pizza, chips, soda, etc.) then consider making your own. It’s generally more cost-effective to prepare some dips, sandwiches, hot dogs, and DIY snacks.

While you can order some pretty awesome cakes at grocery store bakeries, you can also purchase pre-made ones for a slightly cheaper price tag. Most stores will still personalize them for you (free of charge), you’ll just have to ask.

Of course, you can always make your cake at home, too! Maybe even invite the kids into the kitchen and make it a fun birthday tradition.

Decorations and Invitations

You can purchase decorations with virtually any character, theme, or color at stores like Target, Walmart, and Party City. However, dollar stores often have cheaper alternatives. Amazon also carries birthday decorations that you can usually order and receive in two days.

If your child really wants those Black Panther or Moana-themed decorations, maybe buy the plates, cups, and birthday balloon at Target, and then buy the plain colored napkins, utensils, and additional balloons at Dollar Tree.  

If you’re wanting to create invitations for your child’s birthday party, you can make virtual “e-vites” for free, or very low cost. There are also platforms like Canva (which has a free account level) where you can make your own using templates or your own creative brain! Places like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart print photos and invitations for x cents per invitation, giving you personalized, professional-grade invitations for $5-10. You can also purchase packs of themed or decorated invitations at party stores, but you’ll have to write in the details yourself so make sure you use your best penmanship! 

Most packs of party invitations cost between $10-20, depending on where you get them and what they include. However, dollar stores and places like Walmart often have cheaper alternatives. 


When it comes to entertaining your party guests, games are going to be your best bet. There are a number of games you can play that require little to no preparation and are very low cost! Childhood 101 has a great list of easy-to-play games you can view here.

Aside from interactive games, having energetic, kid-friendly music the kids can dance to, or puzzles and board games, are more great entertainment options. Not all kids are necessarily outgoing and want (or are able) to be running around, so having entertainment options that are slower-paced makes your party more inclusive for all of your child’s guests.

Make sure to also take advantage of things like Groupon when planning your child’s birthday party. Groupon has discounted tickets for pools, bowling alleys, arcades, roller rinks, parks, and other fun places you could have your child’s party. They also have coupons for things like blow-up slides, characters (like clowns, magicians, or princesses), and movies you rent online. You could have an entire movie theater-themed birthday party right from your living room!

No matter what you choose to do to celebrate your little one – just know you don’t have to be limited by price to put on a great birthday party! Plan, do some research, and maybe save a little the month before, and you’ll be able to give your child the birthday party they’ve always wanted!