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Birthday Parties on a Budget

Laura Standefer, Senior Birthday Correspondent

May 20, 2019 

Over the past few years, I’ve learned that spending tons of money on a birthday party does not guarantee that it is going to be great. The most important part of a birthday isn’t the quality of the decor, the price of the venue, or the custom-made favors; it’s about having fun and surrounding yourself with people you enjoy! Here are a few tips to help you have an incredible birthday party without breaking the bank. 

Electronic Invitations Instead of Paper

It’s 2019! While paper invitations can be cute, electronic invitations are cute and FREE in many cases. Plus, several companies like Evite have features that will allow invitees to RSVP and send messages to the host. I personally love using their app to help keep track of upcoming events! 

Homemade or Grocery Store Cakes

I love the fact that simple and minimalistic decor is in style. This makes it so easy to take a simple homemade or grocery store cake and make it into something fabulous. Just add toys or cake toppers, and voila!

Throw Parties During Non-Meal Times

If you throw a birthday party at 10am or 2pm, kids mostly likely will have already eaten breakfast or lunch so there’s no need to splurge on a meal for everyone. This way light snacks and birthday dessert will often keep everyone happy until the end of the party.

Homemade Snacks

I went to a mermaid themed birthday last week. Several types of snacks were served but star(fish) shaped sandwiches were the kids’ favorite. They were super easy and affordable to make. Pinterest also has more cute and cheap ideas that will surely be a hit at your party.

Old school Activities

If you decide to save money by having a party at your home or at a park, I can almost guarantee that your guests will love timeless activities like piñata smashing or playing games like musical chairs and water balloon toss. You can even customize the activities with your parties theme, like pin the tail on the mermaid, for example! For my son’s second birthday, we simply went to the park and brought a cheap bubble machine. The kids went wild!

The most important part of a birthday isn’t the quality of the decor, the price of the venue, or the custom-made favors; it’s about having fun and surrounding yourself with people you enjoy!”
Join Facebook Party Swap Groups

Search for party swap groups in your area on Facebook! Many people out there have leftover party supplies that they’re looking to get rid of. Therefore, they will most likely sell entire bundle of decorations and supplies for a fraction of the cost. I was lucky enough to get an entire set of fiesta-themed decor and supplies from one of these groups for under $20!

Play Packs for Favors

Party favors can be relatively cheap, but can add up quickly. To make sure that I don’t go over budget, I hand out $1 Play Packs, which are available in tons of characters and themes. I didn’t think they would have ones so specific for my child’s Paw Patrol Halloween birthday party, but see picture below! Each pack includes crayons, stickers, and coloring pages. We love collecting these and taking them with us to restaurants and on trips.


Dollar Stores

I feel like dollar stars get a bad rap. But why pay more than a dollar for balloons and streamers that you’ll use for just a few hours? Plus, they usually have themes kids love like Mickey Mouse and Emojis. If they don’t have your kid’s preferred theme, use Pinterest to get creative with their generic or solid color supplies. Kids typically care less about where the supplies came from and more about having fun!

Check Venues for Specials and Discounts

Last year, one of the popular birthday party venues for kids was having a 50% off sale for parties booked during the week. Since my son is still a preschooler, I booked his party on a Tuesday and we were able to invite dozens of his friends for a very low price. They took care of all of the hosting duties and cleaned up afterwards. It was an amazing deal.

For more information on birthday party venues and rentals in Austin, check out our birthday guide here!