Throw A Budget Birthday Party

It seems like children's birthday parties are rivaling weddings when it comes to cost. But when it comes down to it, most children are pretty happy with simple birthday celebrations. Here are five ideas for keeping birthday party costs cheap -- without sacrificing fun.

cheap kids birthday party ideas

Consider the time of day

When it comes to throwing any type of party, children's birthday parties included, the time of day can make or break your budget because of one simple little factor: food. If you have your child's party around lunch or dinner time, it's assumed that you'll also be providing a meal. Instead, try having your party just after lunch -- around 2 p.m. You can easily get away with having just birthday cake and something festive to drink, which will help keep you on budget.

Try some of these easy kids birthday party recipes >>

Keep the guest list small... and kids only

The rule of thumb when creating your guest list is that your child can invite one guest for each year old he or she is -- for example, your 5-year-old can invite five friends. This seems to be the magic number, no matter what age they may be.

It's funny how a party for six of your child's friends can suddenly turn into a full-blown bash of forty people once you start to consider those children's parents and siblings attending as well! If your kids are old enough, there's a simple solution to this: the drop-off party. On the invite, note that the party is drop-off only, eliminating lingering parents and siblings that also need food, cake, drinks and favors.

Brush up on your birthday party etiquette >>

Ditch the cheezy favor bags

Gasp! No party favors? Stay with us for a minute. Let's talk about those party favor bags -- it may seem like they aren't costing much because each little thing in that bag doesn't break the bank, but when you start to do the math, it's easy to see that party favors are big budget holes.

Instead of filling up goodie bags for favors, stick with one favor for each child -- a new yo-yo or a container of sidewalk chalk -- whatever fits the theme of your party and your child's age best. Wrap it up with a pretty ribbon and your guests are sure to be thrilled. Plus, the other parents will love you for not sending home another bag of little toys that will break in 10 seconds and end up in the garbage.

Learn how to make birthday party treat bags for $5 >>

When it comes to decorations, simple is best

Think about it for a minute -- what's the only birthday party decoration that your child is really interested in? Balloons! Forget about all the other stuff to help keep this birthday party cheap -- the personalized banners, custom T-shirts and fancy tissue paper pom-poms -- two dozen ballons go a long way when decorating and we promise that your child will never miss the other stuff (even though you might!). Balloons also double as great, inexpensive party favors as your guest are walking out the door.

Check out these ideas for birthday party decor you can find at home >>

Brave a party at your home

We certainly realize that all the rage right now with children's birthday parties is finding the coolest venue in town and the appeal to parents is high -- most parents would pay a fortune to not have to clean up after a dozen 12-year-olds eating chocolate cake! However, if you're truly looking to keep birthday party costs low, a party at home is the best option.

Instead of the built-in entertainment of a bouncy house or gym full of trampolines, play some super fun party games or plan a craft that is both age-appropriate and fit to the theme of your party. Plan a pirate's treasure hunt in your backyard or set up a beauty salon in your living room -- even picking up supplies for these activities are sure to cost less than a pricey birthday party venue.

Use this guide for how to have an old fashioned birthday party for kids >>

Tell us

What are your best tips for throwing a cheap birthday party?

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Tags: budget birthday

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Comments on "Cheap birthday party ideas for children"

Thrifty mom November 07, 2013 | 7:42 PM

We are having a combined party for my 6 & 8 year old daughters. They wanted a slumber party! Popcorn, movies, smoothies, and making homemade pizzas and cupcakes (Each girl gets to help with her own pizza and personalize her own cupcake). I think it will be my least expensive party yet!

Rani Thomas October 14, 2013 | 2:02 AM

Hi,I'm having my son birthday party this weekend and i'm just having 8 kids coming to his party and i don't know what to do for his birthday party for him, what kind of foods and me

Nicole August 16, 2013 | 11:10 AM

We're planning a trip to the fire station followed by birthday cake and juice at the local park for our four-year old son. Our house will be under renovation at the time of the party, and the fire station/park do not cost a cent. I liked your idea about one friend per year of age, and about giving balloons as party favours.

Shell June 13, 2013 | 5:40 PM

We are going to an ice cream shop for the nine year old. They supply ice cream, hot dogs and balloon for each child. Only 5 kids will be able to come, so I want to make it feel good for my child. I was going to bring drinks and veggie tray and give out pencils and home made bean bags (6 inch) for each child. I want to give it pazazz, and not spend much. This is a large building. I think money wise, I won't do the veggie tray. Maybe chex mix with m and m's . Maybe I could decorate the table up with ???? Help

Kayla May 30, 2013 | 7:26 AM

Hi,I'm having my son birthday party this weekend and i'm just having 5 kids coming to his party it's just family and friends coming and i don't know what to do for his birthday party for him but he is 2 year old and we have mickey mouse party theme what kind of foods and games and what to do for his loot bags to the ages are 2 years-7 year old help help me

Carl May 23, 2013 | 3:14 AM

Hi, I found this article whilst looking for ideas for kids parties in general however, I have to say, there some amazing ideas here. I particularly like the ideas of making chepa party bags! Many thanks for sharing! Carl

Michele Eyer May 14, 2013 | 7:27 AM

How old are the girls? You can go to Party City or the dollar store and pick up some inexpensive games. Crafts are usually fun for girls also. They can make jewlery, goodie bags, picture frames ect. Depending on the age, you can have coloring sheets on hand or hang up a coloring mural on your wall.

Sharon May 03, 2013 | 8:55 PM

Girls love decorating and making things. It might be fun for them to decorate picture frames. Maybe you could snap pictures of each girl as they come in and print them on the computer. Decorating picture frames, they would have a fun favor to bring home with them. Depending on the age...girls love lots of bling!

Lila March 16, 2013 | 8:08 AM

Can anyone here please help me think of what I should do at my birthday party? The party is at home and there is going to be 12 girls we don't really want makeovers or cooking or scavenger hunts and it's gonna be inside the whole time. Thank you.

Uchitani July 11, 2012 | 9:58 AM

Kaylene - So glad to see you posting again, algriht it hasn't been that long since you posted. But I love to get on and see me some beautiful pictures you have done! Darling family, Budapest is where Daniel went on his mission! He loved serving there and had a cousin go there as well.

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