Keeping the Cost in Check: 6 Secrets to Planning a Kids Party on a Budget

Elaborate birthday parties seem to be all the rage these days, with parents planning for months in advance, making fancy treats fit for a wedding, and spending tons of time or money on the decorations and party favors. The truth is, though, that an expensive party may not be the most enjoyable for your child. Instead, keep it simple and limit the cost with these tips.

Keep the Guest List Small

You don’t have to invite everybody you know, or your child’s whole class at school. In fact, having a lot of people there may be overwhelming for your child. Instead, a great rule of thumb is to add one to your child’s age to get the perfect number of guests. For example, if your child is turning five, invite six guests to the birthday party.

Keep It Simple

Ditch the elaborate centerpieces, bouquet of fancy balloons, or other expensive decorations. Get a simple package of tableware at a site like for inexpensive and easy decorations. These can set the stage for the party, and all you need to add is some simple color-coordinated streamers, which you can usually find at dollar stores. Given that decorations usually find the trash can soon after the party, you don’t want to spend a ton on them.

Homemade Fun

Have your party at home so you don’t have to rent a separate venue and be locked into using that venue for the food as well. If you party at home, you can prepare your own food, like a simple sheet cake or cupcakes. If you have a morning or afternoon party, you can even get away with just serving a small snack and cake instead of having to pay for a whole meal for all the guests.

DIY Invites

Make your own invitations and hand-deliver them so you don’t even have to spend on postage. You can even ask your child to draw a birthday picture on a blank card for a creative and meaningful invitation. If you don’t even want to pay for materials, just invite guests with a phone call or send free online invitations. The only important thing is that guests know when and where the party is!

How to Game

Play simple games for entertainment at the party rather than hiring someone or purchasing new materials. Music makes an easy backdrop for freeze dance, musical chairs, or hot potato. Games you already own, like Twister, can also make perfect activities for birthday parties. If you have nice weather and a decent sized yard, head out for some fun relay race games, like carrying an egg on a spoon or a sack race.

Craft Time

Don’t give out goody bags to guests when they’re leaving the party. The party favors in the bag often get discarded soon after the guests leave. Be the first one in your circle to get rid of goody bags, and other parents will likely follow suit at their parties. Instead, have kids make a craft at the party and send them home with it so they don’t leave empty-handed.

Looking to your child’s interests and personality is the best way to design a party she will love. As long as her best pals are there and they get to participate in some fun activities together, you’ll have a successful party. Don’t worry about coming up to the standard of other parties you’ve been to, but just focus on your budget and designing a fun party that matches your child’s interests.

(The above was written for this blog by Amanda Gutierrez. Amanda is a freelance writer who writes for several health and fitness digital publications. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is a licensed fitness instructor.)

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