Save Money on Your Child’s Birthday Party

There are sensible ways to economize and still have a great party!

By Tracy Leigh Ritts


Birthday parties for kids are a rite of passage that every child looks forward to — even when the party is not their own. These parties for tots seem to grow more expensive and elaborate every year, and parents and kids might feel the need to compete with their friends.

If this is one of your concerns, relax. You can throw a fantastic birthday party for your child and still stick to a reasonable budget. Here’s how:

Decide on a Budget.
How much can you reasonably afford to spend without relying on credit cards or hurting your bank account? It’s essential to figure this out before going any further, as all other decisions you make will be based on this number.

What are the Essentials?
Decide what items are on the must-have list for the birthday party. Be sure to include everything from decorations and food to games and goody bags — literally anything that you and your child deem as necessary. Now, take a second look at your list. Are all really must-haves? Cross out those that you don’t really need.

Be Frugal!
Take a third look at your must-have list and consider cost-saving methods to get what you want at a lower cost. Can you bake the cake instead of ordering it from the bakery? How about printing out your invitations from the computer instead of buying them? Visit the dollar store for prizes and goody bag favors, rather than buying them at a party store.

Who are the Guests?
Consider having a smaller party to reduce overall costs. This means fewer paper plates, less cake and ice cream, fewer favors, etc. A small party can be just as much fun as a large one.

Be Creative!
Brainstorm with your child about ways to create your own decorations that will save money. Instead of helium balloons, blow up your own. Instead of purchasing a banner that says Happy Birthday, print one out on paper that your child can color in. Have fun with this!

Make Your Own Entertainment.
There is no need to hire a magician or clown for the party. Nor do you have to rent a popcorn or soft ice cream machine. Kids really don’t mind simpler entertainment, such as imaginative games and projects.

By thinking everything through ahead of time, you can plan a perfectly wonderful birthday party with your child and not spend a fortune. Bring them into the planning and be firm about your monetary limitations. Kids are more interested in the celebration itself, so focus on that!

Tracy Leigh Ritts is a freelance writer based in Ohio. Her book, How to Plan Your Own Wedding and Save Thousands…Without Going Crazy, was released in 2008.