5 Money-Saving Ideas as you Plan your Themed Birthday Party

February 27, 2018

Everyone has different budgets for birthday parties, but did you know that 26% of parents spend over $500

 on a birthday party (according to a poll on BabyCenter.com)? When you’re planning a birthday party it can be so easy to spend that much if you’re buying your decorations, paying for a venue, ordering a cake, and buying gifts — not to mention the party favors! Here are five money-saving ideas that you can incorporate into your birthday party plan!

 

Make your cake/cupcakes at home

Consider your audience. Are your five year old guests going to admire the perfect cupcakes your local baker made? Probably not. Consider picking up some muffin tin liners, a box of cake mix and vanilla frosting at the store and whip up your own cupcakes. (This could even be a good activity to have your kids get involved.)

 

You don’t need to be an expert-from-scratch baker or an excellent frosting piper. After the cupcakes are baked and cooled, dye the frosting the color you’d like with some good color and consider a special topper. For example, for a dinosaur party you could decorate the cupcakes with green frosting and plastic dinosaurs to top them off. Or for a Cookie Monster party, frost the cupcake with blue frosting and lay a chocolate chip cookie across the top. Use cupcake toppers as a way to draw back to your theme and add excitement to the cupcake without having to pay bakery prices.

 

Ditch the branded items

Branded decorations are always more expensive so if you’re looking to save money in the decor area, consider only buying one branded item. For example, if you’re theme is a movie theme like Cars — purchase the napkins with lightning McQueen on them, but buy a black and white checkered tablecloth, red plates and red cups. Your theme will still be apparent because you are sticking to the brand colors, but you are going to save a few dollars on the non-branded items.

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Host your party outside

 

Venues can be a high expense when it comes to birthday parties. If you’re uncomfortable hosting in your home or your house is too small, consider having the party in your backyard or at a local park. Borrow some picnic tables or lay out picnic blankets. Plan some themed games for your party. If the birthday celebration happens in a colder month and an outdoor party isn’t a possibility, ask a close friend or relative if they would host your child’s party as their gift. Make sure this friend loves hosting and tell them that you will bring all of the supplies and decorations so they don’t have to worry about details.

 

Buy Less presents

I can’t even count how many conversations I’ve had about the quantity of presents that children receive for their birthdays. Most of those conversations have been with parents who are tired of cleaning up massive amounts of toys every night and don’t have a place to store all of the toys! What’s worse is we all know that our child will be complaining that they’re “bored and have nothing to do” a day after their party.

 

Here are a few things to consider: have a well thought out birthday list, buy less presents, and ask your kid if they’d like to donate their birthday.

  • When people ask you what your kid wants for their birthday, have a list prepared so you aren’t naming things off the top of your head. Make sure to include books, board games, clothing and even some new school supplies they need. If your guests are worried that their gift won’t be “fun enough,” explain to them that your family is trying to cut down on unused gifts this year but these are things that your child will most definitely need and will certainly use.

  • As you start purchasing gifts for your child, only buy 4 and stick with this mantra: “something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read”. Share this mantra with your children and have them help you brainstorm some items for their list.

  • Lastly, consider asking your child if they want to donate their party to Box of Balloons. Instead of receiving gifts, they can collect money from their guests that will go towards a box for a child who wouldn’t get to celebrate their birthday! It’s a great way to infuse generosity into your family’s lifestyle.

DIY your own decorations

 

Looking to save money on the decorations? Again, stay away from branded decorations. Pick up some crepe streamers and balloons from the party store. Make sure your streamers are on-theme colors. All you’ll need is those items plus some tape to decorate your home! Decorating for that themed dinosaur party? Use those plastic dinosaurs cupcake toppers around the house to decorate. Are you decorating for a Frozen party? Cut out snowflakes from printer paper and hang them with fishing line from the ceiling. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, consider making your own piñata for your Coco themed party. For any party, you can string your Christmas tree lights. Their twinkle adds a special touch to a gathering.   


Every parent has a different amount of money and time that they can invest in their child’s birthday party. Some of these tips are more time consuming than others. If you’re really looking for a way to celebrate your child without breaking the bank, consider using several of these tips for the same party. If you lack time, begin the preparations a week or two ahead of the party or ask a relative/ friend to do one of these ideas as their gift to the child. If you’re only looking to save a little bit of money, tackle the tip that excites you the most! Either way consider asking your child if they want to donate part of their birthday to Box of Balloons or help prepare a box for another child as a way to incorporate some generosity into their birthday celebration.