How to Plan an Awesome Kid’s Birthday Party on a Tight Budget

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If you’re like a lot of party-lovin’ moms, you practically drool over fabulous pictures of designer birthday celebrations with gorgeous fondant cakes that START at one hundred dollars…and then reality hits:  not in the budget this time. But do you know you can host an awesome kid’s birthday party on a really tight budget? It’s possible!  Read on for some of my favorite money saving suggestions.

Kid's Birthday Party on a Budget

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The first thing to do is shop your house. Take inventory of what you already have that might work. Look in toy boxes, kitchen cupboards, basement storage and don’t forget the Christmas decorations.

Some moms share boxes of non-consumable party goods within their community. If you don’t have themed boxes circulating among your group, maybe it’s time to consider a start-up. Family, neighbors, home-school co-ops and church groups are potential partakers. Even if you don’t have party boxes to share yet, these social contacts can be sources to borrow from. Just be sure you’re clear about who wants what back!

Dollar stores, big box stores and Goodwill collection centers offer economical party fill-ins so don’t forget to take your imagination with you as you shop.

Birthday Party Ideas on a Budget

A snack/dessert table is more economical than an entire meal. Let birthday cake or cupcakes be the focal point. A bit of candy in your party colors will look terrific in glass jars when embellished with ribbon or medallions.

If decorating a cake is not your forte, buy an unadorned cake from your grocery; fancy it up with candies. Make a mini bunting to suspend from a pair of straws or use ready-made fondant that can easily be shaped with cookie cutters.

Easy Ways to Make a Birthday Party Special on a Budget…

Presentation can make the difference between ho-hum and oh my! For decorations that “wow”:

  • Stick to a theme and use it throughout the party.
  • Arrange the dessert table with balance/symmetry and height variation.  Cardboard boxes covered with wrapping paper stand in for pricey pedestals.
  • Wrapping paper is economical and can be used as a table backdrop or covering. Sunday comics serve the same purpose.
  • Festive banners and buntings can readily be made from scrap fabric, paper or plastic in almost any shape. Don’t forget balloons!
  • Twinkle lights can become: a carnival causeway; stars for astronauts; lightning bugs in a woodland adventure, etc.
  • Curling ribbon and pipe cleaners add fun color and shape to a table.

Birthday Party Ideas on a Budget

Finally, take-home favors can be simple, but make them special with ribbon or small thank-you tags.  A shaped cookie/treat, or a budget-friendly pack of toys divided among the guests are just a couple of potentials.

Kids will pick up your attitude about the party so be sure to communicate your excitement about their special day. They won’t care if you spend $20 or $200, just as long as you’re celebrating them with all you’ve got!

What birthday party theme would your kids love to see at your next celebration?


  1. This so timely for me, since we’ve got 8 birthdays at home from February til June! Since I was busy with the baby this spring, we’re going to combine the boys’ party with Maeve’s party, and we’re going to keep it simple.

    We’re hosting at a local library, who provides their event room for free!! Whoop!

    Thanks so much for linking up with The Thoughtful Spot -we’re featuring you this week!

  2. Birthday parties can get very expensive if you allow them to. Your suggestions are great, I love the dollar stores for party needs too.

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

  3. Some great ideas there – I do like the idea of looking at what you have at home already. Thanks for sharing on the kids coop

  4. I love how you mention to choose a theme and stick with it throughout the party. My sister is planning her six year old son’s birthday party and she wants it to be perfect. I’m sure that by using a good theme and finding a great party place will help her out a lot.

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