11 Ideas to Celebrate Kids’ Birthday on a Budget

Big Birthdays shouldn’t mean spending big bucks. Birthday parties should be all about celebrating life and creating memories. However birthday parties nowadays have become lavish affairs with grand gestures, extravagant celebrations and unlimited budgets. It has become more about “Keeping up with Joneses” rather than having family fun. Unless I really get a million dollar cheque from a Nigerian prince soon, I am not going to use up my savings for a party.

However, if you are looking for birthday celebration ideas on a budget while creating beautiful memories, family bonds and loads of fun, it is not a difficult task at all. All you need is a little creativity, planning and a desire to stay within your budget. Here are 11 budget birthday party ideas that I think will work for everyone.

Budget birthday ideas

11 Ideas to celebrate kids’ birthday on a budget

Plan Ahead 

The reason we end up spending more than we intended to for any party is because we forgot to plan ahead. Planning a last-minute party will ensure that you spend way more than necessary on essentials like cake, food, decorations etc. If you do your birthday party planning well before time it will be easier to check out best prices, get more options and save money on buying in advance. Use our free birthday party planning checklist to keep your birthday party organised.


Think of out of the box ideas for birthday themes 

Birthday parties are more about the experiences that kids have rather than the location, food or even gifts. Some frugal birthday party ideas can be -a trip to the zoo (animal theme), science museum (space theme), aquarium (aquatic animal theme), rail museum (Thomas & Friends theme) or a dance studio (dance party). Take the kids to your local burger or pizza place afterwards and the kids are sure to have a great time.

Party at home 

There is no place like home and definitely nothing is cheaper when you want to host a shindig. You don’t need to have a birthday party in a farmhouse or a banquet hall. You can have an awesome birthday party at home too. I wish in India we could celebrate birthdays in public parks like they do in the west but you can do it in your neighborhood park too. Ask for permission from the concerned authorities and you can have a beautiful and natural location for your party. Just remember to clean after the party! You can check out how we celebrated my daughter’s birthday with a simple princess theme party at home.

Reduce the number of guests 

Does your child really need to have 40 or more friends at their birthday or is it more the case of “she invited me so I have to invite her”.  The rule of the thumb for birthday party guests should be Age of the child + 2  i.e. if your child is 4 then have 6 kids, if she is 6-year-old have 8 friends and so on. Kids cannot interact or have fun with more than a few children in the party and a crowd will make your child moody, cranky and not the center of attention on their special day.

Use e-vites or homemade invitations 

Birthday invitations don’t come cheap and why spend so much if you can easily make them at home. Check out our Birthday party pinterest board for some homemade invitation cards. You can also create and send electronic invites for absolutely free. This works very well if you have a big gathering and you need RSVPs in a timely manner.

Use family as helpers and entertainers

You don’t need to hire entertainers and helpers from outside to help you with your party. Ask your family members and close friends to help you out with the birthday preparations. While the adults can help with the food preparation, the teens and the tweens can help in creating decorations, organizing the party games etc. Don’t forget to give them a small gift as a token of your appreciation.


Before birthday food went the five star catering way, people used to make party food at home and it was always a delicious fare. Making homemade party food will require planning and time at your end but will provide healthy, nutritious , tasty and inexpensive food for your guests. I have already created the menu for Sam’s party and prepared the grocery list accordingly. My mom is preparing one of her signature dishes and I know guests will be clamoring for more. The rest are simple and quick to assemble dishes. If you have any bulk food coupons like Pizza coupons etc. then this is the time to use them and save money.

Make your own cake

If you are even a little good at baking you can try your hand at making a cake at home. Believe me, it is not very difficult and will make your party even more special. You can make an easy homemade kit kat cake made with a normal sponge cake.

cake pops

Poonam from Mommygyan has an awesome recipe for Cake popswhich is easy to replicate and looks adorable.

Create party activities at home 

You don’t need a lot of money to create party games and activities at home for your kids’ birthday party. We have listed around 40 birthday party activities and games for kids of all ages on the blog which can be helpful to you. Internet is your friend and you can find a variety of activities based on your budget.

Birthdayprintable3 (1)

Home made birthday party decorations 

In any birthday party next to food, people tend to spend the most on decorations. There are all kinds of fancy party supplies available in the market but if you are looking to create a fun mood and a lively atmosphere you don’t need to bust your bank for that. DIY party decorations like tissue pom-poms or paper buntings or even paper cup fairy lights will up the ante of your party while going easy on your pocket. For “Thank you” favors you can use make lollipop covers like I made for my nieces’ birthday a while back.

Reuse and recycle gift bag and wrapping supplies

 We have a habit of saving all the gift bags and wrapping supplies like gift paper, ribbons etc. When we have to attend a birthday party, we hardly ever need to buy gift paper to wrap the gifts up. Similarly you can recycle your gift bags and wrapping supplies for return gifts and party favors. Fabida from Shocksandshoes made goodie bags from newspapers which I think is an excellent idea.

 Do you have any budget birthday party ideas to add to this list?

Please comment below with your helpful suggestions. 

Image Credit  All images in the collage are from sxc.hu
Swapna Thomas is the editor and founder at TheMomViews.com, an award winning Parenting blog. She quit the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom and in the process, discovered a whole new career. She truly believes that happy moms = happy world. She also coaches moms to start their online business. She loves sufi music and spends way more time daydreaming than one should.

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  1. Eagerly waiting for Sams birthday pics.. I am sure you are going to put up a great show! Thanks for sharing the recipe Swapna :)
    poonam’s recent fabulous post…Koonik Organic Clothing for kids in IndiaMy Profile

    • It was a pleasure to share your recipe Poonam and I hope I can pull off the cake pops. I don’t know about whether the birthday will be a great show or not but I am very sure that it will heaps of fun! And of course you and all the readers will get the first glimpse of the celebrations. :)

  2. Amazing work Swaps…four thumbs up (two of mine and two of izzy’s :) )
    Georgina’s recent fabulous post…Chocolate Pancakes with Homemade Strawberry SyrupMy Profile

  3. Great tips, Swapna!! In these times of rising prices, it only makes sense to cut down on birthday parties, though the fun need not be compromised!! Actually, I made the Kit Kat cake for my sister’s birthday recently! It was really easy to assemble, but it had the guests going ‘WOW’!!!!
    Fab’s recent fabulous post…Recipe for the Week – White bread with Tangzhong method (Baking Partners Challenge #8)My Profile

  4. Big thanks for this great tipps – I’m currently planning the birthday party of my son and your tipps helped me a lot.

  5. Huge thanks for the post and tips you have shared. Just want to share one thing that I found a website which offers baby products and give discounts through coupons.

  6. Fun and entertainment does not mean spending big bucks. Maybe that is why I will always remember the birthday parties we used to have as kids. Nothing huge/extravagant but lots and lots of fun :)

  7. Great tips! The way to make a birthday party perfect for children is to cater to their specific likes and dreams with the games and decor! So a fairy theme or princess theme is great for the little girl that loves those things and so on. Once you find the right theme, the next step is decor and games! I have found some great, fun games and have loved the response from the kids!

  8. You have given really nice tips. Last month we celebrated my daughter’s 1st birthday.It was quite mess as I have no prior experience of party planning.I hope your tips will definitely help parents like me to celebrate their kids birthday successfully.

  9. Awesome! I tried your cake pops and I really liked it. I love your recipe for it. It is frugal and easy to bake. I’m going to try another one this coming weekend.
    Juan Carlo’s recent fabulous post…“You Go, Girl!” Dealing with College & HeartbreakMy Profile

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