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Birthday on a Budget

Birthdays are an exciting time for kids, I know tht mine look forward to it for weeks before their big day. They always want to have a party and invite all their friends and each year they have a different theme in mind for the perfect party. But birthday parties can get expensive and at a time when the economy is hurting, it's hard for many families to shell out money for a birthday party.  That means that it's time to figure out how to have a birthday on a budget.  There are lots of ways to have a great birthday without breaking the bank.

Saving on Presents

As parents, we are happy when our kids are. That means that we love to buy them everything that they want on their birthday. Sometimes that simply isn't possible. Many parents feel guilty when they can't give their kids the things that they want to have. I think it's important to remember that years from now, kids will remember great family memories but they won't remember what they got for each of their birthdays. Try to think about what you got for your seventh birthday. I bet you can't remember! Your kids won't either.  

If money is tight and a birthday is coming up, save on presents by buying less or less expensive items. For older children, explain to them that money is tight and find out what they really want the most. Younger children just like to have presents to open so you can get a lot of great stuff for a small amount of money. Stickers, craft supplies, and small toys are really popular with little kids. My daughter got a slinky last year from someone and loved it more than all the other things she received.  

Saving on the Cake

If you are trying to have a birthday on a budget, consider making a cake instead of buying one. With a little imagination and work, you can easily make your own theme cake that your child will love. You can use small toys to decorate or buy items quite inexpensively.  My mom always made our cakes and as an adult, I love looking at the pictures from my birthday to see how much time my mom spent creating the perfect cake for me.

Cheap Party Supplies

Buying the party supplies can really break the bank, but it doesn't have to.  You really don't need to have have matching plates, cups, napkins, etc. Trust me, most kids don't really care. Instead, have kids decorate their own place settings as a fun birthday party activity. Use what you have to make your home look festive for the party. Check local dollar stores to get good deals on party supplies.  Buy a white paper tablecloth and allow your kids to decorate it with stickers that match their theme instead of buying a special theme tablecloth.  Get creative and you can have a house that looks festive for a small amount of money.

Look online to find printables that can be used for decorations.   

Keeping Party Costs Under Control

Favors for guests can get expensive too.  Look at places like Oriental Trading Company to find good deals on large amounts of small toys that can be used as favors.  Another great idea is to have kids create a craft that they can take home with them as a party favor.  

Don't spend a lot on games and other things to do at the party. My kids favorite party activity is to have water balloon fights. It costs me about $5 and keeps them entertained for a long time.  Check the internet for lots of free and fun game and party ideas. 

It's important to remember that we sometimes make the monetary part of our child's birthday party the most important thing, even though it isn't at all important to our kids. Keep the focus on celebrating the wonderful child you have in your life and having fun and the money spent (or not spent!) won't be all that important. 

Angela L.
Good party activity for kids is to make a play. You can make paper masks for charscters and then reherse as an activity and present the play at the end for parents. It can be very simple play depending of number of kids: Red riding Hood, Snow White, Tree pigs, etc. Kids love it and it does not cost anything.
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