The Coupon Butler

8 Steps to a Cheap Birthday Party

Posted on: March 10, 2010

Alright, all 4 of my kids were born in the Spring so I have begun thinking ahead for birthdays.  In my opinion birthday parties can easily get out of hand. They can take a toll  financially and become overwhelming to the parents and child. Here is what works for me.

Birthdays are unique and should be celebrated but don’t blow your budget just because you don’t want to be out done by the “Jones” .

1. Decide on a realistic budget
Think about this reasonably, what can you afford for a gift, party and decorations. Is it more important to feed the whole neighborhood steak and not get your bills paid? Unless you have no debt the party should not cost $500.00. Just saying.  I am going out on a limb, but we probably won’t spend more than $100 for the party, decorations and gifts. TOTAL! Use code BIRTHDAY2010 right now at Oriental trading to save 20% off your total.

2. Pick a Theme
This can be done a couple of ways, if the child is young you can scour the aisles at the party store to see what is on clearance and make the best choice from that. If your young child is with you, do NOT put anything in the cart until you have looked over the whole store, if you see a better deal it is hard to convince a 2 year old to accept the change.

Maybe you know your child really wants a certain theme, shop around. Hunt for coupons on, sign up for email coupons from the local party stores. Pick a couple of the themed items to mix and match with solid color things for a cheaper price.  For example, buy the invitations that go with the theme but get solid plates and cups, theme napkins, and maybe one item from the theme decorations.

3. Choose a Time and location
This can be a huge money saver, if you pick a time that is not a meal time then you only need to serve a snack and cake. Location is everything, is it necessary to spend $100 just to sit outside? Can you do this at your own house? What about a FREE location?

4. Cheap food
Juice often goes on sale B1G1 at Publix, so thinking ahead could save you money. If you stockpile you may have snack items you could offer to your guests too.  If you wait until the day of the party to buy food, you may be frazzled and not make clear decissions.  Planning really does pay off.

5. Cake
I love Publix cake. My kids however don’t care if they have homemade cake or store bought. In fact they like it better when the cake matches the theme and is homemade. Since I coupon I have 4 boxes of cake mixes already on hand which is way cheaper than a $20 Publix cake. My kids are thrilled when the cake looks cool.  I love to scour the internet for ideas of fun cakes to make.

6. Entertainment
You can look up online for some theme games and ideas. Family fun is a HUGE resource when it comes to parties. You don’t need to hire a clown and magician.  You could dress up your hubbie? Just Kidding!  Kids just want to hang out with their friends and make great memories together.  Plan a couple of games like who can blow up a balloon the fastest, pop the most balloons, dizzy bat and freeze tag.

7. Party gifts
I already have in mind some ideas for my kids, my eyes are open to sales and clearance aisles. In fact I already have presents for the girls and have one more bigger item in mind for each of them. We scored some really great clearance items they are going to be thrilled with. Right now there are a tons of coupons for toys, check out, there are also some Target coupons you can match with these to make even better deals.

8. Goodie bags
I am not too fond of goody bags, I see it as a waste of money. Basically it is full of things not useful that break before you get home. I have in the past tried to think of pratical things to use, I found some cups that were plastic party themed cups, wrote everyones names on them and they used them at the party and then took them home too. You could make a craft that they could take with them to use, liek tshirts or flip flops.

These are just some of the many ideas out there for parties.  We do not have birthday parties every year. In the past we have had birthday dinners out with family and then combined the money we would have spent on parties to do a big family thing.



3 Responses to "8 Steps to a Cheap Birthday Party"

Perfect timing! My son is going to have a birthday soon so I will read through this again.

I agree about the goodie bags! I don’t understand it at all. One year my son had a treasure hunt, so the hunted goodies was the treasure.

We wrote on the same topic for WFMW this week! Here are my tips for Planning a Frugal Birthday Party for Kids:

Great tips! I especially like the idea of a cup they use at the party being the party favor: affordable, better for the environment than disposable cups, and no mixing up whose cup is whose!

Here are two easy, affordable games for parties.

If you have time, you can make some decorations or favors. We like to make link chains out of old gift-wrap or colorful magazine pages. They can be hung like streamers or made into necklaces for the guests.

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