Get ready to save time, money, and sanity with this easy to do birthday party on a budget.
This past weekend, we had a pool party for my oldest son’s birthday at our community pool and clubhouse. He had a great time, had fun swimming and playing with the other kids, and of course loved the cupcakes, decorations and treat bags. While this article shows you how to throw a birthday party for $10, it also shows different budget levels and how to make your dollar stretch like a brand new rubber band.
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What all did you need to throw a shin-dig?
#1 The Venue You need a place to have the party. To save money we had it at our community pool. In our neighborhood, the pool house/clubhouse can be reserved for a $50 deposit check that only gets cashed if there is damage. Otherwise, we would have had the party at our house or at a local park which also would have been free. Total cost so far – $0
#2 Invites Since this party was going to uber small scale – our family and 3 of my son’s friends with their parents(not guaranteeing they would show up), it didn’t make sense to buy or make invitations. I just simply called up everyone and invited them. If your party is a bigger scale, I suggest emailing, setting up a private event on facebook, or using a site like Evite. Although I love handmade invitations or just snail mail in general, if you are on a shoe-string budget then electronic invitations or personal phone calls are perfect for your situation. Total cost so far – $0
#3 Decorations A year or so ago, I asked my kids what makes a party, a party? Balloons was the #1 response. I love how inexpensive balloons can be. For this birthday party I purchased one bag of 20 mixed color balloons and one bag of 6 “confetti” balloons(they didn’t work as well as the pictures looked but still cute). Total cost – $2.50+tax. Next I cruised the clearance aisle for the past couple months each time I went to Dollar General(LOVE this store close to home). I purchased the following – 4 plastic table clothes ($7.20+tax total), 2 packs of napkins ($1.60+tax total), and 3 packs of plates ($2.40+tax). My sister was so sweet to chip in with party favor supplies: little pull-back motorcycles and goggles(I think she paid $8+tax) and also supplied 1 roll of Happy Birthday streamers ($1+tax). I spent $1 for the treat bags plus $3 for a bag of Starburst to split up per bag. There were so many that I still have 4 treat bags to give out to any boys that come to my daughter’s party next month. Plus, I used these to decorate the kids’ table. Total cost so far – $26.70
#4 Cupcakes/Cake My sister was also so sweet to send a box of vanilla cake mix, a box of chocolate cake mix, and a “Happy Birthday” sign to top the cakes with. If I had purchased all of this it would have been around $4+tax. I purchased the cupcake liners ($1+tax) and the icing ($3.40+tax). To make the cake mix, I had to supply 6 large eggs ($0.40 since my eggs are around $0.80 a dozen right now) and 2/3 cup of oil total (I have no idea what this costs). Lastly, I had to have a candle so I got a “9” for him to blow out the candle with ($2+tax). Total cost so far – $37.50
#5 Food and Drink I scheduled the party for 2pm in the afternoon for two reasons – sunburns aren’t as bad after 2pm and kids will have already had lunch so I would only need to provide snacks. Again, my sister helped us so much and sent two packs of paper cups($2+tax). For snacks, I had a big bowl of chips ($2+tax), a bowl of individual pudding, jello, and fruit cups ($6+tax), and a bowl of individual raisens boxes($6+tax). The kids hardly even ate any snacks except for the chips and a pack or two of raisens and pudding/jello so I’m not sure I should even count this $12. We’ll be eating these and drinking the drinks for the next week. For drinks there were 3 sodas ($4+tax), Koolaid(pretty much free), bottled water($3+tax), and 1 bag of ice($2+tax). I could have done this alot cheaper by just having chips and homemade cookies for the snacks, but there aren’t enough minutes in the day to get everything done! Total cost overall – $62.50
Ways I could have saved more money on the birthday party…
Purchase solid color table clothes at the Dollar Tree: $7.20 – 4.oo = $3.20 savings
Skip the 6 count bag of confetti balloons – $1.50 savings
Instead of toys&goggles($8)/starburst($3) in treat bags, fill them with vanilla sandwich creme cookies: $11 – 1.80 = $9.20 savings
Only use one cake mix and one icing (I made two because my son wanted half chocolate half vanilla cupcakes) – $2.90 savings
For snacks, use vanilla and/or chocolate creme cookies($1.80) and also a bag of chips – $10.20 savings
Instead of sodas, I could have used a couple tea bags and made ice tea for almost nothing – $4 savings
Total potential savings – $31.00
What does this mean to the ole’ checkbook? I could have thrown this party for a mere $31.50. WOW! And although it was a small amount of kids at this party (6 total), the amount of cupcakes and food could accommodate many more kids.
Is $31.50 still not in your budget? That’s ok. Really! This party could have happened for around $10. Here’s the breakdown:
1 cake mix, cupcake liners, icing, 3 eggs – $3.90
1 roll of streamers – $1.00
1 bag of 20 count balloons – $1.00 (Because it’s not a party without balloons according to my kids)
Offer tea, koolaid, and water for drinks, buy a bag of ice – $2.00
Creme sandwich cookies for snacks – $1.80
I think a lot of families don’t have birthday parties each year because they think in order for a kid to feel happy about their party they need a 3 ring circus to happen which means a second mortgage. While it is super exciting to have a bouncy house(which my 5 year old is begging for his next birthday) or special venue locations, that’s not what makes a birthday party special to some kids especially my oldest. A low key but high on quality-time party can be lots of fun, meaningful, and super easy on the pocketbook and sanity! All we ever really need at our house is a cake and some balloons. Tah dah! The festivities have begun.
One last note, we don’t even really need to invite the whole town for birthdays either. This used to be really important to me. But the older I get the more I savor quality time with my immediate family. My oldest baby is close to being here for a decade. Whew. That happened fast! I want to soak up all the time I can with my little family and enjoy every minute. Having a low-key birthday can mean just that.
How do you celebrate your birthday? Are balloons a necessity like at our house?