As a Mum of three, I know first hand just how expensive having children can be. There’s always something forcing us to part ways with our hard earned cash. Birthdays can be particularly expensive, especially as the children get a little bit older and their list of presents gets that little bit more expensive. It can feel as though everyone else is buying fantastic gifts for their children and it’s only natural for us to want to provide the same for ours. And then there are the parties. Children’s parties are big business these days. There are so many options and so many play/activity centres offering party packages. But they come at a big cost. So how can you throw a fantastic birthday party for your child without breaking the bank? It might not be as impossible as you think!
Planning a birthday party on a budget.
Planning a birthday party can be incredibly stressful and costly. But, in reality it doesn’t need to be! So many parents are now recognising that children can have a great time without it costing the earth.
I spoke to some parent bloggers to get their top tips on planning a birthday party on a budget and they’ve given me some AMAZING ideas for how to hold a birthday party on a budget!
Take the party to the park
I make all the food myself! I shop in Lidl/Aldi for the food. Last year my daughter had her party in the park and I made little party boxes with a sandwich, crisps, drink and snack. Then I had some trays of food for the grown ups.
Picnic in the park! Few tubs of bubbles, a football and a tub of sandwiches and some fruit is all you need!
Preparing a buffet yourself and holding it in the park. There is free equipment and not much mess to clean up afterwards. Bottles of cheap prosecco for the adults. Party bag favours we like going to the cheap shops and buying things like multi pack books and splitting them up. www.happyfamilyhub.co.uk
This is such a fantastic idea. As well as being really cost-effective, it also means there’s no mess at home to clear up! The park is a great place to hold a party – the children get to let off some steam in the fresh air and you can set up a simple picnic for them to share. Bubbles are always great to take along with you too, they provide so much fun and they cost pennies to make.
If you live near the coast though or a forest, then this idea is incredible!
If you have a local beach or forest, then a sausage sizzle is the best party! Get the kids to collect stones and wood for building the fire, then pack them off to play while the food is cooking. Finish off by toasting marshmallows on sticks. Have sandcastle or beach/forest art competitions. Have a treasure hunt with tiny packets of sweets and you can forget party bags – they will be having so much fun, they won’t care! yourmoneysorted.co.uk
What about a garden party?
The best one we had, we just filled up the paddling pool in the garden and invented crazy games which involved running round filling up cups on the way through the pool and emptying to a container the other end. The kids loved it. Then we just had party finger food and ice-lollies outside. Didn’t cost much at all! missmanypennies.com
We had an outdoor party in our garden. We used the toys we already had such as the Wendy house, the sand pit and the mud kitchen and added things like chalk and paint into the mix. My 3 year old and her friends loved it! Then we all went inside for crisps and cake. https://lookingafteryourpennies.com/
Saving money on party bags
At my daughter’s party we made bracelets for the girls instead of giving a party bag to each child. I also took a group photo of the party and quickly printed the pictures out whilst they were playing. I gave each child a photo to take home with them and many of the parents text after saying it was a great idea and their kids loved having a photo of the day. It’s a good way to sometimes save on expensive party bag items www.lyliarose.com
Instead of filling party bags with little toys, why not look at giving them all a book or soft toy that you can buy in bulk. (The parents will thank you for not giving them whistles/balloons for the journey home 😂😂) Twinderelmo.co.uk
Cheap party activities
So, you’ve decided on a party in the park or a cheap party at home – but how are you going to keep the little angels occupied for two hours without spending a fortune on entertainers or games for them?
Buy a colouring book where pages can be ripped/cut out easily, give each kid one and put a mug of crayons on the table.
Avoid the party over lunch time so that you can just give simple snacks making it cheaper. www.mybump2baby.com
Buy a cheap speaker with Bluetooth (no more than £10) and link it to your phone. You’ll have a ready-made sound system which you can use at other parties, or just in your garden. www.householdmoneysaving.com
Buy (or make) some vanilla cupcakes (super cheap in Aldi and lots can be found dairy free if needed) or gingerbread men and make a decorating station, with sprinkles, dolly mixtures etc and bowls of icing for them to create an edible master piece. We usually do this at home with just a rich tea biscuit!! Readyfreddiego.com
Use retro games – new to modern children so they love them. At one party we had a box with a hole in it and put different things in and they had to guess what it was by feel. I kid you not – kept them amused for hours! https://kateonthinice.com
My daughter wanted a few friends over for a movie night last year so I made a load of huge pizzas from scratch (much cheaper than ordering take away) and let them choose their toppings. They watched a film together so I bought some paper popcorn boxes (like from the cinema) and filled them up with shop bought popcorn (much nicer than cinema stuff!) www.livingwithajude.co.uk
Make you own cake and use food that you know will go further, like pasta and rice. https://www.mimiroseandme.com
I always schedule my kids’ parties in the afternoon. Snacks are cheaper than lunch or dinner. www.myparentingjourney.com
The birthday cake
Cake is often a huge expense if you get someone to make it for you. Instead, you can buy a large traybake from the supermarket/Costco and customize it with their favourite things – miniature toy characters or princess crowns etc.
Holding a birthday party for your child honestly doesn’t need to cost a fortune. All of these ideas WILL help to make your budget birthday party a resounding success!