How to Save Money » Frugal Living

10 ways to save money on a birthday party

I don’t usually make a big deal about my birthday, I normally just have some family over and have dinner and open presents. But birthdays for my kids are always a big event. Even though it’ll be a memorable day for them, I always plan to save money while planning their birthday parties.

  1. Plan ahead, just like other gift-giving events such as Christmas. Planning ahead for a birthday party includes both budgeting throughout the year and picking up deals on presents and decorations when you see them.
  2. You can save big by holding the party at your own house. While it might be tempting to hold a party for your child at an amusement park, this can cost you hundreds of dollars.
  3. While there may not be much room at your house, keeping the invite list short can save you more in food costs.
  4. If you truly need a larger location, check some publicly funded places like libraries or the zoo.
  5. Stop by a dollar store for anything from gift wrap and cards to streamers and balloons.
  6. Bake your own cake. You can pick up a box of cake mix and some icing for just a few dollars instead of having one made for ten times the price.
  7. For food, you can save money on groceries at Costco to get a great price on a large amount of hamburgers, hot dogs and other birthday treats.
  8. Having your child’s friends over? Plan frugal activities like musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey.
  9. You can create inexpensive treat bags by filling them with candies and stickers.
  10. Instead of treat bags, you could plan an activity that allows them to take something home. This is not only a fun activity, but the kids will enjoy it more than just a bag of cheap plastic toys.

Bonus: Get free stuff on your birthday, from free meals to special discounts!


  1. Mike Piper

    Ha! That’s a pretty great picture. Happy Birthday (soon) to your little one. 🙂

  2. WealthWebGuru

    Happy Birthday Christian. Don’t let your dad be too cheap!

  3. financialwizardess

    Ah, baby turning 1? You have so many birthdays ahead of you!!!

    As a mom of 3, I will share with you a few tidbits I’ve learned… Get a sheet cake from costco and “decorate” it with a few small “gifts” relating the party theme (littlest pet shops were a recent party for us, and they were a hit on the cake). Definately have the party at home. We invested in purchasing a bounce house at toys r us and use it every year. We also have a great backyard and sometimes purchase something for the yard that we get to enjoy year-round as part of the party planning/expenses. Bubble machines! Kids love em and they’re cheap. They add a festive atmosphere. Oriental Trading company – they have great crafts that we use as party time “filler” and then they take home their creation as their gift. Easy peasy lemon squeezy as my daughter would say. 🙂

    We save “expensive” parties for milestone years. Like the bouncy places for 5 year parties. Gives them something to look forward to. Best of luck on the party!!!

  4. Money Reasons

    Great tips.

    We don’t do anything for our birthdays either. It was all about the kids.

    But maybe I will start to have parties for my wife again.

    We do like to get wrapping paper from the dollar store. 🙂

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  5. Dd

    Another idea is to go to the grocery store and get a bunch of free boxes. Hand out the boxes and your kid will ignore all the other gifts!

    Save all those gifts to either return for cash or regift them next year!

    This was a joke… kinda 😉

  6. Dorothy @ Kids Birthday Party Places

    Excellent and helpful birthday party games. I will suggest this idea to my friends. Thank you for this very insightful post. More Power!

  7. Jen

    Last year we had a tropical themed party for our 8yr old daughter. At the dollar store I got napkins in turquoise and fushia, bags of shells, silk flowers and wooden picture frames. They all decorated the frames (my DH ran the hot glue gun) and we slipped in a picture of the group taken at the start of the party. I topped the homemade cake with shells, flowers and plastic fish from the dollar store. I really lucked out at the dollar store and also found DIY leis they could assemble, and best of all they glowed in the dark. In their loot bags they got their picture frame, their lei, some candy and a blowup beach ball (from where else, the dollar store).

  8. 1st birthday party ideas

    Planning and saving money for your son Christian’s first birthday party is really important!

    Make sure you think about all the souvenirs you can make/get (pictures, cake decorations that are not edible) and make sure you keep them to be able to show them to your kid at some point!

    And by the way, for wall decorations and table decorations most of them can be found at dollar stores as well! Especially if the theme is one of the new Disney or Pixar movie.

    Enjoy your son’s birthday!

  9. GotBarryJuice

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