Throwing a party for your child can not only be stressful but also very expensive. The pressure can be on to arrange the most extravagant event of the year, and if your son or daughter wants to invite the whole class the costs can soon mount up. If you’re on a budget, the very thought of coming up with kids birthday party ideas can be terrifying. How can you compete with the mum who took the whole class to Legoland? The good news is that you don’t have to! In fact, there are plenty of inexpensive birthday party ideas that your child will love and that will impress their friends without having to spend a fortune.
Are you ready for some birthday party ideas on a shoestring?
Read on and find out our seven top tips that will make sure you stay within your budget!
1. Get The Timing Right
Our top tip for reducing the cost of your child’s birthday party is to get the timing right. There’s no need to make it an all-day event – that’s just going to push the cost up. On the other hand, no child is going to be satisfied with a quick 30 minute trip to the park! The key is to find a happy medium. A three hour-long party is perfectly acceptable and more than enough for most children. If you then plan to hold the party between 2pm and 5pm you can slash your costs even more. Since this time slot is between lunch and dinner, you won’t be expected to give your child’s guests a full sit-down meal!
Of course, food is always a key part of any party, but when you’re only giving your young guests snacks, it cuts the cost of having to supply hot food. Popcorn, crisps, sweets and pretzels are all relatively inexpensive and minimize the time and effort you have to expend on preparing food.
2. Plan In Advance
Our second tip is almost as important as the first. The earlier you start planning for your child’s birthday celebration the less panicked you’re going to be at the last moment. If you leave everything until a couple of days before the party you’re going to end up running around like a headless chicken and, inevitably, spending more than you need to on fun party supplies. If you start hunting out your party necessities weeks before the big day itself, you’ll be certain of getting the lowest prices and the best deals. You’ll have time to shop around, compare prices and go online for items that need to be delivered.
Early preparation will also help you to avoid running out at short notice to buy items which you’ve forgotten. Draw up your birthday party planner checklist well in advance with all of the items you’re going to need. You’ll have plenty of time to write a comprehensive party shopping list with absolutely everything you’ll require from all-important birthday cake to the pre-filled party bags.
Planning well in advance will also help you to avoid the traps that so many parents fall into. If you’re looking for inexpensive birthday party ideas, you won’t want to spend extra on mini packs of sweets or chocolates when you could buy a large pack for a fraction of the cost and simply split them into separate sandwich bags for every child.
Planning in advance also allows you to save money in other ways. You may even be able to get together with another parent whose child’s birthday is around the same date and save costs by hosting a joint celebration. As long as both of your children are friends, this could be one of the best party planning tips for reducing your level of responsibility and instantly halving the expense of hosting the event.
3. Be Creative With Entertainment
Entertainment is one of the areas in which costs can really mount up. Parents often feel that they need to arrange for professional entertainment for their young guests. This can take the form of magicians, clowns, a DJ or actors in superhero or princess costumes. Some parents take it a step further and take the entire party group to an activity centre, theme park, swimming pool or other attraction for the day. As you can imagine, this is very expensive.
If you’re seeking out inexpensive birthday party ideas, you can easily host a fantastic party in your own home, immediately eradicating the need to hire a venue. Children don’t really need endless entertainment to enjoy themselves, they just need to be kept busy with fun childrens party activities. If you remember back to your own childhood, you probably rarely went to a party with hired entertainers. Instead, there were traditional party games or perhaps a rented video with popcorn! Kids today are just as happy with the same things, and they’re a much more affordable choice.
Obviously the days of videos are long gone, but kids are more than happy to watch a favourite movie with their friends as long as they have sufficient snacks and treats to see them through the action! You could even add some theming to your party that fits in with the movie. For example, if you’re putting on a superhero movie for your young guests to watch, you can ask children to come in costume and hand out party bags featuring superhero-themed treats.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for free activities that you can do in the comfort of your own living room, here are a few classic games which are either no-cost or involve only the cost of a small party bag filler style gift to hand out as a prize for the winners:
- Musical statues
- Musical chairs
- Musical bumps
- Balloon keepy-ups
- 3 legged races
- Simon Says
- Duck Duck Goose
- Pass The Parcel
- Colour Corners
4. Do It Yourself
It might be tempting to try to minimize your own workload, but if you need inexpensive birthday party ideas, taking responsibility for some of the primary elements of the occasion yourself could save you a fortune. We’ve already talked about hosting the event in your own home or garden rather than in a hired venue, however there are many other things you can do to save money.
Shop-bought birthday cakes can be very expensive, especially if you’re inviting a lot of guests. However, there’s no need to buy a cake when you can make your own at home. Even if you aren’t a great cook, there’s a lot you can do with a couple of boxes of cheap cake mix and some ready made frosting! Add some cake toppers and some candles and it’ll be just as good as any ready made cake but at a fraction of the cost.
Catering for the party yourself is another way to reduce your costs effectively. Obviously, this is a lot easier when you’re in your own home. If you hire a venue, they often want to provide the food for you and that works out at a very high cost. As we already pointed out, if you choose the right time for your party, you can eliminate the need to provide a full sit-down hot meal for your guests. This means you’ll only need to pay for snacks and inexpensive treats. However, even if you’re planning a full meal for your child’s friends, catering yourself will massively reduce the cost instead of getting caterers in or buying lots of pre-made party food that is ready to serve. Although it’s more of a hassle, it’s actually cheaper to prepare and serve individual hot meals than a full buffet. Think about it. A catering sized bag of chips and chicken nuggets is going to be much cheaper than having to make sandwiches, pizzas and sausages on sticks.
Another area in which you can save by doing it yourself is the party invitations. Yes, you could always buy paper invitations for your child to send out, but why not just send the guests invitations via text, social media or email? It’s quick and easy and, best of all, it’s completely free! It’s also easier to get a reply since parents are more likely to respond to an electronic invitation than a paper one.
5. Choose A Theme
The idea of an at-home party might not be too appealing to your child, but you can make the occasion more exciting by choosing a theme. This doesn’t just make the event more fun for the attendees but it also makes it easier for you to draw up your party shopping list. When you’ve chosen a theme for the party, you can focus all your planning around it. Themed decorations, party bags and food are often easy to obtain and reduce a lot of the work burden on your shoulders. Shopping online is the easiest and quickest way to find themed party necessities that children will love. Since shopping online is also usually cheaper than shopping in-store, you can save money this way too.
6. Ask For Help
Sometimes, you simply don’t have the time or the skills to arrange the entire party yourself, and that’s ok. We all have busy lives, and a birthday party can be very time-consuming to plan and execute. That’s why so many mums and dads end up opting for venue hire, hired entertainers or a party at an activity centre or attraction because it saves time and energy. While that makes sense, it causes the costs to mount up. One way to eliminate this problem and still keep your cost low is to call in help from friends and family. Usually, your loved ones won’t mind helping out for an occasion as important as your child’s birthday and will be more than happy to lend their time, talents and skills to the cause. If you have a friend who is a brilliant cook, for example, you can buy the ingredients and ask if they wouldn’t make making and decorating it on your behalf. If you have a friend who doesn’t mind dressing up as a princess or a superhero, you could provide them with a costume and ask them to turn up at the party to delight the guests. Even if you’re only asking for assistance in decorating your home and cleaning up afterwards, never be afraid to ask those around you to help out.
7. Keeping It Small
Sometimes, all the inexpensive birthday party ideas that you’ve suggested simply won’t hit the spot with your child. No matter how much you’d like them to be happy with an at-home party, sometimes your son or daughter will have set their heart on a swimming, trampolining or soft play party. While you could simply refuse, it’s important to remember that it’s your child’s special day, so some leeway may be acceptable in this case! Of course, not everyone can stretch to this kind of party, but whenever possible, you could give your choice of the party that they want but with just a couple of close friends as their guests rather than the whole class. This will ensure that your child has the party that they’ve been dreaming of and can share it with those who are closest to them while you can keep the costs low and manageable. Also, by putting the ball in your child’s court – allowing him or her to choose between a small party at their chosen venue or a bigger party at home – you are helping to give them ownership over their big day.
We hope we’ve inspired you with our inexpensive birthday party ideas. With our seven top tips, we hope that we’ve helped to point you in the right direction to reducing the time, effort and, most importantly, expense of hosting a child’s birthday party so that you and your young guests can have an amazing time.