Birthday Parties on a Budget


When finances are tight and times are tough, it’s more important than ever to try and maintain as much normalcy for young family members as possible – and sometimes that incudes birthday parties. You may think you can’t afford a nice birthday party, but in fact, a great party does not need to cost much at all and kids will remember fun, friends, and laughter – not the fact that their cakes or tablecloths didn’t have pictures of celebrities on them, that there wasn’t a bounce house or getting a makeover at a Fort Lauderdale hair salon.

First of all, go generic on your party supplies. Unless you unearth a fantastic sale, stick with general themes (such as “rock star” instead of any specific band or singer).  Also, plan to make your own dessert. Limit the party food to cake and ice cream, and make the cake (or cupcakes) yourself to save a ton of money. Check and see if you have any friends with special talents – maybe you know someone who can make balloon animals or juggle. And the Internet is a great resource for party game ideas that won’t cost a cent.

Also try one of these ideas for a fun birthday celebration theme offered by Embassy Loans and your child will never know your birthday budget was tiny:

1. Luau

Luau themed parties are perfect for birthdays that fall in the summertime. If you have a pool available for use, that’s perfect – if not, no problem. Hit the dollar store for some great luau decorations, maybe pull the Christmas lights out of storage to string up around the party area, and serve fruit punch in cups with little drink umbrellas – they cost next to nothing. Remember to ask guests to bring swimsuits and towels for wet fun like water balloon toss and slip ’n’ slide.

2. Treasure Island

Make your own Jolly Roger flag from an old pillowcase; pick up inexpensive packages of eye patches and “tattoos” from a party supply store. Don’t forget the treasure hunt – ahead of time, prepare a map that leads to the booty (or, think scavenger hunt and write out a set of clues that each lead to the next clue). The treasure can be lots of gold coin candies (by the way, right after Christmas is a great time to get them at a fraction of the regular price). Make over classic party games with a pirate theme: have a three-legged race but call it Peg Leg Dash, or play musical chairs, but have players who get caught without a seat walk the plank.

3. Fiesta

Again, decorations suitable for this theme can often be found at a dollar store or party supply store at very reasonable prices. Try plastic sombreros, red, white, and green table covers and balloons, and a craft activity where kids make maracas out of plastic bottles, paint, and beads. Don’t forget to play some fitting music and invite guests to dance in a conga line with their maracas! If you have any room in your budget for a splurge with this theme, go for either a taco bar or a piñata – both lots of fun.