Throw a Great Birthday Party on the Cheap

By on May 29, 2013

Picking the theme for a child’s birthday party is fun!  There are so many to choose from it can feel a lot like Christmas time.  When you see all the themed items that are available, you may start to wonder just how much money it will take to pull off a great party.  It can get expensive! Fortunately, with a little planning and discipline, there are some smart ways to create a well designed theme while keeping things simple and affordable.

Be Selective

When choosing the theme, remember, you can always pick and choose exactly what items to get instead of grabbing every item available. No matter if your theme is Legos, Superman or just Circles, it’s not required to have your theme celebrated on every banner, invitation, paper plate, cup, balloon, streamer, napkin, and more.

Mix It Up

Themed items can be paired with simple colored accessories in the same general style.  Use cups and plates in an accent color rather than the themed image. Save the “good stuff” for table and room decorations, the things that will be seen during the entire party, and not hidden under the pizza.

Time To Get Creative

If you or a friend are of a particular talent, trace the characters onto large white paper tablecloths, brown paper bags, poster board, or other decorations, and let the children color them in.

Buying a sticker packet or booklet with your theme’s character is another low cost alternative to higher priced items. Each child can decorate the tablecloth and goodie bags with their own stickers and you double the fun, the whole time saving a bundle.

Low Cost Party Games

Pinatas are a lot of fun and they are very cheap. Kids love whacking the heck out of the candy-filled party game that acts as a decoration too. You can find inexpensive Pinatas on Amazon or, with a little advanced planning, you can create your own using paper mache. Encourage your child’s creative side and make birthday planning even more fun.

Games don’t have to cost a fortune. A simple search online will result in tons of free printable game images and ideas. You can print off Bingo cards, mazes, coloring pages, Pin-the-Tail games, trading cards to color and swap, and so much more. Remember to choose the economy setting on your printer, using less ink and saving you even more money.

Do Your Own Theme Invitations

Themed birthday invitation cards ain’t cheap! However, you can search for images and ideas on the web to create your own homemade themed invitations for literally a few pennies each. Just do a search on your child’s chosen theme character and you’re good to go. Depending on how old your child is, you can print them out in black and white and spend a day together coloring them all before delivering them. Or, you can choose to print them out on glossy paper with color to make them look more like the store bought copies.

Stickers could come in handy again. Use construction paper or other sturdy paper and write the details of the party inside, then fold and put a fun sticker of your theme character on the outside flap. Use glitter glue or other embellishments if it tickles your fancy.

Decorate the Birthday Cake Yourself

When it comes to the birthday cake, you can spend a small fortune for a themed cake from a bakery or you can save the cash by creating one of your own design. Again, put your computer to work printing off an image of the theme character or characters. Then, you can create a scene on top of a plain cake frosted in complimentary colors by making cut-outs of the images you printed out and arranging them around the top of the cake.

You can buy a plain pre-made cake, or a cake mix made at home, or a cake made from scratch, if you want to skip the expense of the bakery. A simple rectangular cake works well, is easy to decorate, cut and serve, and goes a long way. Again, kids eat smaller portions than adults and will be happy to have a piece of cake or two to eat, so don’t worry about getting it perfect. (But, make enough to feed any adults too!) Be creative, use cut-outs and colors to match the themed characters, and the result will be more than perfect… it will be fun!

With a little creativity and some planning, you can host the perfect themed birthday party and make your little one very happy, even on a low budget. Use your imagination, do some research on the web for bargains, and next year the other parents will be asking you for advice on throwing the perfect birthday party on the cheap.

About Mrs. Happy Little Shopper

Mrs. Happy Little Shopper (aka Colleen Conger) is Mommy to 7 year old Toby, wife to Mr. Happy Little Shopper, and a graphic/web designer at Digital Photo and Design, LLC. She's a font freak and geeky tech girl. Feel free to connect with her personally on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.