Each new year with your kids brings plenty of exciting milestones and changes, including the birthday celebration. You don’t have to break the bank, however, in order to make it a truly memorable day. With some creative planning and prepping, you can easily throw an awesome budget birthday party. We’ve rounded up some of the best tips to help you save money on your next bash. Keep reading to see them all.

photo: Shahrzad Warkentin

1. All About Location

Party places can seem like a good deal with all-inclusive packages and no clean-up, but once you get the final tab, you might suffer sticker shock. Instead, take the party to a location that won’t cost you a bunch. Your backyard or your living room, depending on the size of your guest list, can be a fun space with a little rearranging. A local park or the beach are also great options, but if you do plan to use a public space, just make sure you check the rules of the location in advance. Check out 2017's most popular birthday themes (they work anywhere!) here.

2. DIY Party Favors

Skip the typical plastic party assortment and give kids a favor they can make and take home. You’ll save money, and cover two bases by giving your party-goers an exciting activity that will keep the fun going once they head home. We've got a great list of party favors that double as activities,—see them all here. And check out our picks for party favors that cost $5 or less!

3. Serve Up Snacks

Minimize your food costs by planning your party between meal times. A party that starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 5 p.m. hits that perfect sweet spot of too late for lunch, but too early for dinner. Instead, serve up basic, kid-favorite snacks, like cut veggies and crackers. Another option is to focus solely on dessert, like an ice cream sundae station (this also provides a fun activity that will save on entertainment costs!).

4. Make Your Own Entertainment

It's time to think outside-the-box to help your guests have a blast.  Maybe you have a friend with a black belt that would be willing to give a martial arts demonstration or a pal with a guitar and vocal chops that will get the crowd on its feet. Another option is to go old school with traditional party games, like sack races or pin the tail on the donkey. Check out more ideas for classic party games here.

5. Go Green

Instead of paper invites, go digital with an Evite or if you want to make a personalized greeting, make a quick video you can share with friends to give them all the details. While you’re at it, consider skipping the paper goods altogether and using real serving ware. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also minimize all that post-party waste, which is a win all around. See other tips to help you throw an eco-party here.

photo: Gabby Cullen

6. Plan Ahead

Problem: you really can't handle dropping a big chunk of change all at once. Solution: try spending small increments throughout the year in preparation. For example, every time you hit the dollar store or see a bargain bin, collect party supplies and mini-trinkets you can stuff in a piñata or goody bag

7. Go Homemade

If you’ve got what it takes to go head-to-head in a cupcake war, fabulous. If not, then a semi-homemade cake or cupcakes can be as easy as buying a box of cake mix and frosting (we won’t tell and we guarantee your guests won’t either). Another fun option is to have your mini-master chefs decorate their own cupcakes (Bonus points for doubling as a party activity!). See our ultimate list of homemade cake recipes here.

8. Shop After the Holidays

No matter what time of year the party is, there’s likely a major holiday that has just passed. The moment Christmas or Valentine’s Day is over, make a store run and stock up on party supplies at a discount price. The kids will be so excited to grab that piñata loot, they won't even notice it's Halloween candy.

9. Throw a Joint Bash

Have a friend or sibling with a birthday in the same month? Team up for a shared party. Then, find small ways for each party child to get their moment in the spotlight so that they still feel like it’s their own special day. Sing "Happy Birthday" individually, for example, or let them each pick a party activity to lead.

10. Back to Basics

Emojis might be all the rage, but you can still throw an unforgettable party without having every single item emblazoned with them. Keep things simple and much less costly with a basic color scheme. And, a $5 bag of balloons can go a long way to add a festive touch. String them up to make a simple, but beautiful garland like this one from Pretty Providence.

What ideas do you have to help save money on parties? Share your ideas in a comment below. 

— Shahrzad Warkentin

featured image: AlainAudet via pixabay