6 Ways We Saved On Our Kids Birthday Parties

Our kids are growing up quick, and in the past month they’ve both hit new numbers for their birthday.  Little Boy Beagle just turned 4 last month and Little Girl Beagle turned 2 on Saturday!

Birthdays are always great, and this was the first year that both of them got excited about their birthdays, Little Boy more so than Little Girl.

However, we recently celebrated their birthdays, and were able to do so in a fun, easy way that really saved us some money.  Here are six ways we saved!

  1. Combined their parties – Being that their birthdays are only 20 days apart, we were able to throw a combined celebration that took place between their actual birthdays.  This may not fly down the road, but we pulled it off and made them both happy by having a combined theme party that they both loved.  This years theme was “Mickey and Minnie Party”
  2. Limited the guest list – For each of the kids first birthday parties, we invited pretty much everybody in our family, including aunts & uncles, cousins, as well as a lot of our close friends.  While we love our family, we kept the invite list to immediate family, and only invited a couple of families with some of the kids really close friends.
  3. Kept the menu simple – This year, we kept the menu to hot dogs, corn, and macaroni and cheese, and watermelon slices for the main items.  Who doesn’t love those items, and they’re all easy to make?  In the past, items like regular salad, fruit salad, or other dishes were popular, but took a lot longer to make.  This menu allowed us to put together a really cool fixings bar for the hot dogs, and keep the rest of it simple, so that we could spend more time with our guests rather than preparing food.
  4. Re-used decorations and supplies – We were able to re-purpose some of the decorations from earlier parties, and also had some generic party supplies from parties past that kept our costs down.  Does anybody really remember that we used blue plates for cake last year? Didn’t think so.
  5. Make one thing memorable – My wife came up with a great idea for something that was a standout item, but took pretty minimal effort.  She made ‘party labels’ for water bottles.  We simply peeled off the old label and used packaging tape to put on new labels customized to our party and our kids.  My wife designed them on the computer weeks before the party, and we put them on in an hour a few days before the party.  Time spent during the party: None!
  6. Kept the drink menu simple – Some beer, a few bottles of sangria (thanks, Costco), the aforementioned water bottles, iced tea, and some coffee kept people satisfied and gave something for everyone without having to buy 10 different bottles of soda (which all come away half empty) or worry about large containers for dispensing various items.

It was a great party and  we got to enjoy it while still feeling like we put on a nice menu and a great theme.   Best of all, the kids loved it!


21 thoughts on “6 Ways We Saved On Our Kids Birthday Parties”

  1. I think there has been a trend over the years to make birthdays a huge deal. I think it is more for the adults than it is for the kids. Focusing in on what is important makes the party much more realistic and less expensive.

  2. I wonder if people have done the ROI on birthday parties. I don’t really have wealthy friends so I would suspect mine is pretty low.

    Making it memoriable is also really important, so it stands out from the rest of the days of the year.

  3. I give my oldest three choices: Expensive thing alone (petting a dolphin–which doubles as his birthday present, sailing on the Chesapeake, etc.), semi-expensive thing with limited friends (as many kids as we have free passes at Six Flags plus their lunches, Medieval Times with two friends, etc.), or at-home-with-pizza-and-cake for unlimited friends. He’s done all three, and the total price tag stays reasonable.

    I’ll do the same for my daughter once she gets a bit older.

  4. Those are reasonable ways to save money on the kid’s birthday parties. I don’t think children that young really care how much money was spent on their party.

  5. Great tips. I threw a party for my youngest the other week and saved a TON by making our own food and cake. We slow cooked a huge pork shoulder (which was cheap!) and made tacos. It was also nice to get some of the other kids in on the cake decorating too. It really is about memories and not money. 🙂

  6. You can also get balloons and other party items very cheaply at your local dollar store. The Dollar Tree usually has a better section of those items than others do. I did pretty well with a $25 budget for one of my kids birthday parties are few years ago by using them for supplies.

    • Yeah, dollar stores seem to have good prices but the downside is that they tend to have a pretty limited selection of items, so you have to be very flexible which can be a deal breaker if you have a particular theme

  7. My mom subconsciously did all these things when she threw my sister and I birthday parties. We are October 28th and 29th, so of course it made sense to combine parties. The last thing you could add is to have the party at a park, especially when your kids are young and all their friends are athletic.

  8. My hubby’s best friend and his wife had a boy born 2 days before our son. Each year for the past 3 birthdays we celebrated their birthdays together and had one party.

    The first year we invited immediately family (grandparents) and some adult friends and their kids. The past two years it was just the two families and the grandparents.
    We’ve had the party at a local restaurant each year (my hubby and his parents have been eating at this restaurant since he was a little kid). They don’t charge us for the space, people can get and pay for their own food if they want, or eat beforehand somewhere and just enjoy the party and cake. We split the cost of the cake between the two families. One of the grandparents pick up balloons. We don’t decorate. At this age, they just enjoy the food, family, cake and presents. 🙂

    I’m sure as they get older we’ll do more, but so far we like using this restaurant. It was especially great the first year since we didn’t have to clean up!! 1 year olds with food/cake was quite a sight! We did live a nice tip of course for the mess, but I’m glad I didn’t have to clean up.

  9. We never had any birthday parties when we were kids. It is always just a special dinner at a restaurant or special menu (the birthday kid’s choice) at home with grand parents. I hope to continue that tradition but peer pressure for my kids might make me do parties? I don’t know. I would be using Costco to the full extend possible and dollar tree.

  10. Great tips! It is nice when two birthday’s are close to each other and there is one big party! Saving the birthday decorations and candles for the following year if they’re not too destroyed definitely a good idea too!

  11. its great you were able to combine their bdays together. My brother and I share the same bday so their was never a issue there. With our kids however I just feel they are too far apart to try and make them share to save money. I like the limited guest list and for food I usually hit the grill since it seems we save a lot more money.

  12. So glad your little one’s had a good party… I always had pretty simple birthday parties growing up and never felt like I was missing out. I plan on making out kiddo’s parties special without breaking the bank. Having them involved as they get older helps too- makes them feel like they had a big part in the party and that people are enjoying something they helped with.

    • Yeah, we figure it’s probably the last year we’ll get away with setting the theme. This year we did ‘ask’ our oldest, even though we sort of guided him into making it feel like it was his idea. Probably not going to get by with that anymore 🙂

  13. Awesome. I love simple parties. I think guests enjoy them, too. One of the most creative parties we ever had for our twins was also incredibly cheap. Our kids like baseball so we met at a local field, brought my daughter’s little Karaoke machine with a microphone and a few songs, and created two teams. We announced the players with the microphone as they came up to bat, had hot dogs and soft drinks. Kids talked about that party for a long, long time.

    • That’s cool. Sometimes you have to remember to put the kids first when it comes to figuring out what are the best things to do and such.

  14. We usually have limited number of guests during parties. Mostly are just the closest friends and relatives and we do some customization of the decorations and prepare simple and easy to prepare foods.

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