How to Throw a Cheap Birthday Party


For my son’s birthday, I felt this immense pressure to throw a huge party for him. I would scroll through Pinterest and see these lavish ideas of how to celebrate your child’s birthday party, and I had no idea how I could measure up to that. I get it. Your child’s birthday is definitely something you should go big on and celebrate. You want to make it special, but let’s be honest. Although those Pinterest ideas look amazing, the bigger the party, the bigger the budget. And truthfully, planning a huge party was something my husband and I just couldn’t afford.

My husband and I got super creative with planning our son’s birthday party. We acknowledged that we had to cut back in some areas and improvise in others. We saved a lot of money and were able to get more bang for our buck by taking these cheap approaches. 

How to throw a cheap birthday party

Dollar Tree Is Your Friend

Dollar Tree has an entire aisle dedicated for party essentials. Everything you could need for a birthday party…they have it. Decorations, serving platters, table cloths, etc. I loved shopping the Dollar Tree for decorations because I got way more for less. I found that there was no need to spend a ton on the decorations because, to be honest, the kids probably won’t pay a ton of attention to it anyway. Get some streamers, a pack of balloons with some confetti, and it looks like you just stepped into the grandest party ever. 

Skip The Invitations

Creating a cute invite may seem like a necessity, but it isn’t. In this day and age, everything is conveniently done online. It’s free to create an Evite that sends an email invite to your guests or you can create a Facebook event inviting everyone that you want to be a part of the experience. You can update and add information to the invite online which makes it a great communication piece for planning your party. 

Skip The Big Venue

My husband and I opted to host our son’s party in our home. We rearranged the living room space and made into a mini play area for our guest. If having a party in your home isn’t an option, several local parks include picnic tables that you can set up for a party. Spacing is usually first come, first serve, but if you stake it out in enough time to grab a picnic space, you can throw a small playground party. The best part about having a party at a park is that the entertainment is already included for FREE. 

Choose The Right Time

We decided to host our son’s party between 2pm-4pm. It’s that small window between lunch and dinner when guests aren’t super hungry, but you can get away with serving something small. This helps with saving money and avoids overpaying to feed your guest a full feast for lunch or dinner. We served club sandwiches with chips, dip, and a veggie tray.  It turned out to be more than enough for our guests. 

Keep The Entertainment Simple

I am a huge proponent of utilizing what’s laying around for entertainment. Invent a game of balloon pop, hula hoop contest, or even take some chairs and pillows to create an obstacle course. Allow their imaginations to take over instead of paying for extra activities. 

DIY Birthday Cake or Cupcakes

If you’re great at baking, skip the store-bought birthday cakes and make your own. It doesn’t have to be made from scratch. The baking aisle of the grocery store has a ton of cake options that are prepackaged. All you have to do is add eggs and water. If you can’t bake, stores like Publix have a sheet cake for $20 and often include a FREE smash cake too if you ask for it. 

Need some more birthday party ideas? Don’t forget to check out our Ultimate Guide to Birthday Parties around Charleston

What are your favorite ways to throw a birthday party on a budget?