How to Throw a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Tight Budget

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A kid’s birthday can be one of the most important annual events for them. If parents are on a tight budget, it’s understandable to feel as if that budget limits the celebration. However, it doesn’t have to be like that at all! There are plenty of ways to throw an amazing birthday party on a tight budget, especially for kids!

Finding Entertainment for a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Tight Budget

The entertainment can make or break a kid’s birthday party. Here are a few ways to make it memorable even with a tight budget:

  1. Use Your Library—The library has tons of books, games, movies, and T.V. shows that can be rented out. This type of entertainment should occupy a whole group of kids for a while.


  1. Use the Venue Itself—If the birthday party is at a museum, or even right in the backyard, make the best of what is around you to entertain your party guests without spending a fortune.


  1. Board Games/Classic Games/Video Games—Board games are a classic way to spend a few hours. For short term fun, try simple games like charades or duck-duck-goose. For older children, video games are another option that can be great for parties.


  1. Ask for a Favor—If you know someone who may be willing to dress up as a character for a birthday party for a low cost, ask them!

Handling the Cost of Food for a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Tight Budget

Food can quickly become one of the most expensive costs associated with a birthday party. Hosts may consider buying snacks, main courses, drinks, and of course the birthday cake.

Here are a few ways to cut down on food costs:

  1. Consider a Potluck—Chances are you may know the parents of the other children attending your kid’s birthday party. If not, now may be a good time to get to know them.


If you feel comfortable, offer the adults a chance to stay and mingle for a while, and ask to see if they wouldn’t mind bringing a dish with them. This can save you a good amount of money by saving on party food. Family members are great for this too!

  1. Think About the Time of the Birthday Party—This may not seem like an obvious solution, but it is a good strategy. Instead of having a party during dinner time (where food costs tend to be the highest), consider a breakfast or lunch-time party.
  1. Think Smarter—There are tons of food options that are cost-effective and super easy to make. Here are a few for each meal:
  • The Breakfast/Brunch Party — French toast, an egg bake, baked loaves (you can sneak some veggies in), classic eggs, bacon, and pancakes!
  • The Birthday Lunch—PB and J sandwiches (cut them into fun shapes), baked potatoes, tacos, or pizza.
  • The Classic Birthday Dinner—Pizza, pasta, any type of casserole, or even a crock-pot dinner.
  1. Bake Your Own Cake or Cupcakes—For many kids, this is one of the most important parts of their birthday.


There are all kinds of recipes and tools out there that can be used to create a tasty masterpiece from scratch or from a box—whatever fits your baking skills and budget. Birthday cupcakes can sometimes be an easier and cheaper route too!

Venue and Decorations for a Kid’s Birthday Party on a Tight Budget

Another large cost with a birthday party will be the venue and the decorations. Here are a few ways to save on both.

For the Venue:

  • Have a Party at Home—If your house can accommodate all the guests, try and host the party at home. It will actually cut costs for a lot of other things likes like food and transportation.


  • Go to a Public Park—If the weather calls for it, a party outside at a public park can be even more exciting than an indoor party for kids. Not to mention, it should keep costs within budget.


  • Consider Going to a Place that has Free Admission for Kids—There are tons of institutions like museums, aquariums, and planetariums that offer free admission to children. This can be educational, fun, and cost-effective.

For the Decorations:

  • DIY—The internet has everything you would want to know about decorating on a budget without sacrificing glamour!
  • Skip the Theme—Although a theme may look nicer on Instagram, unless your kid is extremely set on having a themed party, skip it altogether. Sticking to a theme can cut down on cheaper alternatives for everything.
  • Shop Ahead—If you have time to plan, see if you can find items in the clearance aisle!

Saving on Birthday Presents on a Tight Budget

There will surely be presents at a birthday party, but your child may be most excited about the present that you—the parent or guardian—are getting them.

Here are a few ways to fit that cost into your tight budget.

  1. Be Open About the Limit on Presents—Sometimes, honesty is the best approach. Be honest with your child about what the expense-limit is for a birthday present and what they can expect. This will teach them the value of money.
  1. Consider Several Smaller Inexpensive Gifts Instead—Sometimes less is more. In this case, that is literally the idea. Instead of one huge, expensive gift, consider getting them several cheaper options.


  1. Consider an Experience Over a Present—Consider doing something special and one-on-one with your child. This could be a day at the beach, at the park, or at their favorite restaurant.

If you are on a tight budget and have a birthday party to plan, you may be a little nervous, but you don’t have to be! There are plenty of ways to have an amazing, kid-friendly party even on a tight budget!

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