If you are like us, we live on a budget with only one and a partial income. We are always looking for ways to save money and work on paying down debt. That means throwing a party is an additional cost to the monthly budget.

A child’s birthday party can be quite expensive. To go to a local facility can cost anywhere from $150-$500 or more! Although the convenience of not having to clean up the possible disaster in your home after is appealing, those of us living on a budget can’t afford such an extravagance for our kid’s birthday parties.

Here are a few ways to throw a kid’s birthday party, on a budget. Some of these ideas the budget is less than $50.

 

Time of Day: Choose a brunch-time
After throwing several late afternoon parties (mostly due to nap at the time), we realized it was far more expensive. People, kids and adults, expected dinner. Dinner is much more expensive to buy ingredients for, prepare, or purchase catered.

Menu: Keep it simple and don’t overdo it
By choosing a brunch time you can do something like this: (for a party of 25 adults, and/or children)
2 breakfast casseroles (9X12 pans) – one with meat and one without (feeds 25)
Banana nut muffin, or something similar – feeds 16 (not everyone wants muffins). Made from pantry items already on hand.
Orange juice, water and coffee

The cost of the eggs, and bread for the casserole at Aldi are $2.30 (and some pantry items from home.) I use a Taste of Home recipe from a cookbook I have on hand. The orange juice is about $1.89.

Do you have quite a lot of kids coming and not sure if the breakfast casserole will fly?
2 breakfast casseroles (9X12 pans) – one with meat and one without (feeds 25)
Waffles and syrup (1 package)
Bacon – 1 package
Orange juice, water

 

 

Decor
We are big DIY people. There are many Pinterest items, and printables online, or you can make something yourself. Themes are helpful and you can always make a lanyard of your child’s name or the phrase Happy Birthday. You can even find printable table decor online! This will cost you less than $5 to decorate.

Don’t have a home printer? Don’t want to use your ink, or just not creative? Dollar Tree (for $1 per item) has tons of decorations. For less than $5 you could decorate the same way as listed above.

The Cake or Cupcakes
We have at least two gatherings each year for our son’s birthday. We have around 25 people per gathering. We are able to have a ¼ sheet cake or two dozen cupcakes per party.

To make these items from scratch would cost you less than $5 if you had to buy the ingredients. In fact, you might be able to make them from your pantry from scratch as it exists. Of course, if you were to buy a box cake mix you would spend more.

For those of you, who are not creative bakers you can purchase from a terrific dessert artist. We paid $25 for a ¼ sheet cake in any theme (she’s done farm, Bubble Guppies in cakes for me) and an art theme cupcake, as well as Lego cupcakes. Prices are $25-30 for each one.

 

Take Home Gifts for Kids
When we threw an art party two years ago, the kids decorated their own 5X7 art canvas, which was on an easel and they had their own smocks. Their art, the easel and the supplies (along with some kiddie tattoos and stickers) were theirs to take. This is a more expensive way to do a kiddie bag, but still only costs $29.39 for 12 kids or less. That’s $2.50/kid.

This is also where Dollar Tree can come in handy on a budget. If you spend $5-10 you can have that many bags for kids filled with fun things. That cost would be $.41/kid.

Where Does that Bring Our Totals?
Lego Birthday party for 25 adults and a few kids:
$30 cupcakes purchased
$2.30 for breakfast casseroles
$1.89 for OJ
Homemade printed decor from items on hand, had kiddo build silverware holders out of Legos, and there were no take home bags at this gathering. We used all fabric napkins, silverware we had at home already, and coffee we had on hand.
Total: $34.19
Note: If you wanted to add Dollar Tree Kid bags you could still do this party for under $50. If you made your own cupcakes or cake this party could cost less than $25!

Art Party with 8 kids and about 20 adults:
$30 two dozen cupcakes in an art theme
$29.39 for the art activity and take home gifts
2 breakfast casseroles ($2.30), 1 package of waffles ($1.99), syrup (on hand, if not $.99) and 1 package of bacon ($3.79)= $9.07
$1.89 OJ
Homemade decor printed from home printer.
Total: $70.35
Note: In making your own cake or cupcakes this party would be under $50, even with the art kits for the kids.

Have you done parties on a budget? What did you do, and how much did you spend?

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Kate Bryant
Kate is a mother, wife, writer, and more! Her writing has been on Huffington Post Parents Blog, The Mighty, as well as other publications.