Last updated on January 24th, 2020 at 07:21 pm
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)
Today is my eldest sons birthday. He is 18 years old now and long out grown childhood birthday parties with cakes, hats, streamers, balloons and party games, but in celebration of his 18 years I thought I would share my 18 years as a thrifty parent wisdom with you.
How To Save Money On Birthday Parties For Kids
1. Get what supplies you can on clearance
After Christmas sales use to be my favorite source for goody bag fillers. I would find stocking stuffer sized Lego sets for up to 70% off and save them to give out at my son’s birthday parties.
I also would find plain red and green paper plates, napkins and cups marked down to as much as 90% and would save them for birthday parties.
2. Get the rest of your supplies at the dollar store
My daughter of course always wanted a more girly color than red an green so for her birthday party supplies I hit the dollar store for purple plates at $1 a package. I also love the clear plastic loot bags sold at the dollar store.
3. Make your own cake
If your child wants a themed cake, don’t feel like you have to be an expert cake decorator to pull it off. Instead go to the toy department and see if you can find a small figurine of their favorite characters. The best part about this is they get to keep the toy.
4. Keep decorations simple
I always hit the dollar store for my kids birthday party decorations, 2 packages of streamers and 2 packages of balloons and a Happy Birthday sign we have used over and over and we are set.
5. Stick to simple games and simple prizes
Wrap up a coloring book and a box of crayons as many times as you can with a roll of dollar store wrapping paper and play pass the present. Buy a plain white sheet of poster board and do your best outline of a donkey, then cut up a bit of streamers for tails. Give out a $1 box of candy as the prize.
One year I made a treasure hunt and at the end was the kids loot bags.Another year the whole party was a water fight game, and all the party attendees got to take home the dollar store squirt guns they used during the battle as their party loot.
6. Focus on the guests not the decor
The best advice I can share with you, is the wisdom found in the classic Mary and Martha story. The memories of childhood birthday parties are found in the time spent with friends, not the fancy plates you ate off for 10 seconds and then threw in the garbage. The memories are found in that cool water gun fight mom let you play in the backyard with all your friends for your 6th birthday party, and not in the fancy cake we got from the bakery that year.
Keep things simple and focus on the memories. Make sure you as a parent, get out of the prep work for a while and get involved in the fun too! Mingle with the parents who come and stay, heck participate in the kids games with them. Our kids are still talking about the year their dad threw another parent in the kiddy pool during the water fight birthday party.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.