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5 Birthday Celebration Ideas on a Budget

October 24, 2018 | By Louis Tully

As a parent, it’s completely understandable that you’d want to throw the best birthday party ever for your kid. But if a weak budget and an unexpected financial emergency put you in need for a car title loan, you might want to consider scaling back this year. That said, take a look at these 5 birthday celebration ideas while on a budget.

Where’s the Party?

When planning any birthday, the first order of business is picking a place to have the party. Since you’re still in the process of trying to get ahead financially, you might want to do some research and see what’s the best bang for your buck when picking a spot. Here are a few ideas that might help:

  • Bowling alley: Bowling alleys are staple birthday party destinations and for good reason too. For around $20 a child, you and your party could have a designated space for bowling with pizza, soda and ice cream all included. Check your local bowling alley for details.
  • Roller skating rink: Like bowling alleys skating rinks offer similar party packages that could make the whole party planning process a lot easier and, in many cases, cheaper.
  • A park: For around $60 - $100, you could reserve a space at your local park for some birthday party fun in the sun.
  • Your home: There’s no place like home to celebrate your kid’s big day. Invite your guests over for a fun afternoon of pizza, games, and cake!

Some of these ideas may fit your budget easier than others. If you’re planning on inviting more than 10 guests than the bowling alley might be out of the question. To make things more affordable, consider cutting back on the invitation list.


You have to have a theme for your kid’s big day. But just because you’re getting paper plates and napkins with Godzilla printed on them doesn’t mean you have to pay sky-high prices. Places like your local dollar store and Wal Mart sell birthday party sets for cheap. Not to mention you could order from Amazon and have a complete birthday party supply pack delivered straight to your door for only around $40 and free shipping.

However, if a licensed theme doesn’t quite make it into your budget, you can just stick with their favorite color. Kids care more about the games, pizza, and presents than the characters printed on the table cover.


Covering food for the party doesn’t have to cost half your paycheck, especially if you’re keeping your guest list limited to close friends and family. That said, it’s important to do some research and weigh out the pros and cons of say, ordering pizzas for everyone versus barbequing. You don’t have to order catering from Chick-fil-A to feed everyone in your kid’s birthday party. Here are some budget-friendly DIY ideas for party meals that both kids and adults will enjoy:

  • A pasta bar
  • Taco bar
  • A yummy casserole
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Cold cut sandwiches

If you’re really trying to spare as much cost as you can on this, you could just skip mealtimes altogether. Having a birthday party between meals (after lunch, before dinner) isn’t uncommon and for the sake of saving money, most parents prefer it. If nothing else, at least be sure to leave snacks out for everyone and a birthday cake for the end. As long as there’s cake, it’s a birthday party!


Kids love games! A little friendly competition between the kids will be sure to keep the party going. Try these cheap party game ideas:

  • Potato sack race: All you need are a few extra-large pillow cases and a lot of balance. Have the kids step into the pillowcase and hop for the finish line!
  • Three-legged race: You can still use those pillowcases for this one too!
  • Limbo: All you need is some music and a pole. If you don’t have a pole, a pool noodle or broom will do just fine. How low can you go?
  • Balloon wars: If it’s a hot day, the kids will love this one. Fill up some balloons with water, tie them off, and lay them out across the yard. Then, have the kids race to see who can stomp on the most balloons. You could always do a traditional water-balloon war too.
  • Egg and spoon race: A dozen eggs and some spoons are all you need to start the race. Have each kid hold their egg in the spoon while racing toward the finish line!


After a little friendly competition with some afternoon party games, now’s a good time to treat the kids to some prizes or goodie bags. You don’t have to go above and beyond here. Just fill a small bag with some candies and dollar store toys.

Use these ideas to put together a birthday party your kid will never forget without breaking a financial sweat. There’s nothing wrong with making some compromises here and there due to financial restraints. Just being there for your kid on their big day is enough to make them the happiest birthday kid on the block!