Birthdays on a Budget


I love throwing parties. So having three daughters is perfect!  I can throw parties at least three times a year!

However, when on a tight budget, throwing a party means using what I have and DIY-ing ALL. THE. THINGS.

So, I thought I’d share a few tips with you on how I throw fun and pretty parties on the cheap.


  1. Use what you have.

I like to choose a theme for my parties, but once I’ve done that I consider what items I already have that can be used for the party and this often determines my color choices, decor, activities, etc.

For Sonora’s first birthday party I had the following items:

scrapbook paper, ribbons and fabric, cardboard, paint, vases, chalkboard, various dishes and cake plates, baking ingredients, horse figurines, edible flowers and herbs, popsicle sticks, craft paper.

This allowed me to create multiple banners, a backdrop, decor, sugar cookies, chocolate and whipped cream cake, and a pin the tail on the horse game for no extra money.


2. Shop cheap.

I always buy my party plates and cups at the dollar tree and then “splurge” on a $3 packet of cute napkins from Home Goods.  I sometimes buy fun straws from the dollar spot at Target as well and then I have a stash to pull from. I spent $2 on plates and cups for this party.  I bought the ranunculas as a splurge and spent $12 total on the flowers, but they are still alive and decorating our home! I purchased the snack food from Food 4 Less and kept it simple: pretzels, caramel apples, and cream cheese/cucumber sandwiches.


3. Accept help.

As a sort of go-getter, independent type, I tend to say, “I’ve got it” when people ask if they can help.  But, I am reformed . . . a little.  Parents often love helping with parties.  This time around my mom brought all the drinks and my in-laws brought a veggie platter and some edible flowers for decor. Also, grandma’s Christmas present to Sonora was the fancy horse dress she wore at the party.


4. DIY

I’m going to admit that I almost ordered custom sugar cookies from this party.  But, then I found a 99cent unicorn cookie cutter and decided to make my own cookies (I cut the horns off, lol)! I also made a basic chocolate cake (2 layers with dollar store cake pans). I used whipped cream instead of frosting and then simply garnished with herbs and flowers from the garden as well as leftover scrap paper and one of my kids’ horse toys.

I purchased a few pieces of felt, iron on paper for her onesie (I used an old stained onesie), and one page of stick on gold glitter paper one package of pre-made flowers from Michaels.  I used a coupon and all of the decor cost me less than $12.

With these items I made the birthday crown, the high chair decor, the mini banner on the cake, the cake smash onesie, and the wording on the Pin-the-tail game.

The other item I love to DIY are the invites.  I buy a giant ream of cardstock that lasts forever and I use picmonkey to create a cute invite.  I print two invites per sheet of cardstock and then cut them.  I typically buy envelopes at Michaels with a coupon, which costs about $3 for 50 envelopes. I also hand deliver when I can to save on stamps!



5. Keep it simple

I like to have my parties at non-meal times.  This way I only need snacks and drinks, rather than a main course.

I stick to easy games and often print out coloring sheets.  This time I had horse coloring sheets and I used craft paper that was used as padding in a package I received earlier in the week to cut our horse heads for the kids to decorate.

I will admit that we had a mini horse at this party, but in my defense it was free and unexpected! This brings up a great point!  Ask friends to participate.  Do you have a friend that teaches art, juggles, does magic tricks, sings, etc.? They might love being a part of your party entertainment!





So, there you have it! A pretty party on a simple budget.  It was beautiful and fun and pretty easy to do!  Any questions?  Tips of your own?  I’d love to hear!




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