There’s a lot to love about birthdays. Blowing out candles on the cake, fun with friends, and commemorating the beginning of another trip around the sun are worth celebrating but aren’t worth maxing out your credit card. According to Netflix, 60% of parents are more interested in saving money than time when it comes to party planning so hosting budget friendly kid birthday parties are the way to go.
If you’re among the 71% who find birthday parties stressful, they don’t have to be. They should be a piece of cake because kids are easy! Since birthdays are really all about cake, friends, and getting to open some presents, it’s fine to throw fun budget friendly kid birthday parties.
As a veteran planner of elementary class parties for years and a mom with two middle schoolers, here are some of my favorite parent hacks for budget friendly kid birthday parties from over the years that will help keep costs low but the fun factor high plus tips from fellow parents who are pros when it comes to planning parties on a budget!
8 Parent Hacks for Budget Friendly Kid Birthday Parties
Hit the Dollar Store
Those party stores have cute stuff but if you’re trying to stick with a budget, hit your local dollar store first! When party planning, I head to Dollar Tree to grab supplies that are perfect for budget friendly kid birthday parties. Solid colored plates, napkins, tablecloths, and silverware are available for a fraction of the cost you’d pay at a party or big box store. The dollar store makes it easy to grab colorful party supplies, table decorations, and even helium balloons for less in colors that reflect a favorite superhero, princess, or character. If there isn’t a Dollar Tree nearby, you can also shop their website for packs of plates, napkins, party decorations, and more for $1 each!
DIY Digital Invites
Thien-Kim Lam of I’m Not the Nanny loves PicMonkey for creating fun invites that she prints out at home. For superhero loving kids, she suggests using the Comic Heroes theme fonts and overlays that come with the paid $33/year Royale options and then printing the invitations on your color printer to send. If you’ve never used PicMonkey before, it’s even easier thanks to the wealth of tips provided in Make Summer Party Invitations for All of Your Shindigs.
You can also save a stamp by emailing the graphic you create in an email. There are also lots of free party invitation options from Evite if you find yourself without time to design your own invitation.
Host it in Your Yard
The best budget friendly kid birthday parties are held at home. Mom of 2 sets of twins, Kris Cain of Little Tech Girl, suggests having a backyard party if the weather permits. There’s no shortage of birthday party activity ideas from Pinterest or just grab a bucket of sidewalk chalk for your driveway and let kids play. If your own yard feels a bit too small, head to a local park so kids have room to run.
Make Your Own Cake and Decorate it with Your Kids’ Toys
Another one of Thien-Kim’s budget friendly ideas to save money is to make a cake at home and use your child’s existing toy stash to decorate it. She planned a Spiderman birthday party in record time and made the super cute web-themed cake using her son’s Spiderman toys! A cake mix with pre-made frosting is perfectly fine but if you don’t like to bake or find yourself short on time, order a plain frosted cake from Costco (hooray for giant cakes for under $20!), raid your child’s toy bin, and decorate it with action figures, princesses, or other plastic figurines. Just be sure to wash the toys in dish detergent before putting them on the cake!
Simplify Gift Giving with a Gift Swap
Younger kids are all about presents but there comes a time when you can simplify, especially if you’re feeling like you have too much stuff in your house. Instead of bringing gifts for your child, tell families that you’re going to do a swap. Invite them to wrap and bring a favorite toy from their house, put them in a big basket upon arrival, and as kids leave, invite them to take a gift from the basket. Not only will your child get a new-to-them toy but other party-goers will go home with a new-to-them toy too!
Older kids who have a favorite cause might want friends to donate to their charity. This year Thomas decided that instead of presents, he wanted friends to donate to community cause that’s near and dear to his heart. Parents loved his big heart and the fact that they could make an online donation in Thomas’ name instead of shopping for a gift.
Hire Your Favorite Sitter to Help
The joy of outsourcing a party to a location other than your house is the extra assistance that comes with it but it also comes with a price. When my kids were little, I hired their favorite babysitter to come to our house for their parties. Our babysitter was always great help and she loved celebrating with our kids and their friends plus the fee of hiring her for two hours (even when I rounded up!) was a steal compared to the fee for birthday party venues.
Have Your Child’s Favorite Netflix Character Sing to Them
Skip the costume clad character rental fee in favor Netflix Birthdays- On Demand videos. With this new hack, parents can simply press play and kids’ favorite characters will sing them a special birthday greeting made just for them, or so they’ll think! This new Netflix feature lets parents take celebrations to the next level by letting kids celebrate with Trollhunters or Pokėmon, anytime, anywhere as an easier way to make their kids birthdays special.
Just searching “birthday” on Netflix will unlock a special performance from kids’ favorite characters, including DreamWorks All Hail King Julien, Barbie, Beat Bugs, DreamWorks Dinotrux, Las Leyendas, LEGO Friends, LEGO Ninjago, Luna Petunia, Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Pokemon, Project Mc2, Skylanders Academy, DreamWorks Trollhunters, and Word Party.
Make Thank You Notes Personal, Yet Easy
“I always take pictures as they open presents,” shared Michele McGraw of Scraps of My Geek Life. As a mom of 4, she says this helps her remember who gave what gift and after the party, she prints the photos to use as thank you cards. A group photo of all kids around the cake also makes for a nice memory as a thank you note. Using photos as thank you notes helps eliminate the need to buy separate thank you cards since you can have your child write their note on the back of the photo.
The bottom line? Keep it simple.
“Remember that kids are easy to please,” says Kris Cain, “so no need to spend a ton on fancy things.”
This post was inspired by Netflix. I am a Netflix Stream Team Member and while I am not compensated, my family does enjoy a complimentary Netflix subscription and other items for my involvement.