From a fugal mama herself, here is how to throw a kid’s party for cheap. And it doesn’t have to be a kid’s party, as these tips work for any parties you want to throw. I am no party planning expert by any means, but I am one frugal mama who loves to save money!
As a former couponer and still addicted to saving, I try to cut costs in any way I can without taking away from the fun. I have gotten a lot of compliments from family and friends for the parties I throw and to be quite honest, I didn’t realize I was all that creative.
I love coming up with fun themes and outside the box ideas for my kid’s parties. I am personally not a fan of the character parties with my kids’ newest cartoon show obsession. I’m not opposed to it, but there are some even cooler ideas out there that really help make budgeting easier.
For my son’s first birthday, we did a really fun carnival theme. Luckily, I found everything at my local dollar store and was really surprised they have decor to go with our theme. Below you will see photos from his party.
Fast forward to now having three kids and have thrown many parties, the dollar store is amazing! My son and middle daughter usually have a combo party since their birthdays are only 2 weeks apart. We have done a taco themed party, St. Patty’s day and Easter brunch (my son’s birthday fell on Easter one year). For my Christmas baby, we did a Grinch theme and it was seriously so cute!
I try to find the ways to throw cute yet memorable parties on a tight budget. It can be done, so don’t feel like you need to spend a ton of money or feed into the ridiculous party decor packages.
I took many suggestions from friends and ended up taking the advice of shopping at the dollar store before anywhere else. I was able to check out nearly everything off my list there.
Here is how to throw a kid’s party for cheap:
Food is usually the biggest expense. Depending on the theme you are going for, you might get the best bang for your buck at Costco. We did a hot dog bar which made it super fun, cheap and easy. Kids love hot dogs, adults love hot dogs, that was a win win! We bought 48 buns for $5, 48 hot dogs for $25 and a set of bulk condiments for only a few bucks. We fed 30-40 people for less than $35. That’s about $1 per person!
When we cater food, it is usually a minimum of $10/person, so if you stick to cheap and easy foods like a hot dog bar, you can save a lot of money that way.
I also bought $1 popcorn containers at the dollar store that I used for holding chips and popcorn. Chips and popcorn were cheap at Costco. I made 48 cupcakes using boxed cupcake mix for only $2. I made my own frosting using powdered sugar and milk. I topped them with some carnival tickets which were only $1 for a large pack.
Instead of spending money on bottled waters, fill up a water pitcher to serve water in. Make homemade lavender lemonade or something festive you can make at home.
For booze, stick to Costco and buy in bulk.
Dollar store, dollar store, dollar store! They have utensils of every color and even larger ones for serving food.
I love decor at parties! What I hate about decor though is having to throw it all away after. If I can reuse something or use decor around my house, even better. I have a bin in the garage just for party supplies and decor. I try to save things when I can, especially if it is a neutral and can be used for multiple occasions.
I was able to get everything else from the dollar store! Tablecloths, balloons, cups, party hats, napkins and plates were only $1 for a pack of 20. At Target, they were 3x the price.
I used small popcorn holders as centerpieces for each table. I filled the, with funky colored straws and carnival tickets (yes, the dollar store has them!).
I found giant rainbow swirl lollipops from the dollar store that were perfect for part favors. With less than 12 kids, I spent less than $12.
The dollar store has plenty of other party favors that usually come in a pack of 12 for $1. They also have plenty of party favor bags of different designs and colors.