Kids’ Party on a Budget


I love putting together themed birthday parties for my children. It just makes everything so festive and special for that particular child. With some guidance (“No, we won’t be able to get a real pony for your party.”) and suggestions (“But, we can print some pony coloring pages for all the guests.”), my children will eventually land on a theme that I can work with.

Themed party decorations can get expensive. Getting everything at the party store is usually my last resort. So, I start scouring the internet for ideas. The amount of DIY ideas on Pinterest is overwhelming, and I have to be discerning. What I save on dollars, I will spend in time. Unless you’re an extremely crafty person or have a lot of free time on your hands or run a blog about party ideas, then you probably just want to keep things simple but special for the birthday boy or girl.

If you want to put together a theme party that is easy on your wallet, here are some things to keep in mind.


These Frozen character figures worked well as tabletop decorations and cupcake toppers.

Many party themes revolve around a toy, usually a toy or toys that your child already has. Strategically placed toys throughout the house make good decorations. Children’s books also make easy decorations. Just be aware that little hands probably won’t be able to keep away from those toys and books too long. It is a kids’ party after all!

I used to hate putting up streamers … the twisting and turning and taping. But, they are cheap. It’s way less expensive than balloons. You don’t have to get all fancy. Just simple swags over a certain area of the house will do.


Eyes from the Yo Gabba Gabba characters make the letters from this banner come alive.

If you have a decent printer, you can probably print up many things that people pay a lot of money for. You don’t even have to be a graphic designer. I typically print our own birthday banner, using a font size that will allow two letters to print per page (set up on landscape). Grab a few cute clipart images online that goes with your theme and use them to embellish your sign. You can print directly on cardstock or (my preference since we’re well-stocked on school supplies) on regular paper glued to construction paper. You can tape the letters directly on to your wall or string them together with ribbon.


These cupcake toppers were made on the printer and taped to toothpicks.

Some specialty cakes cost more than my wedding cake, so this is not even an option for us. Before having kids, I loved to bake and can spend hours decorating a cake, but now, with a bunch of little fingers trying to swipe at the all-too-tempting frosting, I have retired most of my cake decorating tools to the garage. Now, I just make cupcakes. I’ve seen what people can do with cupcakes on the Food Network, but this is not Cupcake Wars. This is a kids’ party, and the only things the kids care about more than the cake is the frosting and sprinkles. Put your printer back to work to make some appropriately-themed cupcake toppers and voila!

What are your money and time saving tips when you plan a party?



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