Simple Birthday Party Ideas for Parents on a Budget

Planning a party for someone’s birthday involves many details, including selecting a venue, buying a cake, making a guest list, choosing party favors and planning games. It’s complicated enough without trying to plan inside a designated budget. No matter the age of the special guest, there are tons of inexpensive birthday party ideas that allow for a good time while staying within a budgeted amount. This compilation of cheap and simple birthday party ideas provides the direction you need to plan an exceptional and fun outing for everyone in attendance.

Cheap Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

As a general rule, toddlers are an easy-to-please crowd, provided they remain busy. They need time to move about and experience the space while staying closely supervised. Here are a few inexpensive party ideas for toddlers.

1. Plan a rainbow party for your toddler group

Since they love bright colors, it is one of the best cheap birthday party ideas for young ages. Plan everything to include the colors of the rainbow. Let them play with bright-colored Play-Dough while waiting for all the guests to arrive. Balloons make excellent and inexpensive decorations and small boxes of colors and coloring books from the dollar-type store are great party favors for this age. Plan a few simple games or songs for group participation and you’ll have a fun party that toddlers are not soon to forget.

2. A party at the park can provide an inexpensive venue for kids 2-4 years of ageInexpensive Birthday Ideas

The playground provides a safe place for the little ones to play, at no out-of-pocket expense. Many city parks have pavilions that can be reserved at little or no cost. Bring along some popular outdoor games or just simple ones like bouncy balls or bean bags. A few sticks of sidewalk chalk are cheap and can occupy the little ones for some time while unleashing their creative side. Appropriate take-home gifts include a shovel and bucket or a bouncy ball. Cupcakes or cookies with a small bottle of water or juice make acceptable picnic-type snacks.


3. Toys can be cheap birthday party ideas for toddlers

If they like cars, build the theme around cars, and provide small age-appropriate cars for each child to play with. The same goes for any toy or favorite cartoon character. Allow room outside or indoors for the children to play with the themed party favors and use them for cheap take-home gifts.

Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

Elementary-aged kids may take a bit more creativity to come up with cheap birthday party ideas. The important thing with this age is to create a theme that is engaging and enjoyable for them. Here are a few party plans that are adaptable to this age group.

1. Plan a storybook character themed party

It can be pulled off for little cost, keeps the kids engaged and allows for creative thinking in the process. Each child comes dressed as their favorite storybook character. Once everyone arrives play games like “20 questions” to determine the literary identity of each guest. An appropriate craft is decorating book bags, or the outside of journals which can be purchased at a dollar store. Other cheap birthday party ideas include hosting a book exchange at the same time, so the guests can bring books to trade for favorites or for something they haven’t yet read.

2. Create a chef or baking party

Chef hats can be purchased inexpensively at a party favors store. Elementary and middle school aged kids enjoy cooking and exploring in the kitchen. Let them help make snacks and foods while carefully supervised in the kitchen. Depending on the age of the participants, simple birthday party ideas might include decorating pre-baked sugar cookies, adding the toppings to pre-made pizza crusts, or making cookies, cakes or cupcakes from scratch to decorate and enjoy. Party favors include small bags for each child to take home some of the treats they helped make.

3. Build a backyard carnival for an inexpensive birthday party idea

It doesn’t take a lot of elaborate, expensive equipment as there are many things that are great DIY projects to help you save money. You will need a large backyard or indoor area like a garage to allow for plenty of room. Make your own mini golf course, use soda bottles to make a DIY ring toss game, and make your own bean bag toss game for starters. Prizes can be purchased inexpensively at dollar-type stores and snacks can be simple. It may take some planning, but it can save you money and the kids will have a blast.

Cheap Birthday Ideas for Teens

Satisfying teens with cheap birthday ideas can be a bit more difficult than younger children. But there are some creative ways to help them have lots of party fun. Here are just a few cheap birthday party ideas for teenagers.

1. An art party can be a creative and inexpensive birthday idea

Teenagers love to explore their creative side by crafting and making things. Purchase a few inexpensive, unfinished items. These can range from small wooden boxes to unpainted pottery, to plain T-shirts, bags or picture frames. They just need to be plain and blank to allow for creativity. Along with these plain items, provide a variety of craft supplies including fabric paints, pieces of fabric, glue, sparkles, markers, sequins and other decorative items. They will go to town creating their own party favor to take home with them.

Inexpensive Birthday Ideas

2. A scavenger hunt party is a hit with teenagers.

The main expense will be for prizes. It may take some creativity on your part to create clues in the form of poems to help guide the participants in their search efforts. If there is a beach area use empty water bottles to “send” clues. The clues can lead the teens on a route to find hidden treasures, some small and some large. Other inexpensive birthday party ideas include movie tickets, gift cards to local restaurants, new books, card or board games, and other items they may find interesting and fun.

3. Teenagers love movies!

Turn your living room, den or garage into a movie theater for the night. Make it special by sending personalized invitations and rolling out the red carpet for the distinguished guests. Use garland or movie posters for decoration and provide movie-style snacks for all your teen guests as they enjoy a favorite movie together.

Cheap Birthday Ideas for Adults

Most of the time, adults just like to hang out together. They are happy with simple things like cooking out or sharing a drink. Here are three cheap birthday ideas for adults that will have every attendee talking about your party for years to come.

1. Throw a “black-and-white” party.

Where everything has to be black, white or both, this is a fun and simple simple birthday party idea for adults that is both classy and original. It’s not necessarily a black-tie event, as it can be designed to be more casual and less costly. The only rule is that everything has to be white, black or both. This includes guest’s outfits, food, and décor. Cheap birthday ideas for food include Oreo cookies, or Oreo cheesecake, black and white candy or black olives for appetizers. Play old black & white movies and play movie charades that includes classic black & white movie titles or characters.

2. Throw a costume party.

Inexpensive Party Ideas


Costume parties provide entertainment for adults, and a book costume party can be loads of fun. You may choose a book to build the theme around or let each guest dress as the book character of their choice. Decorations can include blow-up covers or pages of popular books. Use food and condiments based on your favorite book or book characters. A fun activity might be book charades using book titles or characters.

3. Host an open mic night.

Step up to the microphone with an open mic night party for adults. All you will need is a microphone and some snacks to get started. You may want to choose a specific talent to focus on, such as comedy or music, or host your own variety show with your friends. A karaoke machine can be rented inexpensively or there are several free apps to provide music for songs. Invitations can express guests are welcome to demonstrate their varied talents. One suggestion is to send invites a bit earlier than normal to allow guests time to prepare. For those quiet friends who are not fond of standing up in front of crowds, turn them into distinguished judges. Make some simple award certificates for participants and create awards for winners.

TIP: To keep food inexpensive while planning the above birthday ideas for adults, consider simple options such as snacks one might find in a nightclub. Mozzarella sticks, mocktails, or a variety of fun finger foods and appetizers are great options.

Check Out Discount Party Supplies for Cheap Birthday Ideas

Today, everyone seems more budget-conscious, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up birthday party fun for you or your children. The above list of inexpensive birthday party ideas can help with saving money and staying in budget while still having loads of fun with friends and family.

Discount Party Supplies carries hundreds of boys, girls, 1st birthday, baby shower themes and much more to help keep your budget under control. For even more savings, take a look at our huge party clearance section. As always, don’t forget to check out our other blog posts for even more great money-saving party tips.


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