The 5 Essential Elements of a Budget Birthday Party

I love planning fun themed birthday parties for my children and, admittedly, go all out for these parties. I’ve discovered after years of planning that although all of the extras are great, there really are only five essential elements to a kid’s birthday party, and I have some budget-friendly ways to get them for you. Here are my top five tips for throwing budget birthday parties for kids!



1. Food and drinks

This can be anything from pizza delivered to your home to amazing homemade items. I’m a fan of somewhere in the middle. Cut up fruit, animal crackers, popcorn, and pasta salad in little cups or even just in one big bowl—carrots with hummus and other snack foods are more than enough for kids. Bottled water or even water in a large beverage container works well. 


2. Activities

Again, you can go elaborate with bouncy houses and planned activities, or you can simply send the kids outside to play. Kids are really good at playing on their own if you give them the opportunity. Set out bikes, trikes, chalk, bubbles, and other easy fun things for outside, or if you want to go bigger, order this bubble machine for the wow factor. Kids will chase bubbles and dance for a while.


For toddlers, I’ve sat out our train table, some puzzles, and some books. Any activities work. Just have a few ready to go, and you will have a successful event. 


3. Cake

Need I say more? These days any dessert works great. We shared some cheap and adorable store bought dessert ideas recently that may help you. 


4. Festive decorations

This does not mean you have to go all out and make your party completely Pinterest worthy. I think classic balloons blown up and tossed all over the floor work great. I did that for my son’s third birthday. A bag of balloons is $2.99 and adds instant party appeal. Free printables for parties are available all over the web and work well. Or, I love making garland out of old book pages. So many easy and affordable options when it comes to kids’ birthday parties. 


5. Party favors

This one is controversial in some circles. There have been posts written about how annoying all of the little “junk” can be in party favor bags or how party favors defeat the purpose of teaching kids to give on someone else’s birthday. I stand firm in the party favor camp, but that’s because I like for my son to thank people with a small gesture. You can do bags filled with trinkets, a simple soft cover book (this is my go-to party favor), or even just a small water bottle or snack for the road. 

Affiliate link included. Photos by Melissa Oholendt Photography for Live the Fancy Life

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