Growing up I had almost every birthday party at home. Family, neighborhood friends, and some classmates over for an afternoon of party games and cake. Since I’ve had children of my own, I noticed that trend has changed a lot. Birthday parties centered around events like bowling, arcade centers like Chuck E. Cheese, and the zoo now seems to be the norm. Sure, they are simple: walk into a decorated place and walk out a couple of hours later without the clean-up. But they can be expensive! Birthday parties do not have to overwhelm your budget because today I am sharing my best inexpensive birthday party ideas at home.
Since I watch money blogs and market reports pretty carefully, I wasn’t surprised to learn an average birthday party can cost about $400-$500 for most families. Remember an average is made up of a lot of higher totals, too. Yikes! All you have to do is scroll on Pinterest for any amount of time, and you’ll see some of the themed decor and menu ideas that can easily spiral many parents into debt.
Before you blow your budget on an afternoon celebration for your child, consider there are ways to make wonderful memories and still stay within your means.
Think about the things that make you feel special. Chances are it might be being remembered, celebrated, and treated a little better than the everyday.
Include something special to your guest of honor
People, including kids, want to be recognized as being heard and seen. When you take the time to include little things they love in your celebration, they will remember. Some ideas could be choosing a favorite flavor cake (or a unique dessert they enjoy if they don’t like cake), letting your son or daughter dress in a favorite outfit for the day; or everyone wearing something with the birthday child’s favorite color.
Make the day a special occasion
However your family marks special days, chances are a lot of these things you have on hand and they are easily within your home. Do you use the dining room instead of eating in the kitchen (or in front of the tv – guilty!)? Can you use the fancy china dishes and crystal? Maybe consider eating by candlelight?
Connect with special people
One value I have taught my children growing up – it’s not the things, it’s the people. My best memories are those shared with my family and friends. Maybe it’s Christmas morning with a houseful of relatives or a freezer swap now with my close girlfriends. Either way, it’s the people that make the moments.
The important thing to remember is that celebrating an inexpensive birthday party at home doesn’t have to be boring or uninspired. One of my popular posts centered around a Frozen-themed party with this wonderful homemade ice cream cake. A lot of the activities included were printables and items from around the house or dollar store.
Other fun activities might include
Hosting a Game Night
I might be dating myself, but I used to LOVE Twister! And nothing got us in more giggles than having my parents contort themselves into crazy shapes and lose their balance! This was special because it wasn’t something they did every day with us, but on special occasions, they had fun and enjoyed themselves.
Spoiling Them with a Spa Day
This is one of my favorite ideas! I get TONS of samples and free goodies from Sephora. No doubt you can find some nail polish at home or even make up some DIY face masks and hair treatments on your own to plan out your spa night. Make some mocktails with juice in a fancy glass to serve. Perfection!
Getting Creative with Crafts
Boys and girls can enjoy making things like crafts or even bigger projects for the older ones. Many stores have dollar sections and there are also tons of ideas on Pinterest. After everyone makes their finished project, they will have something special to remember the day.
Planning an Escape Room or Scavenger Hunt
This might take some more creativity on your part, but Escape Rooms seem to be all the rage right now. Come up with a great story, find some props around your house, and have fun. This blog on Insider.com shares all the details on how to make this work.
The important thing to remember when planning some inexpensive birthday party ideas at home is to still treat it like a special day. Don’t let being home or your budget be a reason to minimize this special day. Since you aren’t timebound by a restaurant or event-based party, get creative!
Breakfast in bed
This always made me feel special when I was younger. Mom would come into my room with a tray spilling over with my favorite foods and a bud vase with a little flower. Little ones still love this (adults too, but we often end up on prep and clean up in the kitchen, so this idea isn’t for everyone!). You can even decorate the bedroom with balloons or little shaped notes about why you love them and what makes them special.
Picnic at home.
You can easily have an indoor or outdoor picnic in the backyard – spread out a favorite blanket, some foods that are easily transported (or keep them hot or cold with a therms or cooler). Voila! Instant memories!
Celebrate virtually with family and friends
By 2021 people have had a lot of practice with technology like Zoom, Google Meet, and Alexa Show. Even non-tech savvy people are finding it easier to connect with loved ones from a distance. There are also fun party game apps you can all play together virtually.
Being home to celebrate your birthday on a budget doesn’t have to be boring. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I hope I sparked some creative juices flowing with inexpensive birthday party ideas at home.
If you really need to get out of the house (2020 has been a year!), you might enjoy some of these ideas with birthday freebies. Free drinks or free meals for kids AND adults, there is a lot to choose from! Check out my posts on Birthday Freebies and Birthday Freebies for Kids for restaurants and businesses that participate in sharing the birthday love.