Since HUECU celebrated our 83rd birthday on June 26th, we’re giving blog readers a gift of our own: 8 ideas for celebrating a birthday on a budget.
- Host at Home
Having a party at home is almost always less expensive than renting a venue. If you’re concerned about the size of your house or apartment, challenge yourself to get creative. A bed, flipped up against the wall, might open up floor space for kids to sit on the carpet. A desk, covered with a table cloth, can become a drink station. With a little creativity and decluttering, any space can be party-appropriate.
- Use a Free Venue
If hosting at home just isn’t an option, check out free public spaces in your area. Many public parks have picnic areas or barbecue pits which can be reserved for free. If the weather is right, make the party a beach day, or ask a friend if you can use their backyard for an afternoon. You could even approach an evenings-only local business and check on the fee to use their space during the day.
- Don’t Party at Mealtimes
Planning a party outside of mealtimes is an easy way to keep down costs. This can be an especially good idea for kids’ birthday parties, because it means parents don’t have to worry about disrupting their children’s normal eating schedule. Offer a choice of simple drinks, such as sparkling water and juice, then keep the party focus on a non-food-related activity such as sprinkler time or crafts.
- Go Potluck Style
On the other hand, having a birthday party with food doesn’t have to break your budget. Potlucks are easy on the wallet and, often, friends enjoy the chance to share their favorite dishes. As the host, be ready to assign dishes to ensure there aren’t five desserts and no vegetables. You can also ask specific people to bring plates, forks and napkins, so there’s one less thing you need to purchase.
- DIY the Decorations
Having a party theme is fun, no matter the age of the birthday celebrant! To stay on budget, base your theme around decorations you already have, or which are easy to create. Cut up old magazines into origami flowers for a tropical theme, put out stuffed animals along with red and white items for a circus theme, or use up green and blue balloons to create an under the sea party.
- Shop Secondhand
Thrift stores are an amazing resource for cheap decorations, costumes, and extra plates, cups and cutlery. If your party is more on the fancy end of things, check out secondhand vases and glassware, which add instant elegance to an occasion. A tall vase filled with clipped tree branches, or a collection of porcelain teacups filled with dandelions, both make for a charming (and very cheap!) centerpiece.
- Skip the Cake
Who says a birthday party needs a cake? Skip the tradition and choose a more creative and cost-effective dessert instead. An artful arrangement of cookies, or even just a really great fruit plate with a few edible flowers from the garden, can have even more oomph than a big birthday cake – and as an added bonus, they mean more variety for picky party guests with a selective sweet tooth.
- Give From the Heart
The great thing about gifting on a budget is that often, the best presents cost the least! Consider giving an experience rather than a traditional gift. This might be a coupon book for backrubs and breakfast-making, or an itinerary for a special all-day adventure. Choose a gift that’s meaningful to the recipient, and nobody will be thinking about how much it cost.