Planning a party on a budget is insanely hard. Not only do you have to spend as little money as possible, but you also have to wow your guests and make it as fun as possible. And when it comes to children, it's especially difficult to grab their attention!

So, what can you do to make sure your child has the best birthday party ever without emptying your wallet? A lot of things actually!

Choosing the venue is the first step to planning any party. The most cost-effective one is your own home. You can save yourself up to $100 just by not booking a venue.

After that, the first thing you need to do is send the invitations. The simplest (and cheapest) way to do this is sending them online. There are several sites where you can customize the look of your invite and make it extravagant. Of course, this will likely be read by the parents, but the kids will most definitely know that they are in for a ride once they see it.

You can also cut down on costs if you invite less people, so ask your child to slim down the guest list if it’s necessary.

How to Plan a Party on a Budget - Balloon Decor | Balsa Circle Blog - BalsaCircle.com

The second is the decorations. Balloons are an absolute must! Not only do they make the space you’re in look more fun, but they are also great to play with. You can easily customize your own balloons just by painting over them, stuffing glitter or confetti in them (beware: do not pop these ones) or just simply filling them up with helium. The thing is: they are insanely versatile, so even if you can’t think of more ways to make them even better, then you can simply search for it online. We have a whole Pinterest board for Party Balloons if you need ideas or inspiration!

But of course, decorations don’t end with balloons. You can make your own ornaments and decor out of paper if you have basic DIY skills. Or you can make a game out of it for the kids. Show them how to do a couple of things like paper pom-poms or paper flowers and then they get to do it themselves! Yay, you don’t have to make hundreds of paper thingies and the kids can do some an activity that benefits their motor skills and creativity. Yes, it’s a cheap way to make decorations, but that’s the point, right? 

And this goes for anything that goes on the table, the walls or even the ceiling. There’s an endless amount of possibilities when you have the creativity for it.

How to Plan a Party on a Budget - Dessert Ideas | Balsa Circle Blog - BalsaCircle.com

The next thing is the food. Kids love sugar, therefore it’s a good idea to have sweet desserts. Make sure to add fresh fruit options like strawberries, watermelon and apples to the cake and cookies table. Sending the children home with a sugar rush will put an end to your good reputation, so if you want to go with sweets then you need to have the sugary feast at the beginning of the party. After that their energy levels will rise through the roof, but by the time their parents arrive they should already be tired and sleepy. From one parent to another, this is going to score you major points with other parents! Happy child, happy parents.

So, what kinds of desserts are cost-effective and sweet? The lazy answer: brownies. It doesn’t take longer than about 1 hour to make enough for 20 kids. The recipe is simple and doesn’t take any skill to make. Our favorite is this one from Your Home Based Mom.

The energetic one: cake. Still simple and easy to make, it just takes a lot of time to bake and put all the frosting on. And we haven’t even mentioned the fact that you also need to decorate the top of it for it to be presentable. You also need to have previous experience baking cakes or a ton of luck. Of course you can always visit your local bakery for a beautifully decorated cake, but it will end up being much more costly than if you’d bake one yourself. 

But you can find a lot of easy to make desserts online, and if everything else fails then the good old sugar cookie is your best bet.

After decorating and baking you have to decide what activities the kids can do. Have the age group in mind when you’re choosing from a wide variety of games, as a lot of them might not be ideal. Remember how active young children are and how laid back preteens are. You’re more likely to get positive reactions if you don’t just look up games and randomly select a few.

How to Plan a Party on a Budget - Easy Celebrations | Balsa Circle Blog - BalsaCircle.com

What you need to do is find games that don’t require any items or if they do then they can be found in your own home. For little children, it's much easier as you can just hold a competitive game of hide and seek or tag. But preteens… Well, they will be a tougher audience to entertain.

These kids are not young enough to enjoy “childish games”, so it’s probably for the best if you leave it up for the birthday girl/boy to decide. You can also suggest something like a photobooth and make props ahead of time or use old Halloween costumes for fun photos! But make sure you check in with your child, as they might have a request that requires you to spend extra money on the party. 

But in the end, keep in mind that no matter how inexpensive you plan the party to be, your child’s happiness is what comes first.

We hope you enjoyed these tips on how to plan a budget friendly party! Have more ideas to share with our creative community? Please let us know in the comments or tag us @BalsaCircle or #BalsaCircle on Instagram with tips or questions! 

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