Birthday Parties on the Cheapskate Side

Your child feels satisfied they had the best birthday party of the year


How many birthday parties have you attended and the parents tell you “It cost me $200 for this place for an hour, that’s not even enough time to cut the cake”. Why not have a party on the cheapskate side of life. Always your own decorations and homemade cakes are a way to save, but if you don’t bake, try buying premade cupcakes at a bakery which is often times cheaper than ordering a cake. Here are my top 10 ideas for birthday places:

  1. Have a house party Most people dread having to plan a party at home because of the clean up but having a party at home can save travel expenses and you can plan your own time frame. You can have friends volunteer to help with the clean up and, honestly, you have to clean up at the expensive party themed venues anyway.
  2. Go fishing if you live in a rural area or near a rural area here is a great party. Make some “cane poles” which are poles usually made out of bamboo but could easily be made with inexpensive dowel rods or yard sticks with holes drilled in the tips, fishing line and a little gold hook. I like to take kitchen sponges and cut an X into them, slide them onto the end of the pole and keep the hook in the sponge when not in use to avoid tangles. Children love to splash their feet in the water or stand on the edge, and even if they catch nothing, they still have a great time. Later, cut the cake at the picnic table nearby.
  3. The park even New York City has a park. A playground is a great place for kids to unwind and play and usually there are even grills nearby if you decided to have hot dogs or hamburgers; although, I always suggest a cake and chips party on the cheap side.
  4. A fellowship hall at church if you are a member of a church, many times you can just ask to borrow the fellowship hall on a Saturday night. Plan some old time party games like “Pin the tail on the donkey” or a pinata and save yourself the hassle of cleaning up at home before and after. Ask some church members to volunteer to help clean up or bake.
  5. A swimming pool Summer parties are always a blast by the pool. Don’t have a pool? Find the local public pool and ask your guests to bring admission. Take the gifts home and open them later – there is no rule for this, it’s your party. Kids would rather swim anyway.
  6. Go to your local museum many times kids just want to be together. Many local museums have donation boxes and no admission charges. Donate a small portion, take the kids to the museum for the day and go back to the house or park for cake and presents.
  7. A pajama party Call your children’s parents and tell them the surprise is on the guests, not the birthday child. Surprise your guests by having your birthday boy or girl wake their guests, have them pick one item of clothes to put on and take off to pick up the next child. When you have all your guests present and pj’s accounted for, take them on a daily adventure of free things in the pajamas. The kids have a blast running around town in pajamas all day and it costs you nothing but gas and snacks.
  8. Go to the beach if you live near the beach, take your kids to the beach for the day. If you find a public beach with a pavilion, you can have snacks and cake there but be sure to bring extra sunscreen and supervision.
  9. Group Bowling Rates call ahead and reserve a few lanes at the bowling alley. If you plan it for an off time, and ask for a group discount, you’ll most likely get it. Have your guests bring the money for their shoes, usually $1 dollar and you pay for the lanes. Pull out the gutter guards and begin the cheering!
  10. Go to the mall Have your guests meet you at the mall food court.  Put your guests in smaller groups with an adult and let them explore the mall together; have everyone meet back in one hour for cake and presents. Their parents can give them shopping money, you have time to get things in order, and they have fun running a muck at the mall, supervised of course.

These are all great tips that are nearly free to you and the kids still have a blast. Your child feels satisfied they had the best birthday party of the year because its not “another party at the skating rink” they’ve been to ten times this year.