Birthday parties for less


Una Peters

Birthday's come around once a year, so it' no surprise that many of us want to make them memorable. They're a time to celebrate life and all of the exciting milestones we've been able to reach. Parties tend to be the most common way of celebrating these milestones but how do you do one without needing a cash advance from a payday lender? The great news is there are numerous ways to throw a birthday party that you can afford. This doesn't mean you won't be able to have the party of your dreams, however, you may have to make a few compromises. With time, careful planning, creativity and a few cost-saving tips, you can have a party that'll go down in the history books and not cost a small fortune. This guide will give you a few practical ideas on ways you can have your next birthday party for less.

Plan early

When it comes to planning a birthday party, last minute shenanigans could mean you spending a lot more than anticipated. Without giving yourself ample time to plan, you're prone to impulse spending. This means you won't have enough time to shop around for the best deals. Give yourself enough time to plan every detail of the party out as well as the cost implications. This should help you avoid emergency expenses and leaving you in the red when the party is done and dusted.

Find a free venue

The first thing you'll need in order to throw a birthday party is a venue. This aspect of party planning can be expensive, so you might want to find a way to reduce that cost. You have several options depending on the nature of the party as well as your budget. Explore options such as doing it at home if you have enough space or at a family or friend's house. If not, look for a low-cost hall and avoid peak periods which are weekends, half-terms and school days. Play centre's may also be up for doing some sort of deal, so call around and see what they have on offer.

Party decorations

You could also consider doing an outdoor party at your local park if the weather is suitable. This is usually free and gives you enough space to carry out whatever festivities you have in mind. If it's a party for an adult, there are bars and restaurants you can use for free as long as you put down deposits for meals or set an agreed bar spend. Whatever option it is that you choose to fly with, make sure it' within your budget.

DIY decorations

Decorating may not seem expensive, but it can be when you add it all up. Decide on what theme you're going for and what type of decorations that will require. List out each item that you're going to need and see which of them you can make yourself. Some items that you can make or spice up yourself include:

  • Paper plates
  • Table cloths
  • Tissue paper pom poms
  • Super-sized menus
  • Coasters
  • Centre pieces
  • Banners
  • Temporary wall art

If you're doing a themed party, on the other hand, you'll need very specific decorations to carry it out. To save money, try sticking to primarily using the colours of the theme instead of finding branded items. For example, instead of buying spider man plates, cups and balloons, you could stick to just using red and blue for most items.

DIY photo booth

Photo booths have become a very popular attraction at parties. Hiring one could easily cost you hundreds of pounds. If you've got a digital camera, selfie sticks, and can make some props, you could pocket that money. Making props would require you to take a trip to the DIY shop to get cardboard, sticks, paint and some sparkly bits as well. Some ideas for props are a mustache, crowns, giant glasses, chains, masks, and any other fun and funny things you can think up. Another idea is to create props according to the party theme if you have one.

"DIY photo booths are great fun"
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If you'd rather skip the hassle of making the props for the booth yourself, you could just buy them from a pound shop or online. Look for deals where they're sold together in packs as opposed to individually to save money. Set up a stand in front of a plain wall and you should be good to go.

Play your own music

Technology has made so many things easier including coming up with your own party mix. Instead of hiring a DJ, you could create your own playlist. Downloading music online for free and burning it to a CD is the traditional way to go about it. Alternatively, you could create a playlist on your phone or tablet device and hook it up to a sound system. This option would also give you access to different playlists as well as enable you to play music directly from the internet.

If you don't have a good ear for music or aren't current on the latest hits, get a friend who is to compile the list for you. In the instance that you're bent on hiring a DJ, try an upcoming one or someone you know to get a cheaper rate.

birhtday presents and gifts

Avoid party shops

Party shops can be unnecessarily expensive so it's sometimes best that you avoid them. Buying online, at a pound shop, or in bulk may be a better option if you don't want to overspend.

DIY entertainment

Entertainment is one of the focal points of a party, depending on the type of party you're having. There's a great chance that you won't need a cash advance before payday if you stick to handling your own entertainment. There are many ways to cut costs in this area and it mostly requires using the resources you have in front of you. Instead of hiring professionals you can put on the entertainer hat yourself. Some ideas for entertainment include karaoke or a live talent show. All you'll need is a mic and an overhead projector. If any of your friends are talented, see if they'd be willing to participate. It could include singing performances, comedy, or dance. As with the music, if you absolutely must have entertainment, go for a local band or aspiring artist. That way you'll get it for considerably cheaper and also give a rising a star a chance to shine.

Make your own treats

If you plan on having a birthday cake, making one yourself is a great option. There are plenty of resources online that will tell you step-by-step how to make any cake just in case you're a novice. If it happens that you're not a cake person, there are other dessert option you can explore. These include sugar cookies, ice cream, cupcakes, brownies, fruit treats, frozen yoghurt, or tarts. There are several other options for quick desserts that you can make. Just check online or in a cookbook.

More hacks for a cheaper party


Food for parties works out cheaper when you ask guests to bring a plate. Catering services can be pricey so this is a good alternative. Buying inexpensive finger foods from your local supermarket and throwing them on a tray will also save you money. If you're making food for a children's party, remember they don't tend to eat much. On those premises, a few sandwiches and easy to grab snacks should do just fine.

Low cost games

For children's birthday parties, there are tons of games that you can play that won't cost much, if anything at all. Bear in mind that if you were considering get a children's entertainer, you could end up paying up to £300 per hour for this. On the other hand, you could orchestrate some fun games yourself. These include:

  • Musical Chairs
  • Duck Duck Goose
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Charades
  • Pass-the-parcel
  • Tag
  • Foxes and Hens

By the time you play a few of these games, the kids should be all partied out. Most of these games will only require music and a few random items for things like pass the parcel and treasure hunt. The others will just require people ready to participate and team spirit. To add some incentives, you can also add fun and inexpensive prizes for the winning individuals or teams. You can find most of the board game options in stores or online. They're a good investment as they can be used again for future parties or events.

You can also try your hand at face painting and arrange arts and crafts activities. Some of these may include finger painting, clay making, bead making, or colouring activities. There are several other ideas you can find online if you need more activities. Even if you happen to be throwing a party for adults, games are still a way to keep people engaged. Some that you can play include charades, board games such as Monopoly or Twister, two truths and a lie, freeze dance, and Chinese whispers. Games are great at any party as they help break the ice and allow people to get to know and connect with one another.

Other tips

Get in groove with more great tips on how to throw a great budget bash!

Party favors are fun little things you can throw together yourself. You may choose to fill little bags with a variety of sweets for guests and put them on the tables. If you're going with this option, it's best to buy them from a pound shop as you'll most likely get more for less. You could also consider combining activities with favors if it's a kid's party. This could mean choosing activities that enable them to make something they can take home. As we mentioned in the games section, that could be a painting on a canvas, beaded jewelry or even a CD with the party playlist.

As tempting as it may be, you may have to do away with the fancy invites to cut costs. The designing and printing could cost you hundreds of pounds. However, finding a template online and sticking with digital invites will mean you have more money to save or put towards other things. You can disseminate them via email, send text messages or share the invites on social media.

You might be tempted to invite as many people as possible, but remember the more people, the more costs. Sticking to a reasonable number of guests will mean you'll need less space and food which is where the major costs usually come in. Many times people tend to bring a plus one as well so that means catering to more people than you initially expected. Avoid the cash crunch for that month by simply inviting a number of people you can afford.

Having a shorter party in some ways could reduce costs. The longer you entertain guests, the longer you'll have to cater to their needs. For example, if you have a party from 12 PM to 8 PM you'd have to consider providing both lunch, dinner, and snacks in-between. You would also need enough drinks which is an extra cost.

Take advantage of bulk buy discounts when stocking up on the food and drink for the party. This simple trick could save you loads of cash. Why not try to align the items you buy for your party with your normal shop? That way you can use any left overs in your day to day routine and save big.

Ok so it might be cool to have a free bar and play the millionaire celeb, however this is going to cost big. These days it is acceptable to have a cash bar at your bash that people part with their own cash to have a few drinks.


Throwing a birthday party can be both exciting and stressful. The kind of stress you don't want is the type where you overspend. Birthday celebrations should be more about spending time with those you love and celebrating life. Achieving this in a way you want and will remember shouldn't break the bank. As we mentioned earlier, careful planning and using the resources and extra hands around you will go a long way in helping you cut costs.

Next time you're getting ready to throw a birthday party, we hope you can refer to this guide for cost-saving ideas. When is the last time you threw a birthday party and how did you cut costs? Tell us any other ideas you have that we may have left out for how you can throw a birthday party for less! For a more in-depth look at the costs involved with children's parties, head over to this website.

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