Planning a Fantastic Birthday Party on a Budget

It’s Baby’s birthday — and now it’s time to celebrate! These budgeting tips will allow you to throw your little one’s birthday party without breaking the bank. From free invites, cheap food ideas and free party activities, this is a birthday party you and your guests won’t soon forget!

Once Upon a Theme: Choose a Favorite Character to Pull It Together!

With Disney’s vast movie library, there are so many sweet themes that fit for a first birthday party! Choosing a theme helps to make your event look organized and cohesive.

Which characters or Disney rides make your little one’s eyes light up? For my son, it was the attraction, “it’s a small world.” For my daughter, Winnie the Pooh has her heart! Other creative themes could revolve around Baby’s favorite Disney toy, an adorable outfit or costume, or most-requested book.

Pick a Free Location

No need to book a venue for an additional cost. Host your party at home, in the park, or at a clubhouse. If you don’t have the space yourself, see if a friend or family member is able to host in their yard.

Limit the Guest List

The more the merrier? Not necessarily! For Baby’s birthday, it might be best to keep to a limited guest list that includes only the immediate family and a few close friends. Not only will you save money on supplies and food, most babies prefer a more intimate setting with more familiar faces.

A good rule for kid’s birthday parties is to invite one child per year of your little one. So if your baby is turning one, inviting just one friend his own age would be ideal. Turning two? Then two buddies can come, and so forth.

Email Invitations and Save a Stamp

Emailed invites are the way to go when you’re planning a party on a budget! No cost for printing cards or sending in the post. You’ll also be able to track RSVPs through the online system. Paperless Post offers charming Disney-themed invitations. These invites are low-cost and you can email directly to guests.

Go Minimal with the Décor


There are certainly some precious first birthday decorative partyware assortments out there, but purchasing every component from the collection may be outside your budget.

Instead of buying every piece of a partyware assortment, choose a few key elements to decorate with for the party. For example, you could buy only the colorful, character-themed plates from the assortment — and then round out the table design with simple color-coordinated table coverings and napkins that are less expensive. 

Serve Snacks Instead of a Full Meal

Scheduling the time of the party to fall between meals can really help your party budget. Hold the party at either 10 am or 3 pm. This way you can serve a light snack or appetizer and cake with punch rather than a full (and expensive) meal. Little ones are happy with familiar snacks like crackers and freshly cut fruit.

Another option is to host a brunch. Breakfast items like home baked muffins or boxed doughnuts are less pricey than sandwich trays or pizza at lunch. 

Homemade is Best (If You Have the Time)

In this age of crafty DIYs, homemade really is preferred. You’ll know exactly what ingredients are going into Baby’s “smash cake” when you prepare it from scratch! No need to get fancy with fondant – keep things simple for Baby.

Homemade is also very time consuming so don’t get worked up if you haven’t the time to create every single thing. Choose what’s important to you to make and then purchase (or do without) on the rest. I promise, your baby won’t care! 

Make the Entertainment Simple

Skip the all-out party games, prizes, and goodie bags and stick to simple entertainment that’s most appropriate for your little one. A few age-appropriate toys, like blocks and teething toys, are all your baby needs to have a good time! If you have older kids coming to the party, have balls or bubbles for outside play. A mess-free craft like pipe cleaners or coloring are fun indoor activities. 

Keep the Focus on Your Baby!

It’s all to easy to get busy with party hosting that you lose sight on why you’re gathered – to celebrate your baby’s birthday! Do as much prepping as possible beforehand so you aren’t stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is enjoying the party. Hand over your camera to someone else during the birthday song so you can catch the moment yourself. After all these years are going to fly by!

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