Redditors Love These 10 Cheap Birthday Party Ideas

Little girl blowing her birthday candle


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Colorful birthday cake with sprinkles and burning candles and festive caps on the sparkling gold tinsel background. Festive birthday celebration, party. Selective focus, copy space.

Make a Wish

Though inflation continues to overstretch consumers' budgets, there are still ways you can save money without compromising on things you and your family love to celebrate. If your kid has a birthday coming up and you're stressing about how to make it unique, fun, and special without breaking the bank, we've gone down the Reddit rabbit hole to find the most cost-efficient tips and advice so you can throw them a party they'll remember for years to come. 

Related: Where To Get Birthday Freebies and Discounts

Birthday celebration

Celebrate at Home or at the Park

One way to save a good chunk of money is to plan the party at home or a local park instead of renting out an expensive venue. “My kids are teens now, so parties are kind of in the past, but while we did friend parties, a lot of them were meet-ups with 10 friends at a park,” one user says, adding, “Or we would host a movie and sleepover with pizza and snacks.”

Related: 15 Themed Dinner Party Menus Under $5 a Person

Helium balloons with ribbons in the office
Oleg Elkov/istockphoto

Make or Buy Cheap Decorations

Another great way to save money is by making your own DIY decorations using inexpensive materials such as construction paper, balloons, and streamers. Or you could head to a dollar store, where you should be able to find all the supplies you need: party hats, signs, candles, and more, all at an affordable price. Sadly, most items at dollar stores aren't $1 anymore, but even with the price increase, Redditors say there are still plenty of good deals to be found. 

For more great party tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Birthday party balloons vector poster set design. Birthday number balloons for invitation card lay out collection

Use Electronic Invitations

Online invitations can be a great way to save money by helping you eliminate the need to buy printed invitations and postage. With electronic invites, you can use websites such as Evite and Canva to easily customize and send invitations to all your guests for free or at a low cost. Digital invites also allow you to keep track of RSVPs online, helping you more efficiently plan for the number of attending guests.

Hispanic Mother And Daughter Having Fun In Kitchen At Making Cake Together

Make Your Own Cake (or Buy It at Costco)

Making and decorating your own kid's birthday cake can be another fun and creative way to cut down on costs. Instead of buying an expensive cake from a bakery, you can use a cake mix or recipe to make it at home for a fraction of the cost. Plus, decorating the cake yourself with frosting, sprinkles, or other toppings can be a great bonding activity for you and your child. 

Alternatively, you can buy a cake from grocery stores such as Costco; the big-box retailer sells sheet cakes for $25 with 30 themes and designs to choose from. Or you can opt to buy the cake blank and decorate it at home to your heart's content. 

Portrait of an afro american birthday girl with her friends who are at the table with presents.

Consider a Joint Party

Hosting a joint party with a friend or family member whose child shares a birthday around the same time as yours can be another great way to save money. By combining the celebrations, you can split the costs of decorations, party favors, and renting a venue to help reduce overall expenses, while still creating a fun and memorable party for your child and their friends. 

Group of Sweet and Salty Snacks, Perfect for Binge Watching

Throw a Potluck Party

Throwing a potluck party and asking each guest to bring a dish or snack can be a great way to reduce the amount of money you would have spent on catering or ordering food. Potlucks can also add variety to the menu and allow guests to showcase their own culinary skills and cultural backgrounds. “Make [the party] a potluck or do ‘walking nachos,’ kids love them and it's easy to clean up," writes one user.


Use the Community Pool

According to one Redditor, throwing your kid's party at the local community pool can be a great way to save money while giving your kid and their friends a fun and memorable experience. Some community pools may offer affordable rental rates for birthday parties, and some even have party packages that include decorations, food, and entertainment. 

"We once had a kid's swim birthday party at our local pool, and we got a bunch of mini croissants, deli turkey, and cheese from Costco,” the user writes, adding, “Maybe it was the hunger that always comes after swimming, but it was SUPER popular, even with the adults. We had homemade cupcakes too. It was really easy and pretty cheap.”

Close-up of little kids working on project with teacher during creative art and craft class at school

Have a Party Activity in Mind

Instead of hiring entertainment or renting a bouncy house (which can run you upwards of $300), try hosting a simple activity like a craft project. One idea to keep the kids entertained and working as a team involves making something together. “I got invited to a birthday party. The idea is that we are going to make a big pizza together — the host provides pizza dough and tomato sauce and the guests are supposed to bring the ingredients they like to share with others (which I think is a pretty cool idea),” one Redditor writes.

Shot of a family celebrating a birthday together at home

Limit the Guest List

Don't feel obligated to invite your kid's whole class, Redditors say. Limiting the guest list and inviting only close family and friends to the birthday party is another good way to keep costs down. A smaller guest list can also make the party feel more intimate and personal, allowing your child to spend more time and make cherished memories with those closest to them. 

Bunch of happy diverse kids in sunglasses and cone hats blowing noisemakers at birthday party

Make DIY Party Favors

Instead of buying expensive pre-made party favors, you can use inexpensive items like stickers, small toys, or candy to create your own unique party favors. DIY party favors can also add a personal touch, as you can customize them to fit your child's interests and the party's theme. Consider making goody bags filled with bubbles, sunglasses, and stickers, or you can make homemade slime or playdough for each child to take home, shares one Redditor.