These budget friendly birthday ideas will help you have great family time without breaking the bank. Whether you are planning for your kids or your partner, you’ll find some tips you can use.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great and memorable birthday.
Make use of nature
Nothing is more budget-friendly than free, beautiful venues for a birthday.
National parks, hiking trails, beaches and parks are all great places for a birthday. You can usually find something appropriate for the age or fitness levels of the birthday boy/girl. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy somewhere scenic.
Make sure you also prepare for any weather conditions that can ruin the day. In summer, make sure you have somewhere shady to retreat to if it gets too hot. Don’t forget your sunscreen, hats, water etc. If you’re going to a forest, insect repellent along with suitable pants and shoes would be a good idea. Coverings for your food to keep flies off are a must in Australia especially in warmer months. Check the weather before you leave and have a plan B just in case it rains on your parade.
If you have young kids, make sure the location is not too distant. Most kids wont be happy with a long car ride.
Birthday offers and vouchers
Take some time a few months before the birthday to sign up to store reward programs that give birthday offers. This can vary from freebies to store credits. My husband I made a tradition to claim these offers on our birthdays. We would get a free lunch, free credit at a few stores, free coffees, ice creams, etc. A few offers are valid for the whole month as well, so free/cheap dates!
Buy non-perishable items on sale
This budget friendly birthday idea is where you will save the most money. Especially if you’re the kind that likes to throw a traditional birthday party but doesn’t plan well in advance.
Stock up on a few party essentials when you see items on sale. Party poppers, sparklers, confetti, glitter and glow sticks are often very cheap after new-year. Buy some up and put them in a storage box for the next birthday. Many birthday party items often follow trends and will go on sale when that trend is on its way out. I recommend going with versatile styles.
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the recent tropical trend. You know the one. Tacky flamingos, pineapples, sunglasses, beach ball clip-art graphics and garish pinks, fluorescent greens and yellows. I tend to go with basic colors or geometric patterns. Those will blend with any theme and wont stand out as something I got just because it was cheap.
Grab these kind of things on sale and keep them in a party box. I don’t consider this a waste of storage because we’re soon to be a family of 5. We have birthdays all over the place so it gets used often. Also, the full price is ridiculous. I can get a bunch of balloons, candles, etc for 10c each and cover several parties for under $1. Or I can pay full price and spend $10-$50 for a few things. I know which I prefer.
Also, look for these sales outside of popular birth months for the most success. When there are lots of last-minute shoppers buying a lot in a certain category, things wont go to sale. If they do, it wont be a great sale.
Check out markdowns the day before
For food, you can often get some nice things if you hunt markdowns the day before. Markdowns, also known here as quick sales, are items with just a few days left before expiry. Often you can even score a nice birthday cake for a quarter of the price they usually go for. Look for any other perishables you would like too. Meat, cheese, fruit, veg and ready made salads all have quick-sales in major supermarkets.
Homemade gifts and decorations
If you already have craft supplies for your kids, put them to good use. Make some budget friendly birthday gifts and decorations.
Get your kids involved in making gifts, decorations or cards. These can be very simple paper-crafts which you can also coordinate with anything you have bought. For example, if you’re buying your partner a book, you can get the kids to make some bookmarks. You can use card stock, Popsicle sticks, paper clips, or whatever else you like. You can show them how to make a mini book with a piece of A4 paper, some folding, and scissors. They can then write or draw whatever they like inside (something that will be meaningful to the recipient).
they can make budget friendly gift wrap, too.
You can even get your kids to decorate the wrapping paper. Toddlers will love being able to splatter paint on a length of brown paper, or a plain gift bag. Get out your kids craft supplies and see what they can do. Paper chains and buntings are a good activity for preschoolers or primary school-age children.
Make your own food at home
Instead of eating out, try making food at home. It’s good to have a few easy “special occasion” recipes, like birthday pancakes. Its easy to make them extra special with toppings . if you’re not up for making a birthday cake try cupcakes. They are more “fail proof” and have the added benefit of being portion controlled.
Plan your menu in advance if you go this route. Make sure you can acquire the necessary ingredients if you’re not confident about making substitutions (especially for baked items). Kids also love being involved in cooking, particularly baking. Even young toddlers can mix a batter. They love being able to eat any batter stuck to the spoon or bowl after, too.
A favorite movie and family cuddles can be a great birthday treat. Especially when its made extra-special with homemade popcorn and favorite snacks. If you already subscribe to Netflix or have your own movie collection, you also don’t have to pay anything extra.
It’s easy to make a magical day for kids at home with a little thought.
Do some setup the night before. When they wake up in the morning, they will open their eyes to something exciting and novel. The trick here is to tailor these to your child. If you have a toddler or preschooler who’s into dinosaurs, you might set up a “dino land”. This is a special play area. You can do this with play doh or kinetic sand, and small dinosaur toys. For a no mess option, use something like green, blue and yellow fabric. The color is more important than what kind of fabric you use. Towels, scarves, blankets and even clothing like t shirts are fine. Simply arrange to make land, a beach and the ocean. Grab a couple of chairs and throw a blanket over them to make it an even more special space. If they get some gifts they can use in the play area, all the better.
Your undivided attention
The greatest gift you can give anyone, but especially your children on their birthday, is your full attention. Nothing is going to compensate for that if it is absent. If you want your kids to turn out well, invest your time more than money. This goes especially on things that are long-term worthless.
Part of the reason we are restricting ourselves so much financially is because we are investing in our children’s future. All our purchases are informed by that, even birthday gifts. You really don’t need to spend a lot. My son is delighted with a cheap soccer ball and kicking it around with family. That’s his idea of an awesome birthday. Your love and attention is what will make the day great, not the gifts, or the decor, or the venue.
Please share this article and comment below if you have any other money saving tips for birthdays.