Frugal and Fun Birthday Tips

Post by Contributing Writer, Emily C

Birthdays are a wonderful opportunity to make sure each member of the family is celebrated in their own unique way on their own special day. Whether you keep the celebration small and simple or throw a big fiesta in their honor, there are a lot of tips to keeping stress and budgets low while creating great memories and having wonderful birthday gatherings.
  • Let the birthday person help choose and prepare the menu for the day. A special birthday dinner and dessert is a simple tradition to stick to for all ages. Whether they want mac and cheese or a new gourmet recipe we do our best to fulfill the request.
  • Save up for a dinner out. If it’s not something you normally do it’s a huge treat. (It’s especially appreciated on the birthday of the usual cook in our house!)
  • Simple meals are best when you have a larger crowd. A potluck, BBQ, homemade pizzas, or soup and salad are some of our favorites and most recommended. Even if you aren’t having a potluck it can be helpful to ask one or two close friends to bring a specific dish to help lighten the load.
  • We have a hanging birthday quilt that was made by my husband’s grandmother. It goes up on the fireplace on everyone’s birthday. Decorations that are simple and can be reused for years to come are a great way to save time, money and instill tradition.
  • My kids love to make birthday decorations. Provide a stack of paper, markers, scissors and tape and with a little encouragement your house will be decorated in no time!
  • Tablecloths in simple solids are a great item to have for all your entertaining needs. You can add a pop of color with this cute idea for table toppers on Made.
  • Over at the blog enviromom there are a lot of great tips for “green” birthday parties for kids.

  • Choosing a special event such as a hike, a picnic, a trip to the local pool or renting a special movie are great simple ways to celebrate as a family and have some designated time to just be together.
  • A small party with just a few special friends or families is simple and relaxing while still feeling like a big deal to the birthday person. Just coming together to play and visit is all you need, no additional activities to be planned!
  • Even with big birthday parties you don’t need to spend a lot to make a big impact. Some organized outdoor games, a small craft project, a treasure hunt with clues leading to the birthday cake, sidewalk chalk murals, hide and seek, or a bean bag toss are just a few ideas that don’t take a lot of prep work or supplies.
  • A craft project is not only a great activity but it’s also a great way for your guests to have something to take home from the party.
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  • Know when to seek help! I have a friend who is a pastry chef, so when it comes to birthday cakes for big parties we go to her first. She not only makes amazing, special, and unique cakes for us but we also love supporting the growth of a friend’s business.
  • Recognize your family’s personality and needs. Don’t stretch yourself to throw a party that doesn’t fit your style of entertaining or that won’t be a fun experience for the birthday person.
  • If you don’t want gifts but you feel awkward declining them, I would recommend requesting an alternative. Let the birthday person help choose an organization to accept donations for as the possibilities are endless: books for a local literacy program, dog food for an animal shelter, coats for kids in need, canned goods for a local food bank, etc.
Whether your celebration occurs with a fun family outing, an intimate gathering of friends or a big surprise birthday blowout I hope these tips and ideas encourage you. It’s easier than we think to keep costs down and stress low while the fun, excitement, and thankfulness abound!

Emily lives in Salt Lake City with her husband Jeremy and their 3 wild and crazy kiddos! She loves reading, running, baking yummy treats for her family, her early morning yoga, walking to the library and all things creative and crafty. She especially enjoys exploring nature with her children and learning side by side with them. You’ll find her chatting about all aspects of life at her blog, Industrious Emily* and also sharing her crafty side through the blog, Life at the Table.

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