Celebrations and Festivals

How to plan a Budget Birthday

Neha Saroha
3 to 7 years

Created by Neha Saroha
Updated on Mar 24, 2017

How to plan a Budget Birthday

I just turned 5, as a mum last week. As the birthday approached, I bogged myself down with myriad ways of throwing a decent party for my daughter.  The birthday celebration at school, thankfully, was a standard affair as per the school rules, so we were sorted with a pack of sweets and a story book for the school library. For our personal celebrations, I wanted to do something creative which my daughter would enjoy but at the same time wanted to round it up within a budget. I figured this would be good way to teach her the importance of saving and working on budget. I got down listing the major components of the party, namely:

  1. Party Venue
  2. Party Decorations
  3. Invites
  4. Birthday Cake
  5. Party Menu
  6. Games
  7. Return Gifts

And then planned each phase within a pre-decided cost. Here is what I did.

Party Venue and Decorations: Since I wanted to keep it a low-key affair, I decided to host my party at home. If you have a ground floor apartment or the society has a garden, arrangements can be done there as well, but I couldn’t plan it since the weather had started to get chilly. Also, if your residential space doesn’t permit, hosting a low-cost birthday party at a nearby dominos, pizza hut or dunkin doughnuts is also an option, but it restricts the food menu. As for decorations, I didn’t think it wise to do a theme birthday party for a child as young as 5, as she wouldn’t understand much. Instead I let her choose the decorations she wanted for the party, so we ended up with a huge number of balloons, streamers, cartoon stickers etc—simple, affordable stuff but very pretty too.

Invites : I did some DIY invites with balloons. I inflated some balloons and fastened it with an elastic band. Using a permanent marker, then I wrote the date, time and venue of the party on the balloon and let the air out of it once the ink dried.  Then, I stuck the deflated balloon on a small piece of a card paper and wrote “BLOW IT!!!” under it. The words on the balloon become clear once it blows up. If you do not want to go to such lengths and happen to have a printer, you can download and print several printable invites from the internet and still go the DIY way.

Birthday Cake and Menu: Doing a DIY cake also, is also a very good option, if you have the required experience and equipment. Since I wasn’t sure of my baking skills so much, I stuck to ordering. I ordered a two-tiered cream icing cake, as I have often seen guests disliking the fondant layer in cakes, which leads to a lot of wastage. My friend whom I ordered the cake from, informed me that those pretty picture cakes use very harmful “edible” colors, and so should be avoided. I chose a two-tiered cake so that children can have their favorite chocolate flavor while other guests could enjoy another flavor. As for the menu, again I divided it into 4 major components :

  1. Drinks
  2. Snacks
  3. Main Course
  4. Dessert

As the menu had to be apt for a children’s birthday party with only a few adults, all the meal items were planned according to children, tweaking it for the elders here or there.
For drinks: Children were served sweet lime and elders were served cold coffee, as I wanted to avoid aerated drinks. I kept some canned juices as a backup, but never used them.
For snacks: Apart from the ever present smileys, french fries and nuggets, I also did some easy to do dhokla(in microwave) and  dal vadas (batter was prepared in advance). Here I would like to present the star of my party “The air fryer”, it makes frying so easy, hassle free and healthy. If you are one of those who hosts a lot of parties and don’t happen to have an air fryer, its time you invested in one. Highly recommended!!!
For the main course : I took the help of my daughter, to plan this part. She loves noodles and she loves burgers, so that’s what I chose for the main course. The preparation for burgers was done in advance and the patty I used, were from Mc Cain, that you can prepare yourself as well. I prepared some non-spicy noodles in the afternoon and re-heated them in the evening before serving, also for adults I did some veg. manchurian to go with the noodles. I didn’t serve manchurian to children unless they asked for it.
For Dessert : I arranged for two desserts, Gulab Jamun (ordered from market)  and some fruit cream, which was again prepared in advance at home.
While deciding the menu details I emphasized most on the items my daughter (and children in general) relish, along with the ease of preparation. I didn’t want to be busy in the kitchen all the while and let the guests get ignored, so I opted for items which were either prepared in advance or didn’t require much of my attention while preparation (air fryer to my rescue).
Games and Return Gifts : I had a really hard time planning the party games to keep 5-year-olds entertained during the party. Finally I narrowed down on a puppet show and some music. My friend had composed a playlist of English and Hindi party songs, for the children to dance and enjoy. Also, I got some poster colors, coloring books, beads, sequins, glue and some earthen pots for children to paint and decorate. Here I took the help of two of my friends who could help the children carry out these activities. The children were then asked to take home whatever they had created, at the end. For the return gifts, I had prepared goody bags with sweets, sketch pen sets, badges and personalized fridge magnets. Each goody bag costing me about Rs 90 approximately.

So, that was all that I did for my daughter’s 5th birthday party and she is already pestering me for the next so I am assuming she enjoyed what I did. So for the  next year I would like to adopt another great  idea I came across over the internet, which was -  while sending invites, at the bottom you can mention that the gifts received  would directly go to an orphanage or an NGO, so u can collect enough stationary or other items for the underprivileged children. This way your children also learn to give back to the society from an early age.

Hope you enjoyed this post, please contribute by giving your ideas for a birthday party, in the comments.

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| Oct 11, 2017

thanks for the blog bcoz my kids birthdays are also nearing and I am in a confused state what to do now I got clarity. Thanks once again

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| Sep 19, 2017

nice & interesting blog.

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| Mar 25, 2017

excellent job ms. neha. superb efforts taken fr planning n executing it. gr8 ideas. m sure next b' day would b unbelievably awesome!!!

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| Mar 24, 2017

As a return gift i use Tulasi plant which is helpful to aware child about plants

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| Mar 24, 2017

In drink on my lils bday i prepared homemade Gujiya & papaya milk shake... childrens n mummas also like that healthy foods

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| Mar 24, 2017

For invitation card... u use card board or old marriage cards ... cut in 5*10cm pieces... wrote some beutiful 4 line msg, venue & date... take help from ur kids... He/ she also njoy making invitation cards... Use decorative items to make it colorful... At back side i was written there Use me as book mark... So it is helpful to become a Green hero... Eco friendly option @ low cost

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| Mar 24, 2017

really gud..

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| Aug 30, 2016

Planning birthday of your loved ones .I have a fabulous idea to add. You may create personalised birthday songs with the names. Trust me they have some fabulous songs and as many as 6,000 names at an affordable price. The birthday boy/girl will surely love it. To create personalised birthday songs visit: BirthdaySongsWithNames. Com

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| Jun 15, 2016

nice idea learnt new things

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| Jun 15, 2016

nice idea learnt new things

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| Jun 15, 2016

thank u for sharing the ideas... grt plans... i hv my daughter's birthday celebration at the end of September

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| Jun 15, 2016

thanks for sharing ur ideas..

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| Jun 15, 2016

thanks for sharing ur ideas..

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| Jun 15, 2016

Also would like to mention my experience.. for my children's birthday return gifts, we always give a plant. Last year we made the kids plant their own pots with tomato seeds. All of them took good care of their pots n send me pictures of the tomatoes they grew at home!

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| Jun 15, 2016

Great learning to implement.

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| Jun 15, 2016

ya its really nice n economical also.

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| Jun 15, 2016

Lots of effort and creativity Neha!

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| May 17, 2016

Wow.. very nice ideas.

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| Feb 29, 2016

Very nice.. specially invitation idea...

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| Feb 23, 2016

Wow. V beautifully done.. Love ur balloon invite idea n getting d gifts to NGO.. Really cool..

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| Feb 19, 2016

Love ur balloon idea . I will surely do dis for baby ' bday

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| Feb 18, 2016

Hi this is mukta I really like ur Idea I am also a mother of 6 & 2 years kids I really want to know this type of party can u pls give me ur contact no. I m from Mumbai

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| Feb 18, 2016

Amazing u arranged everything so well and within budget it's impossible. Hats off to you.

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| Feb 16, 2016

Loved the blog .....xtrmly helpfull... will surely use for my son's birthday

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| Feb 16, 2016

I liked the balloon invitation idea.. will surely use it for my son"s birthday party this year..

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| Feb 15, 2016

Lovely. Especially the last part tat gifts will be given to ngo

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