DIY Party Planning on a Dime


I love planning birthday parties, but I also love saving money, and typically those things don’t go hand in hand. Pinterest makes mamas feel like they have to go above and beyond with party planning and spend a fortune, but that’s not true. I’m here to tell you how you can plan a cute party on a dime.

1. E-mail Invitations

Let’s be honest, we all know that invites just get thrown in the trash, so this is a huge place to save in party planning. There are lots of great websites you can use to send out digital invitations such as Evite, Paperless Post, and Smilebox.  Or if you are like me and like having the invitation as a keepsake, you can order one from Etsy or choose one from Canva, print one for yourself and the grandparents, then e-mail them out to the rest. (I have also found that I have had better RSVP responses because they can just reply to the e-mail saying they can come!)

kids Golf Birthday Invitation

2. Look for Free or Used Printables

For Pearson’s first birthday, I searched the web (and of course Pinterest) for free printables and found these super cute pirate themed cupcake holders along with a birthday banner! There’s tons of free stuff to be found on the internet, you just need to do a little searching.

pirate birthday party cupcake toppers

For his second birthday, I bought all of his party decor and printables used off of one of my Facebook community groups for $30. Obviously, Facebook will be hit or miss, but I’ve seen people post party stuff here and there, so keep your eyes peeled for it!

construction birthday party theme

Another place I recently discovered to find used party supplies is a DFW Facebook Group called The After Party Marketplace. I plan to sell my leftover golf-themed party stuff on there, and hopefully another little kid can have a super cute golf par-tee!!

3. Double Your Entertainment as a Party Favor

(Or just skip the party favors altogether.) For my son’s 3rd birthday party, we just played in the backyard. We had all of our normal backyard toys available for the kids to play with, but I also purchased a golf club set for each kid which doubled as entertainment and their party favor.

If you have a backyard party or a park party, you could alway do a ball, bubbles, a kite, or sidewalk chalk as a party favor.

golf birthday party favors

4. Dollar Tree Paper Goods

I originally bought all of the paper goods for my son’s last birthday party at Party City and spent $35 on just the basics (tablecloth, lunch plates, cake plates, cups, and silverware). I totally forgot that Dollar Tree has all of these things for just a dollar!! I’ll be honest, the quality isn’t quite as good and the color selection isn’t as big. But they had yellow and green stuff, which was what I needed, and I only spent $10 (and that included all the clear serving dishes). Just like the invitations, that stuff all goes into the trash anyway, so this is a great way to save.

kids golf birthday party decorations

5. No Need for Gourmet Cupcakes

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Sprinkles cupcake (or any other gourmet cupcake for that matter), but $2.50 per cupcake adds up quick, and it’s quite depressing when the kids just lick the icing off and leave it. I’ve decided it’s not worth spending the extra money on gourmet cupcakes, but instead save the money and make homemade cupcakes or buy them from Wal-Mart for $6 a dozen.


However, I would advise against green icing!! What a mess!!

6. Use Things from Around Your House for Decor

To save money on decorations, I try to use things from around the house for decor. For Pearson’s 1st birthday, I threw a party with the same theme as his bedroom. I basically pulled all the decorations out of his room to decorate for the party!

sailing themed birthday party decorations

For his 2nd birthday, I used dump trucks that we already had as toys and black picture frames we already had around the house.

construction theme birthday party decor

For his 3rd birthday party, I used picture frames that were in his little brother’s room. No need to buy new stuff when you can just re-purpose items from around your house!

The biggest thing to keep in mind when planning your child’s party is that this is your child’s special day. Don’t let themes, party favors, cake or decor stress you out. Most likely, your kid doesn’t really care.

At the end of Pearson’s last party, he told me “THAT WAS SOOOOO FUN!!”

And that is really all that matters!!

Need more birthday party advice? Check out these other Dallas Moms articles:

Birthday Party Etiquette

How We Had an Inexpensive Stress-Free Birthday Party

Dallas Moms Ultimate Birthday Party Guide



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