Alternatives to Pricey Kids’ Birthday Parties

When exactly did birthday parties become such a competitive thing between parents? Lavish plans, pricey goody bags, and hired entertainment have seemingly taken over the simple birthday parties of days’ past. Are you seeking ways to tame party expenses while also continuing to create unique ways to celebrate your children? Here are some creative alternatives to celebrating a child’s special day while also spending your dollars in a more meaningful way.

  • Plan a family outing to celebrate the special day—a picnic at the park, a beach outing, a day at a water park, cooking your child’s favorite meal, or a dinner out at their favorite restaurant. Bring birthday cards and presents along to make the experience meaningful.
  • Plan a sleepover with three of their closest friends. Create your own decorations, serve pizza & cake and rent a couple of your child’s favorite movies. Before the festivities begin take the kids on a little scavenger hunt around your home and yard, and provide them each with a small prize when they complete the hunt.
  • Plan a ‘staycation’ in your hometown. Stay at a hotel room with a pool and order room service, or maybe a night at a camping cabin complete with S’mores.
  • Have a BFF day. Let your child pick a BFF and plan a day on the town—a movie, bowling, laser tag, a day of window-shopping, lunch at the mall, or the spa for a manicure.
  • Plan an ‘All About Me’ day. Make the entire day about your child—breakfast in bed, a shopping spree, a trip to a museum—the important thing being that they have your undivided attention and you make the day all about them!
  • Take your child and a couple of their friends to a matinee movie. Stop at a dollar store first and buy them each a box of their favorite candy for the movie.
  • Reserve a picnic pavilion at a local park and grill hamburgers and hot dogs. Complete the day with a homemade cake.
  • Plan a party at a local hands-on children’s museum or aquarium. This is a fun an inexpensive party idea especially for parents of younger children (who can get bored quickly).
  • Go in with a group of parents and throw a joint party for your children at a local park. Make it a potluck so everyone shares the expense. Plan fun games for the kids and if all the parents agree, consider making it a gift-free party.
  • It’s okay to splurge on a bigger party now and then—perhaps for a special birthday like a 13th, 16th, or 18th. A family trip to their favorite amusement park, a co-ed pool party, a limo ride with several of their closest friends to an ice cream or yogurt shop, or a concert with a few of their friends.

The important thing is that you surround yourself and your children with people who understand that birthdays are about celebrating a year of life; not about competing with other parents’ lavish party plans. Teach your kids the importance of family gatherings and celebrations, and that special occasions don’t have to be costly. This is a great teachable moment about family finances and will help your child understand the reasons for downsizing your party plans.

Hopefully this article has provided you with some great ideas for alternatives to pricey birthday parties. We’d love for you to share ways that you have saved money as a parent. You can share your feedback with us on our website or you may post them on our Facebook wall. Are you following us on Facebook and Twitter? If not, simply follow the links. We look forward to seeing you there!