11 Tricks Every Budget Party Planner Should Know

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Party planning on a budget doesn’t need to be stressful. In a few weeks, we will be throwing the ultimate Superhero party for our 6 year old and it’s costing us just £8.30 per child! That includes the games, the food, the venue decorations, the cake, and the party bags.

Today, I’m going to share my best tricks for getting the most out of your money.

1. Choose a theme

Kids love themed parties and having a theme to work from will give you a direction. It also makes your party feel a lot more professional and less ‘ad-hoc’.

What is your child interested in at the moment? Do they have a favourite film? Or a favourite toy? Or do they have a particular hobby like art or football?

2. Develop a colour scheme

This needs to be one of the earliest steps because it will impact the rest of the party. Look at your theme and choose 2 to 4 colours that will fit well (e.g. black and yellow for a Batman Party or your child’s team colours for a rugby party).

Note your choice of colours down – this will be important later.

3. Limit the party guests

This is an obvious point, but the more guests you invite, the more it’s going to cost you. We tend to stick with 6 or 7 close friends.

It’s also worth noting that most party bag items are sold in packs of 6 or 8, so choosing a multiple of these (6, 8, 12, 16 guests) means you are only buying as much as you need.

budget party pink balloons pop

4. Have the party at home

Yes I know – 5 words that strike fear into the heart of every parent! But hear me out…

  • It’s free (great for your budget!)
  • You can set up in your own time
  • You can clear away when you like
  • It explains to other parents why you only have a short guest list

We rented a hall for a couple of parties, but it was such a rush getting the room prepared in the time slot we were given. Then, once the guests had left, there was no respite – we had to immediately start on the mammoth task of washing up and taking all banners down, etc.

When we swapped to hosting parties at home, we set up the room the night before while the kids were asleep. Then we kept out of the house on the day of the party (so the room stayed as it should) and arrived in time for it to start. Once the guests left, we sat down and had a chill out, and then eventually packed away once the kids were in bed again.

We also kept the birthday banners up for a few days after the party so that our kids could enjoy them for longer.

5. Carefully choose your branded items

You can spend a fortune on branded table wear, banners, and party accessories. But you really don’t need to.

Choose a few key items*, and then just fill out the selection with plain coloured items from your palette of colours (see – I said the colours would be important later!). Plain products are quite cheap compared to branded ones.

For example, our My Little Pony table was themed around white and pale pink so we had:


1x Plastic Table Cloth (white) | £1.79

20x Napkins (pale pink) | £1.49

8x Paper Cups (pale pink) | £1.49

8 x Paper Plates (pale pink & white polka dots) – for the food | £1.49

*8x My Little Pony Paper Party Plates – for the guests| £2.59*





Prices correct as of 29th January 2017




The table looked great and yet we’d achieved it on a very tight budget.

6. Decorate the venue

You might be tempted to ignore the room decorations when you’re counting the pennies, but don’t! A nicely dressed room will add so much magic and atmosphere to the party, and make a huge difference to the overall experience.

Just use the same principle we mentioned in the table section; choose one or two stand-out items that are branded, and then fill out the rest with your colour scheme. This makes it a lot cheaper but just as effective.

Also, you can’t have a party without bunting so check out my easy peasy no-sew bunting idea and you’ll have reams of the stuff in minutes!

budget bunting card craft party

7. Make the most of what you’ve got

If you’ve chosen a theme which your child loves, you’ve probably got a load of related toys and posters in your house already. Get them all together and decorate your venue with them. It all adds to the overall ambience (and your budget will thank you for re-using).

You can even get your children involved and get them to draw some pictures to put on the walls, or print some colouring sheets off for them.

8. Provide cold finger food

Using finger food such as mini sausage rolls and jam sandwiches means you don’t need to buy cutlery (great for the budget). And, as an extra tip, if the food can be eaten cold, you can prepare it all beforehand rather than trying to cook whilst simultaneously hosting your party.

Think about finger foods for your pudding too as this will mean the children can reuse their plates rather than having to stretch your budget to include bowls and spoons. Mini buns, party rings, and chocolate fingers are always popular.

budget party finger food

9. Plan your own party activities

Forget magicians and children’s entertainers. Good, old-fashioned party games are the way to go when you’re working to a budget, plus they’re really good fun!

Read my article on themed party games so that your party flows effortlessly.

10. Dress up

This is one of the great things about choosing a theme – you can ask your guests to dress to the theme. This naturally adds to the feel of the party and yet it doesn’t cost you, the host, a penny.

11. Buy or bake a budget cake

There are so many ways to make a fantastic cake on a budget. Of course baking your own from scratch is probably the cheapest of all, but it’s not everyone’s forte.

Lots of supermarkets sell ready-iced cakes for between £5 and £10. Alternatively, you can easily buys cakes that just have white fondant icing on them. Buy a pack of smarties and decorate it (or even just use the colours from your theme if you like).

Buns and cupcakes are also popular and can be decorated in a similar way.

If you fancy having a go at cake decorating (I promise it’s not as scary as it seems), check out my beginners guide to fondant icing.


I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. We’re currently doing a mini series on party planning here at Lucy At Home, so feel free to browse the other posts mentioned. And don’t forget to check out how to throw the perfect girls superhero party

This post contains some affiliate links. For more info, check out my disclosure policy.

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Add yours
  1. 3
    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    All my kids parties till age 11 were at home with a theme and home created games. They were a great success, cheap and all the kids adored their big day. It takes time and effort to do it this way but at least as much fun as any birthday party and much cheaper. #MarvMondays

    • 10
      Lucy At Home

      Yup. We were on a very tight budget which meant we had to think more creatively. I do sometimes wish that we had the money to just blow and make it all so much easier. But I do like the challenge of creating something amazing from not very much.

  2. 11
    Karen | TwoTinyHands

    This is totally up my street! My first plan is to never ever make a big party for a whole class ever!! Small and low key but with all the little trimmings! Make memories not stress! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  3. 13

    Love this post, I cant understand the whole “massive” children’s parties thing, My boy is 6 in August and wants his first party so will be re-reading this post for sure!


  4. 14
    The Squirmy Popple

    Great tips! I have yet to plan a children’s party because mine is still so little, but when I do it will definitely be low-key and simple! #ablogginggoodtime

  5. 15
    Mrs Mummy Harris

    with the massive financial set back being on mat leave had on us, we decided to combine Bens first birthday with his christening to make the costs easier to handle. then in swoop MIL and FIL who tell us it is tradition that the grandparents pay for the Christenings. Now we have no financial input and they’re even hosting the party back at theirs as they live right behind the church! winner winner chicken dinner!! #brillblogposts

  6. 23

    Great ideas for saving money when running a party. Our kids are important to us, but that doesn’t mean you have to overpay for them. Limiting party guests is by far the most effective way to save money at a party, but it also allows you to spend more time on each child (including the birthday child) so they all have a wonderful time.

  7. 24

    Very true Lucy. Great ideas. Last birthday I went with a church hall which was quite cheap and Iceland finger food. I cannot find a cheap venue where we live now and like the idea of a party at home, however I would feel a bit bad about not inviting all kids from my daughter’s class. What are your thoughts please?

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