How to Throw a Stress-Free Party on a Budget

Tips and secrets for the best birthday bashes and parties

By Jamie Goodwin, Macaroni Kid Publisher October 30, 2021
I absolutely adore hosting. And above hosting, I LOVE, party planning! After nearly every party, I am asked for my tips, tricks, secrets, and even to come help with other people's parties! That's why I thought I would share some of my tips about how to plan and execute the biggest bash of the year, even if it is inside your own home.

Whether it's a Baby Shower, Birthday Party, Game Day, or Anniversary, staying within a budget and keeping your bash fun for everyone and stress-free for you, can be a challenge. Here are some the ways to stick to a budget and keep the stress level down so that you, too, can enjoy the day.

1. Set a budget - and STICK TO IT, no matter what! Yes, you may have to cut out some wants, but finding ways of getting those wants within your budget can be doable. You just may have to get a little more creative! We've had to cut out many things from our planning, including the things I think my kids just must have to make their party the best. After the party, though, I realize those ideas would have not only sent us over budget, but my kids and their friends had just as good of a time without the extra entertainment.

2. Decide your Venue. If you plan to host your bash outside of your home, know that most of your budget may go towards the cost of renting that venue, so try and find a venue that will include food and entertainment in the rental package. In order to stay on budget, you may need to sacrifice by minimizing decorations or party bags. However, a perk of finding a venue may be that they provide the food and entertainment!

If you choose to have the party in your home, this will open up room in the budget for additional decorations and treats. When we have the party in our home, I can begin decorating little by little in the weeks leading up to the big day. However, know that you may need to focus more energy in coming up with ways to entertain the kiddos.  

3. Host a dual party. My girls' birthdays are just a month apart. We give them the option of two smaller parties - spending just $100 on each party, or one big birthday bash, allowing a $200 budget. Luckily, they have always wanted the one bigger bash, allowing us to add in some of the extra "wants." Since we are only decorating once, having one cake, one set of party treat bags, I can allow my creativity to go wild! I have also received feedback from parents that they love being able to go to two parties in one vs. clearing their schedules twice.

4. Get Creative. I know, I know, some may despise the creative word, but don't discount the wonderful world of Pinterest for ideas. One year we hosted one of the most challenging, in-demand, birthday party themes. For any of you who are on the latest Disney Frozen movie craze right now, we had the challenge of every store and online being sold out of our theme for this year. I had to get super creative with the decorations. The end result? I hardly spent a dime on the decorations, and it turned out better than I had hoped for!

5. Ready for my biggest party secret?! Have a Bestie Party Girl! I have the BEST Bestie Party Girl. She's a fellow preschool mom, coach, and she's great with kids. She keeps the kids having fun, while keeping them in a straight line to get food, hands in laps during games, and all of the kids sitting and observing during gift opening. My Party Bestie shows up before the party, goes over my agenda, and executes the games, cake and gift opening! As many of you know, this is normally the most stressful time of a party, but with my Party Bestie one step ahead of me, this year was by far the most relaxing party, where I was able to ENJOY my girls and their party! In turn, I will be her Party Bestie and do the same for her girl's birthday bash!

Remember, the best part of the party is watching your children or the guest of honor enjoy it and have fun... so you should too!