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Budget birthday celebrations

Birthday celebrations imageIt can be a bit stressful planning your birthday celebrations. There’s a good chance you’ve been to someone’s party in the past where a lot of money has been spent, and you might feel like your party just won’t be up to standard. But the truth is you don’t need much money at all to throw a party that you, your friends, and your family will never forget.

Partying on a budget is all about working out what you can spend and then getting the most out of that money. For some people, that might only be $50, while for others it might be $1,000. Whatever the figure is, you can have an incredible celebration if you are smart in how you use your money.

Obviously, any birthday party planner will, right now, need to take into account the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and plan according to current social distancing guidelines. However, as restrictions hopefully ease, we’ve put together some practical tips on how to budget your birthday celebrations, as well as a list of some great cheap birthday party ideas.

How to Budget Your Birthday Party

Set a Baseline Budget

The first thing you want to do when setting out a budget for your birthday party is to set a figure of what you are happy to spend on your celebrations. It’s a good idea to do this before you start calculating the costs of the various individual aspects of your birthday celebrations. Doing this first will give you a hard figure to fall back on when you are considering individual costs, stopping you from spending beyond your means.

Work Out Your Priorities

Setting out the baseline figure will also give you a good way of working out what your priorities are. You might have a picture in your head of what your ideal birthday party looks like but some of the things you imagine are going to be less important than others. If you work out what the most important aspects of your celebrations are, then you can make those other items fit within your budget.

For example, you may have your heart set on celebrating at a particular venue. If this is essential to you, then you can make other costs like food, drink, and decorations fit within what remains of your budget after the cost of the venue.

Work Out All Expenses

It’s a good idea at this point to set out all of the expenses that will relate to your celebrations. You don’t want to book a venue and then find out a couple of weeks later that other necessary costs are going to make you go over budget. Here is a list of items you may want to consider:

  • Food
  • Drink
  • Venue
  • Decorations
  • Invitations
  • Event planner
  • Transport
  • Entertainment

Budget Your Priorities

With most costs associated with throwing a birthday party, there is a way to make significant savings. If you’ve worked out your most important priority, you can start to work out how to make the other necessary items fit into your budget. | Greater Bank


Here are some ways you can save on individual costs.

1. Keep the guest list small

This is probably the quickest and easiest way to reduce the cost of your birthday celebrations. A lot of the costs associated with a birthday celebration are determined per head. So, if you have an extra ten people on your guest list, that can represent hundreds of dollars or even more. If you’re trying to celebrate on a budget, trim the guest list to just your closest friends. This will not only make the event cheaper but probably also more intimate and enjoyable.

2. BYO drinks

If you are planning on having alcohol for your party, this can drive up the cost extremely quickly. Buying beer, wine, or spirits for a dozen or more people can immediately create a cost of hundreds of dollars or a lot more. Rather than buying alcohol people may not want to drink - or running out of alcohol on the day/night - you can just let people bring their own alcohol to your celebrations. Another idea is to go alcohol-free for your birthday celebrations. You can read on to find lots of good ideas to celebrate where alcohol isn’t involved.

3. Make your own food

You may think this is a bad idea if you aren’t a great cook, but there are lots of ways around that. The first thing you can try is to enlist the help of a few friends and family to help you cater for your guests. You can also find a lot of really good recipes on the internet that are designed for people without much cooking experience. If you practise cooking a few simple dishes in the weeks before the event, you should be able to master them. Or, you could give yourself an early birthday present and buy a cooking class where you learn how to create a few dishes that you would then be comfortable reproducing.

4. Use a free venue

Venues like bars and restaurants can take up your whole budget if you’re not careful. For some people, celebrating at a favourite restaurant or a cool bar may be the most important aspect of their celebrations. But if this isn’t you, look for venues that are open to the public. Beaches and parks can provide a great free environment for bringing people together. If your own home isn’t suitable for a celebration, you might even consider asking a friend or family member if you can use their home or garden for the event.

5. Make your decorations and invitations yourself

Party costs can start to rise if you are looking at bespoke invitations and fancy decor. But you can get something more interesting and personal by taking care of these things yourself. Get creative - find pictures of you and your friends to print out and hang on the walls, or do some arts and crafts to make party hats and confetti.

6. Get help from family and friends

Friends and family are the best resources you have to party on a budget. Someone usually knows someone who can help out in a particular way. You might be able to get a nephew and his band to provide free or cheap musical entertainment, or your neighbour down the road might have some decorations for a party that never happened. Reach out and you’ll be surprised what you find.

Budget Birthday Celebration Ideas

Day at the beach

Australians are blessed to have free access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This is a free party venue that many people in the world would die to have access to. Rather than just going to the beach to sunbake, you can organise games like beach cricket, volleyball, or flags. Investing $20 in a beach cricket set may be the easiest way to ensure a memorable celebration with your friends and family. If there is a public barbeque area, ask your friends and family to bring something they want to cook. If you don’t live near a beach then research a nice river or another water source where people can swim and hang out. When was the last time you and all your friends went to the beach anyway? Your birthday could provide the opportunity to do something that always gets talked about but rarely happens.

Group experience

Adults usually don’t think about organising a group to go and do something like go-karting, laser-tag, paint-ball, or rock climbing. We usually think these are things for kids’ parties. But you will probably be surprised if you suggest to your friends that you all go and do one of these activities as your birthday celebration. Even adults want to launch a pretend skirmish on enemy lines or run around a dark maze shooting each other with lasers. Ask everyone to pay for themselves as a present to you and you can all have an unforgettable experience.

Boardgame night

Another crowd-pleaser that adults rarely think of. Board games like Newcastle Monopoly can provide hours and hours of entertainment for a small crowd and are a great way to get people laughing and having a good time more quickly than they might in a bar or restaurant. If you want to party cheap, ask everyone to bring a bottle of wine, while you provide a brand new board game that no one has tried before. $30 might be the price tag for the best birthday celebration you have ever had.

Budget Birthday Party Done Right

You don’t need thousands of dollars to get your friends and family together and create a celebration you will never forget. Partying on a budget is all about working out what you can afford to spend and then maximising the value of that figure.

So, here’s the rundown:

  •  Work out your baseline budget
  • Work out your priorities for how you want to celebrate
  • Get creative with your celebration ideas
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