How to Plan a Party on a Budget
I have always loved planning a party! I don’t actually like attending parties as much as I like throwing them! I love coming up with new creative themes and finding fun and frugal items to make them pretty and enjoyable!
I am often asked how do you plan a party and where do you get the items for the party, so I thought I would share my favorite party tips. Because of the season of my life right now, most of my parties are kid parties, however I use these same tips for adult parties as well. The key is to coming up with a plan & sticking to it to keep the costs low.
Cookie Monster – Milk & Cookies Birthday Party
Pick a theme:
When picking a theme for your party, this can be as broad or as narrow as you like. For my boys, I like to do themes of things they are really into. I am not a big fan of “premade parties” – such as streamers, plates, banners all matchy, matchy. I like to come up with a theme then choose a color scheme – usually two to three colors and then from there brainstorm further about what the theme will entail.
Party Themes for Inspiration:
Circus Themed Party – Clown Cupcakes, primary colors, popcorn & more
Spanish Buzz – My son loved the Spanish Buzz scene in Toy Story 3 and was constantly reenacting it! I decided on the colors: green, blue, purple and white. To add to the Spanish theme we had a piñata.
Dinosaur Party – My three year old was obsessed with dinosaurs! I choose the colors blue, orange, and green to help narrow the party décor.
Elephants on Parade – This was for my cousin’s baby shower. She was having a boy so I went with the colors baby blue, lime, yellow, orange and beige.
Those are just some ideas of parties I’ve done, but there are so many ideas out there for almost anything you can come up with, especially with Pinterest these days. In later tips, I will explain in more detail about the individual parties and some of the ideas I’ve used, but the first step is just brainstorming ideas about the theme you’ve chosen. Since there are so many ideas, narrowing the theme and color scheme can help give your brainstorming some focus and keep the costs down. There are almost too many ideas out there so having a focus is very important. Pinterest is also a great resource to use to help you brainstorm & keep all your ideas together & focused- check out my Party Ideas Pinterest board.
Party Planning Worksheet:
I created this free printable party planning worksheet that I use when helping others plan parties or when I am planning my own. Print it off & start filling it out to help you as you brainstorm your next party! This will help you to stay on track with your budget, too.
Here is an example of my brainstorming worksheet for my son’s upcoming 6th birthday party:
Occasion: Joey’s 6th birthday
Who (guest list):
- 2 cousins (bowling party)
- Grandma & Grandpa, aunts and uncles
- Total of 15 guests
What (theme and colors):
- Vintage bowling
- Colors-red, black, white, and aqua
- First part – bowling alley
- 2nd half – our home
- March 17, at 2:00
Food and drink:
- Rice krispy pops
- Sugar cookies
- Izzy sodas
- Bowling with cousins
- At home for cake, food and gifts with grandparents, aunts and uncles
- Bowling trophies
- Bowling tattoos
- Bowling shirts
- Aqua bunting
- Vintage bowling ball and pin
- Large bowling pin with #6
Order of events/Timeline:
- Back home for food (family meeting there)
- Pass out favors and say thank you
After filling out the party planning worksheet, I then make a shopping list and to do list:
Here’s my to-do list for the upcoming bowling party:
- Make and send invitations
- Look for bowling pin, ball
- Make shirts
- Order trophies and tattoos
- Make bowling reservations
- Buy party plates, napkins, cups
- Make banners, cupcake toppers, and birthday sign
- Write thank you notes
Favorite Party Websites:
Check out more ideas for planning a party on a budget::
- Do It Yourself Favors, Cakes & more
- How to Keep Costs Down with Food
- Plan Ahead & Shop the Sales
- Ways to Save on Party Resources
Follow our Party Ideas Pinterest board for more ideas too:
What type of fun parties have you planned?
By Contributor Sarah