Guide to Birthday Party Planning - Step 1: Setting your Budget

When planning a birthday party, it's important to set a realistic budget and prioritize each element of the party. The 7 essential parts of planning the budget are: venue, guest list, invitations, cake, food and drinks, decorations and party favors, and entertainment. To keep costs down, consider hosting the party at home or a public park, making your own food and drinks, shopping for supplies at discount stores, and keeping the guest list small. Remember to leave room for miscellaneous expenses and have fun!

Graphic: how to set birthday party budget

So you're planning a birthday party, huh? And (of course!) you've already read the 10 Steps to Planning a Birthday so you know the first step is to set your party budget. The traditional way to do this is pick a dollar amount then try to do all the things within that budget. The way I do it is to prioritize each part of the party then work my way down the list. For example, if you are planning a kids' birthday party for your nine year old and he wants to have it at a trampoline park, that is the most important consideration for your budget. Or, if it's your baby's first birthday and you want all the pretty, handcrafted party decor to make an IG worthy party scape, you'll throw a lot of the budget into decorations.


Usually, the biggest chunk of your budget will be determined by the number of guests and/or venue. These two elements go hand in hand, as a larger guest list requires a spacious venue, while a specific venue choice may limit guest numbers. Let's take a closer look at the 7 Essential Parts of Planning your Birthday Party Budget.


1. Venue

The venue you choose will greatly impact your budget. Hosting the party at home is usually the most affordable option, but if you choose to have the party at a venue, such as a park or a party room, you'll need to budget for the rental fee and may have to purchase food through the venue.

2. Guest List

 As I already said, the number of guests you invite will also have a big impact on your budget. The more guests you have, the more food, drinks, and party favors you'll need. Keep in mind that some venues charge by the number of guests, so keep your guest list realistic.

3. Invitations

Nowadays, as quick evite will get the job down and at zero cost. For a family party, a simple digital invite sent through a group text works well. And don't forget the a good old Facebook event invitation. For children's parties, printing out the invite is necessary if you're inviting friends from school. However, if you're hosting a milestone event such as a 70th birthday celebration, sending out a beautiful physical invitation is a great way to mark the occasion.

4. Cake

Whether you're on a budget or willing to splurge, finding the perfect cake is definitely possible. For a quick and affordable option, grocery-store cakes are a tasty choice. However, if you're looking for a beautiful, bakery-made cake or hosting a milestone event, be prepared to allocate a significant portion of your budget.

5. Food and Drinks

Food and drinks can quickly add up, especially if you're serving a full meal or hiring a caterer. Consider a potluck-style party or DIY catering to save money. A pizza party is an inexpensive and classic option for children's parties.

6. Decorations and Party Favors

Decorations and party favors are often overlooked when setting a budget, but they can add up quickly. Consider making your own decorations or party favors or buying them in bulk to save money. A great example is when I gave out coloring pages to the kids and handed out inexpensive crayons as favors, which turned out to be a huge hit. Get creative and have fun with it!

7. Entertainment

If you're hiring entertainment, such as a magician or a bounce house, be sure to factor in the cost. If you're on a tight budget, consider DIY entertainment, such as games or crafts. You can find lots of games like scavenger hunts or escape rooms online to entertain the kids for a long time at a low price point.



    Don't forget to budget for miscellaneous expenses, things pop-up or prices are more than you expected, so leave a little wiggle room just in case.


    Remember to set a realistic budget and stick to it. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a great party, so be creative and resourceful to keep costs down.
    Here are some additional tips to help you plan a successful party while staying within your budget:
    • Consider hosting the party at home or a public park instead of renting a venue.
    • Shop for decorations, party favors, and supplies at discount stores or online marketplaces.
    • Make your own food and drinks instead of catering or ordering takeout.
    • Keep the guest list small to minimize expenses on food and supplies.
    • Plan the party during off-peak hours or days to take advantage of discounts or special deals.
    By following these tips, you can throw a memorable party without breaking the bank. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the company of your guests. Ultimately, no one will remember if you have beautiful decorations or a fancy cake, they'll remember what fun they had celebrating! Now that you know how to budget for a birthday party, let's talk about the other steps to planning a birthday party.  Join our email list to get all the specifics on each step straight to your inbox.

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