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How To Plan An Awesome 1st Birthday Party Without Going Broke

How to Plan an Awesome 1st Birthday Party without Going Broke

My little munchkin is going to be 2 next month….TWO! Cue the tears. 🙁 I know EVERYONE says it goes by so fast, but really y’all, how did this happen? She is now a walking (more like running), talking little ball of energy and personality, and soooo much fun! As I’m frantically trying to decide what to do for her upcoming 2nd birthday party, I thought I’d take a look back at her 1st birthday, and give some tips I learned on how to plan an awesome 1st birthday party without going broke! (Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.  If you purchase through my link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

1.  Keep it (fairly) simple.

Let’s be honest, a 1st birthday party is pretty much for the adults. The kiddos aren’t going to remember, and are too little to really participate in a whole lot. Bounce houses and petting zoos are super fun, but I figured it’s probably best to wait a couple years before springing for those. I didn’t even get too crazy with a theme this time (we all know the price is tripled as soon as you slap a Disney character on something!), and just stuck with a Purple and Teal color scheme!

How To Plan A 1st Birthday Party Without Going Broke! Save Money While Still Having Fun!

2. DIY some decorations.

I did as much of the decorations as I could, and although it took an extra bit of time, I love how it turned out! However, it would have been soooo much easier if I had my Silhouette Cameo at the time! Instead, I traced, printed, cut, and glued everything myself.

How To Plan A 1st Birthday Party Without Going Broke! Save Money While Still Having Fun!

3. Don’t go crazy on the food.

Again, let’s remember, 1st birthday parties tend to have mostly adults in attendance, so you will need to feed them. However, if you schedule mid-afternoon, then snacks and finger foods will work just fine. Now, I probably went a little overboard on the food array, but it’s not often I get to break out all my pretty serving ware… I wanted to make the most of it! Haha. Fruit, veggies, chips/dip, and cheese/crackers work great. I also made super simple Ham & Cheese Sliders that are always a big hit!

How To Plan A 1st Birthday Party Without Going Broke! Save Money While Still Having Fun!

4. Explore your cake options.

Smash cakes are the CUTEST! I knew I just had to have one of these for my little, but wow they can be pricey! I didn’t really need anything too detailed or extravagant, so I checked around town to see how much I was going to have to shell out. I ended up going with our local Lowe’s grocery store. They always have such cute cakes displayed at the bakery, so I showed them a picture of what I was thinking, and they said no problem! Guess how much the cake was?? NINE DOLLARS! Crazy, right? It turned out exactly like I wanted, and tasted super yummy too! Also, instead of a larger cake for everyone else, I opted for cupcakes…partly, because it’s just easier, and partly, because I really wanted to use my cute cake/cupcake display. 🙂

How To Plan A 1st Birthday Party Without Going Broke! Save Money While Still Having Fun!

5. Do something for the memory box.

This doesn’t have to be something fancy! I’m sure many of you saw the video online of the high school senior opening and reading a box full of notes that family and friends had written to her for her 1st birthday. Her mom had saved it and given it to her for her 18th. I don’t know about you, but that sure brought on the waterworks! Well…. I had every intention of copying her idea, but it just didn’t work out. Oops. Sooo, I did do a kind of scaled down version of that instead. I got a copy of Dr. Seuss’ “Happy Birthday to You” and had everyone write a little note for our birthday girl inside. Now I will hang on to that book and give back to her when she is older.

How To Plan A 1st Birthday Party Without Going Broke! Save Money While Still Having Fun!

And finally..

6. Take tons of pictures!

This isn’t exactly a saving money tip, but super important nonetheless. You will want to preserve these memories! If it is in your budget, then hiring a photographer would be the ultimate way to do this, but if not, ask a friend or family member if they would mind manning the camera (or heck, even your iPhone camera if need be), and capturing all the little details and moments. This ensures that YOU are actually in the pictures. Yes, You Momma! This is also a celebration for YOU! You have survived the first year, and that is definitely something to celebrate.

How To Plan A 1st Birthday Party Without Going Broke! Save Money While Still Having Fun!

I hope these tips are helpful to you! Happy Birthday, little one and Congratulations to you, Momma! The first year can be a doozy, but y’all made it!

If you’re looking for great present ideas, check out 26 Books to Include in your Toddler’s Library!


What are some ways that you have found to save money on party planning?

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  • 2017-08-21 at 1:40 PM

    We did the book signing idea as well. I also printed some favorite pics from the day, laminated them, and taped them inside on different pages so he could have some visuals😊

  • 2017-08-22 at 11:58 PM

    Love how her party turned out!

  • 2017-08-23 at 12:50 AM

    Awwww I love this! It’s just in time for my sons first bday! Ugh I’m trying to hard to take your advice and not overdo it, but it’s so difficult 😫 Thank you for the tips! ❤️

  • 2017-08-23 at 1:33 AM

    They grow up sooo fast! It’s so easy to wanna splurge on the 1st Birthday but things definitely add up quickly! Great tips on how to save!

  • 2017-08-23 at 8:20 AM

    Great post! We just had my daughter’s first birthday party and I am working on a post similar to yours. I did a lot of DIY yourself decorations too. It’s important not to spend too much on a birthday your kids won’t remember but you still want it to be special. It looks like you put together a wonderful 1st birthday for your little one 🙂

  • 2017-08-23 at 1:05 PM

    I was shocked to see how expensive birthday parties can be if you use a venue and cater the food. These are great tips to have a wonderful party without breaking the bank!

  • 2017-08-24 at 8:17 PM

    Oh man, I wish I read this before my sons first birthday! I went a little overboard with everything. LOL your little one is so stinkin’ cute btw 🙂

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