WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Help needed for frugal 1-year-old birthday party

Posted May 28, 2013


One of our readers has requested some frugal and fun ideas for her child's upcoming first birthday party. Please share your thoughts!

Here is the request from a fellow blog reader:

"Anyone have any trendy/good saving tips for me and my husband on how to plan and pay for a 1 year old birthday party in the next few months?"

I can very clearly remember my oldest daughter's 1st birthday. It was Elmo themed and both sets of grandparents were there, as well as my brother and a family friend. She had one other child there as well as his parents. The party was on the back porch of my parent's house and we had snacks, cake and ice cream.It was a lovely and low-key party.

My daughter, on the other hand, remembers none of it! Keep that in mind when planning this party. No matter how overboard a parent may go with a first birthday party, the child will not remember all. This party is for the scrapbook and for the adults.

Many folks use the rule of thumb that they only invite the number of kids that equals the age of the birthday boy or girl. It cuts down seriously on the chaos and the cost during the early years. So if your child is turning one, invite one other child and the essential family members/friends. When your child turns 2, invite 2 additional playmates.

There will be many more birthdays to celebrate and as they get older, the parties are often bigger and costlier. Enjoy these early years when you really don't have to go all out.


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  • Smilepal May 29, 2013

    First birthday's are special and should be a time for making memories, but they don't have to be expensive. Theme or not it is up to you. There is Dollar Tree for great deals or you could use those cute little animal plates. Add some color, balloons, and a camera. These are the most essential items. Throw in cake and ice cream, hot dogs or even corn dogs, make some koolaid and serve with messy cheese puffs and you have memories in the making. You could also include a sprinkler for older kids. Remember to try and keep it simple or your spend more time working then enjoying your babies day. Don't feel pressured to have a super party. Just go with the flow. Yes, this has been a wonderfully busy year and your baby is soon to be 1. This is your day also. So celebrate!

  • thosig May 29, 2013

    One more thing, a few years ago I got a deal on photo books through snapfish or shutterfly. So I went through all of my son's birthdays (he's 6 now) and made a book for each one. nothing fancy, just something that he could look at and remember. Just a suggestion for later.

  • thosig May 29, 2013

    The dollar store is great for paper products, balloons, etc! Even party favors for older kids. We went all out for our son's 1st bday (prob because he was the 1st child) but for my daugther's birthday last year I made the cupcakes myself with box cake mix (on sale and with a coupon of course), we had water games outside for the older kids (we invited some of our close family friends who have children the same age as my son.) I think we ordered pizza (I did it online and used an online deal they were having), but hot dogs would work also, little ones can eat them, just cut them up into tiny pieces. I also like to look at Target for clearance paper products (they always have some and it will usually work for what I am doing). If you do party favors or in the future, I try to buy the things on clearance when I can find them. I bought plastic cups (Avengers, princesses) last night at Lowes foods for 50 cents each.
    You don't necessarily have to have a theme, I just did the number 1 and

  • brassy May 29, 2013

    If I remember right, HT bakery will do a free cake for a child's first birthday.

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper May 28, 2013

    You are welcome, squiggs! I am sure you will have a wonderful celebration. I am right there with watchhillgirl about the pictures. My 11 and 13 year olds love to look at the pictures from their early birthdays. And now that 2 of their grandparents have passed away, they treasure the pictures from those events where they are being held and loved by them. And the grnadparents who were at the parties treasured the time they had with their little grandbabies. It's a win-win for everyone. :-)

  • squiggs15 May 28, 2013

    Watchhillgril--- thanks for the wonderful advice and just for being sweet! No matter what, like you said it will be so memorable with lots of sweet and wonderful pictures!!

  • watchhillgirl May 28, 2013

    Squiggs15, I hope what ever you do, you have a wonderful time!!! A first birthday is a big deal! Although your child won't remember it, the pictures will be priceless! My daughter pulls out the photo albums (she will be 25 on June 14th) whenever she brings friends home! Enjoy your time and don't listen to the "Debbie downers"! Enjoy the birthday and take lots of pictures! I only wish that digital cameras were around when my children were smaller. Getting film developed was expensive! Enjoy and have a good time!!!

  • squiggs15 May 28, 2013

    Thank you all for the wonderful ideas. We already were planning on just doing a cake for her to smash, ice cream hot dogs and have it at our house. I understand pp can be rude and harsh at times, but thank you Faye for your help. :)

  • itsmyownopinion May 28, 2013

    Call me "Debbie Downer" if you want, but never serve hotdogs to children unless you want to face the possibility of a child choking and maybe dying. You would possibly be facing the biggest nightmare of your life, which you may find yourself legally liable for.
    Make sure there are eyes on every child present, particularly if you have the party outside near a lake, a street and the yard is not fenced in, or a grill is involved.
    I like the idea of the child being in control of their BD cake, as the pictures are priceless and a treasure forever. Invite close family, friends and neighbors the child would be happy to have around.
    Now, have a great time. :)

  • JLAllen May 28, 2013

    We used the event to get together with friends and family we hadn't seen in awhile. They were all excited to see how much our daughter had grown. We also got the free "smash" cake from HT as Savvysaver mentioned below. And if guests asked what gifts to bring, we told them to bring a pack of diapers which we donated to Baby Basics of Apex. For a game we had guests guess the number of Cheerios (which I probably got on sale and that my daughter ate later) in a baby bottle that we already had. My MIL made table decorations using flowers from her yard. In addition to making most of the food, I picked up some clearance items at Target. Pinterest also has some great ideas for thing like handmade goody bags.