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So tomorrow my oldest has another birthday – she has officially reached an age which can no longer be named.  😉  I may or may not be in utter denial about the teen years.  Ha!

Birthdays are beginning to look about as simple and low maintenance for her as they were when my girls had their first few birthdays.  Circle of life, birthday style I suppose – Ha!  For her, gone are the days of her desire for elaborate birthday parties, complete with every decoration and tricked out detail a child could hope for.

These days she seems to be settling into a sweet rhythm of ‘no biggie Mom, let’s just invite a couple friends over for a movie night or sleepover!’  Just a little bittersweet?  Yes!  Practical, easier, and cheaper?  Oh yes!  We’ll call this a win  🙂

Budget birthday party planning

But don’t we all need to hear it’s okay not to go nuts on kids’ birthday parties these days? A low key, low budget birthday can be even more meaningful for kids, leaving them with magical memories of what matters most in life.

Goodbye stressed out party planner, hello relaxed parent ready to celebrate the life of your child!  Which is exactly why I was stoked to find the perfect cheap and easy birthday essentials at my local Walmart.  Check out my birthday celebration shopping list below for budget-friendly ideas to keep it simple at your child’s next party too.

Budget birthday party planning

6 must haves for a fabulous celebration on the cheap!

1) Cookies or cupcakes to take to school make any child feel special and happy when their birthday falls on a school day, like my daughter’s does this year. Naturally, this is a #1 must have item in my middle schooler’s mind!

2) I like to stick with the budget plasticware and paper products for all my kids’ parties. Saving on those little items that tend to look mostly the same anyway means I can splurge on things like those cupcakes to take to school  😉

3)  Tissue paper flowers, streamers, and balloons have always been one of our favorite ways to add lots of color and interest without spending alot of money.  I love that those basics are such staples they work well for any birthday celebration, for kids of any age – (not to mention adults)!

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4) The colorful, $1 plastic tablecloths make for a versatile birthday staple perfect for anything from a backdrop for a wall, a giant floor covering for messy craft projects, or to simply cover tables with for snack time!

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5) Hallmark cards starting at 47 cents – My husband and I started a tradition of oftentimes swapping up to 3 cards per special occasion, per person some years.  We did this more in the beginning of our relationship and it’s never really extended into the cards we choose for our children’s special days – but at prices like this, I could totally snag several and add to the fun with cards scattered throughout the day for my daughter.  It’s just a simple, silly little way to say “I love you” multiple times, in multiple ways!  Walmart is the only retailer with a selection of Hallmark cards starting at 47 cents, so if you decide to do the same, you know where to go  😉

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6) When it comes to kids, my favorite gift shopping strategy is quite literally to get more for less. When Natalie saw her gifts packaged up for her birthday tomorrow, she was so excited that she actually commented on how glad she is that I’ll take the time to shop for her instead of assuming all she’d appreciate is a gift card like alot of adults do about kids her age.  She made it clear that picking out personalized gifts that reflect who she is means alot to her.

That warmed my heart and I remember feeling similarly about her age. But the best part is, it doesn’t take spending much to create this feeling of being uniquely appreciated for your child. I shopped for Natalie’s gifts with seasonal, age, and personality quirks in mind and my finds ranged from her favorite flip flops at clearance prices to new journals, extra hair bands, and more.  I love spreading the value around by buying a good mixture of practical, yet fun items I know my kids will still appreciate and fill their unique love cups to overflowing  🙂  I wrapped all the little items in tissue paper and put them in gift bags she’s going to have a blast going through tomorrow!

Budget birthday party planning

Hope you enjoyed this little insight into budget birthday prep through the eyes of one family like your own! Do you like to save money on birthday party planning?  Share your great ideas below – we’re always looking for more creative ideas to plan fun celebrations without spending alot of money!