Kid's birthday parties

44% of British Parents cannot afford to give their child a birthday party

The average family spends £135 on one child's birthday party - that's over £2000 by the time they're 18!

One-in-six parents admit to splashing out over £300, according to parenting website Netmums.

Whatever your budget find ideas here and cut the cost of a party with some savvy spending 


Need to know

  • Make a plan, set yourself a budget and stick to it. This will stop you picking up little extras that you don't really need
  • Invitations/thank you cards (£12.47) – make or print off your own personal invitations, buy a pack from the supermarket or send e-invites for free.  There are usually some good 'free credit' deals with paperless post Save at least £10
  • Venue (£90.04) – if you can’t host at home, or in the garden, what about a park if the weather permits? Otherwise shop around for a venue – some halls can come in as low as £5 an hour. Contact your local Parish Council for details.  Save at least £60
  • Food/drink (£63.82) – you WILL throw away half of the food so don't go over the top!  Slash costs by providing jugs of squash, hot dogs with real sausages, crisps, cakes and fruit. Save at least £40
  • Decorations (£22.72) – what could be more fun than masses of balloons. You can easily get 50 and some kind of banner or string door decoration for immediate impact for under a fiver. Save at least £18
  • Games including prizes (£24.08) – Most games don’t cost a penny, and you can get bags of party prizes at the supermarkets for around £2 each. 1 box of sweets will be enough for everyone.  Save at least £14
  • Cake (£15.32) – if you can’t make your own, buy a plain iced celebration cake for around £5 from the supermarket then jazz it up with homemade sugarcraft decorations for another £3-4 from Ebay. A bespoke party cake - and a saving of £7!
  • Party bags (£3.77 each) – these need not cost more than £1 per child, or stick to a good old slice of cake and a balloon.  Save at least £2.50 PER CHILD

Cheap Invites

Early Learning Centre Birthday Club

Why we like it:

  • free to join
  • has free party invites to download and send
  • party ideas
  • thank you cards to download
  • masks to print off a cut out
  • will send you a 20% off voucher before your child's birthday to get their present

Watch out:

  • lots of printing so you will need extra ink and paper


Why we like it:

  • free e-invitations
  • LOADS of design choice
  • you can send out to email addresses
  • RSVP options means you get emails

Watch out:

  • it's an American site
  • we had to 'fudge' the ZIP code as it wouldn't accept UK Postcode, so put it in the main part of the address. It didn’t affect the invite

Decorations, party prizes & party bags


Why we like it:

  • great selection of decorations, party favours and cheap toys
  • can even choose a theme – most for under £1

Watch out:

  • the Party and Fancy Dress is in the Office and Stationary section - NOT the most obvious place!

Party Puffin

Why we like it:

  • great for character themes
  • huge choice of popular characters
  • relatively cheap prices
  • massive range
  • VERY easy to use and great for themed parties
  • will match your ‘theme’ with much cheaper, non-branded coloured items to SAVE you money

Watch out:

  • delivery charge £3.95
  • still very much DIY/ Pick’n’mix so up to you

Net Price Direct

Why we like it:

  • ‘won’t be beaten on price’
  • you can lay a table for 20, in a princess theme for a fiver
  • party bag toys for under 50p. Nice idea if you want to fill your own bags and mix and match

Watch out:

  • delivery charge from £2.95
  • no famous brands or themes
  • ‘under 50p’ is an attractive offer but it’s always cheaper to bulk buy – so check out the larger bags of the same things from other sites

Party Pieces

Why we like it:

  • huge selection of themed accessories
  • usually have good sales selections
  • exclusive offers and free printables when you join The Party Club
  • good delivery times
  • easy to use

Watch out:

  • standard delivery charge of £3.95
  • you will be tempted to buy too much!

Cake decorations and party packs


Why we like it:

  • some real bargains if you have the time to search
  • great for searching for homemade sugarcraft decorations and toppers
  • many will personalise
  • HUGE range – tens of thousands of party items available

Watch out:

  • lead times – some take a while to make/set etc
  • just because it’s on Ebay does NOT mean it’s cheap. Always double check with google shopping before buying
  • buy from trusted sellers

The inside track

  • SHARE THE LOAD! If there is another child who has a birthday at a similar time, hold a joint party!  The kids don't care but you can share the costs (and the hard work!)
  • Don’t get sucked into paying for an entertainer - a willing parent disguised in fancy dress or a treasure hunt for any age can provide more than enough excitement
  • Become a face painter -  A lot of ‘professionals’ use the Snazaroo Ultimate Party Pack kit but it is really easy to use and you can buy it on Amazon for about £14 (it even has a book showing you how to create the looks)
  • Invest in plastic tableware - buy a neutral colour such as turquoise that you can keep and re-use for all of your children’s parties. Party Puffin does a great range of colours and at £1.70 for 8 plastic plates it’s not that much more of an investment than the paper plate option
  • When it comes to numbers, think in 8’s - Most party packs (whether cups, bags, or cakes) come in packs of 8. Invite ten children and you have to spend twice as much
  • Be crafty - Instead of party bags, do a craft activity like bag decoration during the party and let them take home their creations instead.  Otherwise, look at multipacks of books on sites such as Redhouse and The Book People that you can divide up
  • Cinema party? Have a look if your local cinema has cheap screenings for kids, these will usually be on a weekend morning and during the holidays


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