How to Save Money on a 1st Birthday Party

Let me start off by saying that I’m not a fan of big 1st birthday parties.

I think it’s frivolous and it drives me crazy to spend a lot of money on something that a 1-year-old isn’t going to remember. HOWEVER, on my husband’s side of the family, they are important (it’s a Korean tradition to throw a large 1st birthday party). Plus, my husband doesn’t ask for a lot, so if he wants the kids to have big 1st parties- then it shall be done. Compromise people– I’ve been told it’s the secret to a happy marriage.

So, do 1st birthday parties need to be expensive?

NO! I’ve learn a lot in the last few years since my three children were all born within thrity-two months. Essentially, back to back 1st birthday parties. Literally for three years straight, I had to plan a 1st birthday party. I’ve done some things really well but I’ve also made a ton of mistakes along the way. 

So here are some tips to help you stay on budget. Because you don’t have to spend $1000s to have a good party. It’s about the energy you bring, the food, and the crowd!

Tips To Stay On Budget:

  • FIRST, find your venue – This will determine what you can spend and where you’ll be able to splurge or need to cut back. For example, if you’re having the party at at a community park vs. a clubhouse with a full fridge and ovens, the menu will be very different.
  • Set a realistic budget – I’m all about saving money, but don’t set a budget for $500 if you really need $1000.
  • Make a list of what you need – Like the song says, “making a list, checking it twice.” Make a list of EVERYTHING you want to include- every little detail. Because everything costs money.
  • Use what you already have – Look around your house see what type of decor can be reused.
  • Check with your family If you have someone who can make centerpieces or maybe your aunt has dessert platters or linen for the dessert table. Ask around!!!! That’s what family’s for. Especially if you’re on a budget, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Since 1st birthday parties are a big deal, everyone is usually more inclined to pitch in.
  • Use Evites I’ve actually never done this before but honestly, save yourself the money. Between finding invites on Etsy, printing them, and then buying stamps, it’s not worth the extra cost. Plus, nine times out of ten, you’re going to have to check in with guests who don’t RSVP. Why spend money on a piece of paper?
  • Make what you can – After having kids, I’ve had to learn to be a little more creative. If you’re not a DIY queen, that’s ok (I’m not). But you can save yourself some money by making simple decor like garlands, banners, pom poms, signs, etc.
  • Pinterest needs to be your best friend This goes hand in hand with the above but seriously Pinterst needs to be your bff. Not only will give it you major inspo for your theme, it will be a foundation for a ton of DIY ideas.
  • Don’t go overboard on desserts – I know dessert tables are fun. They look adorable but unless you have a ton of kids coming, don’t overdo it. With my first child, I spent most of my budget on the dessert table and maybe 25% was eaten. It was devastating.
  • Cake isn’t always necessary – Think about, if you’re having a dessert table and a humongous birthday cake, chances are your guests may be on a sugar overload. If you like the idea of a smash cake, that can totally be the center of your dessert table or you can totally bake the cake yourself. Extra brownie points for that!
  • Always check out the dollar stores – They have such great deals on decor, plates, serving utensils, etc. You’d be surprised as what you can find and spruce up.

Extra Tips:

  • Always air on the side of more decor – You’d be surprise as to how much decor you need to really spice up a venue. Always keep tags and receipts. I actually keep all of my receipts in a ziplock bag so I don’t lose anything. If I don’t use something, I take it back after the party.
  • Backdrops on AmazonAmazon has great backdrops for dessert tables that are inexpensive and can totally be reused.

With my oldest child, I went completely overboard with her 1st birthday party and it was silly.

Everything from decor to desserts. And you know what, it was nice but honestly the party lasted like three hours and I spent way too much money. I’ve seen people spend literally a few thousand dollars on 1st birthday parties. Like whyyyyyyy? Spend a portion of that and put the rest in the kids savings.

Hopefully this helps you out and saves you a headache or two. Because party planning is no joke!



  1. January 10, 2019 / 2:43 pm

    These are great tips!! And you’re right party planning is no joke and who doesn’t want to go all out for birthdays?! But there’s always a less costly way to still throw a great party!! Thanks for sharing!:)

    • January 11, 2019 / 2:09 pm

      Thanks girl! I have a love hate relationship with throwing parties. I enjoy it but its so stressful sometimes. But it’s for the kids so it has to be done. I love a good party but I also love a good deal lol!!!!

  2. January 11, 2019 / 5:42 pm

    Sound advice from an expert.

    • January 12, 2019 / 7:54 am

      Not quite, but I’ll take the compliment!

  3. January 15, 2019 / 5:11 pm

    All very great tips! I totally relate to your hubby – my family is Filipino and 1st birthday parties are kind of a big deal! But I’m also with you on not spending so much on a party they won’t remember! We threw 2 parties for Ella – one here in California and then 1 in Hawaii when we visited my family. And then for Everly, we just decided to skip the party and go to Disneyland instead lol.

    • January 15, 2019 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you so much, I’m so happy enjoyed reading it! You know what I’m talking about then. Big parties are so much work for little ones. Funny you mention Disneyland because that was what I wanted to do for my oldest child for her birthday!!!!!!!

  4. Brittanny
    January 15, 2019 / 8:43 pm

    Yes, girl! I used SO many recycled elements to do my daughter’s first birthday party. I made all her decor, food, etc. It was a true money saver! Great blog, Babe!

    • January 15, 2019 / 9:07 pm

      Recycled is the way to go!! Saves so much money and everything gets to pitch in that way!!!! You made all the decor? Oh my gosh, look at you! Way to be an over-achiever!!!

  5. January 17, 2019 / 7:34 am

    This is so great! I definitely went overboard with my first, and tried to catch up with my second born’s! These are great tips!

    • January 17, 2019 / 3:55 pm

      I think we all go overboard with our first. It’s so hard not to!!! It’s our first baby and we’re just too excited!!!! And thanks girl!

  6. January 17, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    Excellent post, very helpful! I totally agree with you on not going crazy for a 1 year old party which they won’t even remember. However, I did love your theme and all your decor tied in so well together. And your daughter’s outfit…how CUTE!!

    • January 17, 2019 / 3:54 pm

      Exactly!!! Why go crazy for a 1st birthday party if they’re not going to remember it!!! It’s supposed to for them anyway lol. And thank you so much!!!!!! I was really pressed with time when planning her party but it was fun!!!

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