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Ulari Nwaogazie: 7 Cool Ideas to Help You Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday…On a Lean Budget



It’s your child’s birthday coming up soon. You truly want to have a memorable party for your child, but the economics of the purse and bank accounts are currently not adding up. What do you do?
The prospects of organising your child’s birthday party would naturally come with some sighs, deep thoughts, and panic moments and probably depending on your temperament… Sleepless nights! Within all these are key thoughts like, where will the party take place? How many children should you invite? What will be the entertainment? And most of all, how much will it cost?

As a matter of fact, except you so choose to, many people have had children’s party that turned out great without a lot of fanfare or expense.

Here are some cool ideas that can help you to have a child’s birthday on a budget

Celebrate the Birthday at School
You can ask your child’s teacher / school if this is possible and how they would normally have it organised. You can also bake some cupcakes or a home baked cake and bring them to school, including some drinks and little gift(s) for the other children. This way, you avoid hosting a large and expensive party at home.

Invite a Few Friends
Fine! Your child does not want to celebrate the birthday at school, or his/her birthday falls within a period when the schools are closed. Your child can invite a few close friends. It can be organised as a play date or mini party. You can ask your child to limit the number of friends to 5, a maximum of 10. Plan a movie date or pizza. You can also go to a recreation centre (if there is any in your environment).

Make Your Own Decorations
Just in case you still want to have a party, you can also cut cost by making your own decorations using your child’s creativity. You can help your child to cut some paper into interesting shapes. Get some glitter and glue and make drawings to post around to accentuate the balloons and ribbons.

Create Your Own Fun
A low budget party does not mean a boring party. You can play some music, and have a dancing competitions in the living room. If the weather is agreeable, you can play some outdoor games as well such as hide and seek, scavenger hunts etc. In this case you can be as creative as permissible. However, it is important to keep safety in mind.

Offer Mouth Watering and Delicious Dishes
Also, your party is on a budget does not mean that the food should be tasteless and boring. There are so many food choices that you can make without spending a fortune. For example, the classic Jollof rice with chicken and moi- moi (beans cake)! You can also serve sandwiches and cookies.

Go with a D-I-Y Birthday Party Theme
With your child, you can decide on a fun idea for a party and do this cheap at home. Whether the party hosted at home with fun games, or taking the kids outside for an outdoor party games, or set up some crafts for a fun kid’s craft party,  choosing a favourite kid’s party theme and making it a D-I-Y affair can make it much easier on your party budget.

Have a List of Activities Set Up
On a final note, because the attention span of children is quite short, if going with a party at home, it is advisable to have several activities lines up. When the children finish one activity and another one is not coming up in an immediate sequence, they would get bored. You face the risk of having them running all over the place, chasing and screaming and creatively creating all types of havoc and mayhem. You simply do not want that!

I hope these low budget ideas help you, so that you don’t stress but smile.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Photoeuphoria

With a decade of experience working with business owners, clients and community groups on a variety of special events and projects. Ulari loves to build and manage both relationships and projects. Besides writing and events planning, she adores her family and close friends, loves great hair extensions, DIY activities, politics and cooking!


  1. whocares

    November 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    This is soooo true. Birthdays do not have to cost the world. My mom and I for my brothers’ birthday this year, we invited all their friends from school, set up our video game console, got a multi games table (really cheap like 4 in 1 games., you just change it) bought pizza, some fruits (before some parents complain that we made their kids constipated) some crisps, sweets, drinks, I set up music and we let them go for it. According to my brothers it was the best birthday they ever had. We of course supervised them intermittently but really it was no fuss. They played video games as they brought their games and controller from home or played my brothers’, they ate.. when they left as it was from 2pm – 6pm, we finished cleaning the house in an hour. Ah! We have seen the light o. No stress to cook jollof rice, or washing the dishes, or even serving anyone.. the kids parents brought their kids and left. lool. They found a free baby sitter in us. Next year its the same. lol. This only works if your kids are older than 8 of course.

    • Chinenye

      November 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      You and your mom are wise jare. LOL. I can picture the party and it must have been a lot of fun for the kids. Happy birthday in arrears to your brother.

  2. nene'sma

    November 3, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    My baby is turning 1 next month(8th), thinking of celebrating, hope I have cash by then.

  3. Chinenye

    November 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    I agree with the poster. You don’t have to spend a lot to have your kids birthday party. I package & sell party packs for kids parties. I work with the budget of the parents & the age range of the kids to package very lovely, fun & educational goodies for the kids. You can visit my facebook page: or Instagram: @giftful to see pictures of our kiddies & other goodies.

  4. Olufunmi

    November 3, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Please proffer a solution for 1 yr old birthday party……..ideas are very welcome. thanks in advance y’all

    • Abi

      November 4, 2015 at 1:59 am

      For first year, the fewer the guests, the merrier for your baby. You can invest in a cupcake maker and ice home baked cupcakes, or get a really simple 8 or 10 inch pan made. Just decide on a really cute design – makes them look classy. Put up loads of balloons through out the house or venue. Chill drinks and fry chicken. Warn ahead that it’s a cake and chicken party.
      Make simple party packs yourself, order small chops, and remember that in Naija, you can never go wrong with the all time classic jollof rice and chicken – but a full meal is not compulsory either. Before guests arrive, or the evening before, take your baby for some professional photos with the cake.
      You could also host a professional photo party alternatively. Invite your closest and best,take along chilled drinks and small chops. Your child is the centre of attention and everyone else has fun sharing the stage with her/him. Remember to cue in all time hit songs in the background at all times.
      In reality the memories preserved are what you really want and if that’s all the party you make, its often more than enough.

    • Olufunmi

      November 4, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      thanks Abi……..E hugs

  5. Tru

    November 4, 2015 at 10:21 am

    This is nice. Especially in this age where kids’ birthdays have become equivalent to weddings…

  6. mia

    November 4, 2015 at 11:22 am

    In my opinion, going all out to celebrate a 1 year birthday is waste of money. most times, the child sleeps or is crying when the party is going on. For my one year old, i bough snacks, drinks and made lovely cakes and took to her creche. I got a good photographer to take a photoshoot, went with colleagues and friends and just had fun with her while she took pictures with different outfits. On Sunday, we did the same in her baby class in church and retired home to have a proper shoot with her at home. The whole thing cost below N70,000 and we have the memory of a fun birthday for my princess.

    In this hard economic time, you can do something memorable but simple and have the picture to show for it, not a carnival where the child will be crying and he won’t even be able to get a proper picture. When they are older and wiser, you can go all out, then, they will appreciate it.

  7. Kbebe

    November 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

    A friend of mine went to an orphanage with gifts for the children and cake of course. He said it was the most fulfilling celebration he had ever had. One of the children prayed for his daughter and that really moved him. Birthday parties have become competition amongst parents. All in all, do what your pocket can handle.

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