Six Simple Steps to Planning a First Birthday Party on a Budget.

As you may (or not) be aware, a very special little lady is about to turn one. I cannot believe how fast the last twelve months have gone. They say time flies when you’re having fun and I guess they’d be right. The way I see it is that every day with our beautiful daughter is a gift, even the ones where she has melt downs because we wouldn’t let her crawl off where ever she wants to. She brightens our days with her smile, laughter and with her cheekiness. She is growing up so fast. Her understanding of the world is improving all the time. Her character is coming through and I am already bricking it for her teenage years as she has quite the stubborn streak, just like her mummy. She is showing a clear like or dislike of things too. She doesn’t like pear but she loves Hey Duggee. It’s her favourite thing in the whole world. We’ve bought some of her birthday presents already and there is a clear theme appearing. With this in mind, we wanted to incorporate this into the planning of her party.

So, let’s get down to the business side of this post. How can you plan a decent first birthday, on a tight budget? The answer is simple. It’s not easy to do but with some planning, using my bullet journal of course, we will make it happen and keep costs down. There are many ways in which you can save some pennies whilst still making it a day to remember.

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Step One:

Set a budget before you begin planning. If you must spend money, shop around. Find the bargains out there to help keep the costs down. Amazon has some great items out there and if you’re planning well in advance, use the third party sellers, who are usually cheaper, to nab those bargain prices with a slightly longer delivery time. Keep a spending tracker so that you can stick to that set budget.

Step Two:

Don’t hire a venue, use your home.  No matter how small it is. Stagger guests throughout the day if needs be and keep the invite list small. She’s going to be turning one and whilst that is a great milestone, she isn’t going to remember if your great auntie Maud was there or not. Keep it to immediate family and a select few friends. Save the big guest lists for birthdays she will care about.

Step Three:

DIY. Make things yourself. I am sure you can find a few aunties or uncles to help out with making some cute decorations or the cake. There is no need to spend a fortune making the cake look amazing, especially if you’re doing a cake smash. All you need are some bits of paper and some string, even the craftily inept can manage this. If not, then scout out some cheap bits in pound shops. Look for bargains, nobody will notice if your napkins are a different shade of pink to your paper pompoms. Print off some nice pictures, one from each month since birth and string them together to great a lovely bit of personalised bunting. Make as much of the food for the party yourself and buy smart for the items that you can’t.

Step Four:

Don’t buy into a theme. Use something she likes to make it special of course. We are with some select Hey Duggee features but everything else will be simple and cheap. Don’t waste money on going all out because, as I’ve said, she won’t remember a thing.

Step Five:

Make sure people send you the pictures that they take of the day so that you can treasure them. It will save on hiring a costly photographer. With a bit of cloth and a few well placed props, you can make your own backdrop if you prefer to have those special pictures. Just make sure you have plenty of natural lighting.

Step Six:

Do not get carried away with the outfit for your baby. This is one I’ve found the hardest as there are so many cute outfits around on the internet. Remember that it’ll be an outfit for one day and that the likelihood of it being clean by the end of the day is very low.


I guess that’s all there is to it really. If you keep to these steps, then sticking to a budget shouldn’t be too hard. If you do get tempted by the expensive accessories for the party then just remind yourself that although it is a special day, she won’t remember any of it. As long as you can capture the moment, she will treasure the effort you made. If you can save a few quid on the party, then there is more money to spend on the presents.

Hope this helps with your planning. Is there anything you did to keep costs down that I didn’t mention?

Thanks for reading,

Monsterful Mama.

I’m taking part in the Mummy Monday linky with Becca from Becca Blogs It Out

JakiJellz
The Pramshed
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48 Comments

  1. I have four kids and my oldest is 8, and as we approach our fourth’s 1st birthday I have to remind myself that the other three were very happy with a small family celebration and none of them has ever asked, “why weren’t there themed fruit trays and customized water bottles at my first birthday?” It’s so easy to get caught up in the fun on Pinterest! But honestly kids really start to appreciate that stuff in a few years and then it’s even more fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such good tips! I’ve seen some people go completely overboard with 1st birthday parties and I can’t help but wonder… who’s it really for? Cause like you say, at 1 year old the little one sure isn’t going to remember!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this! It was my youngest’s first birthday a couple of months ago and we kept it small, just invited close family over. As you said, they wont remember anything but at least family got to share the milestone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What you said is right! At the age of one there is no need to blow the budget . Keeping it small and cute will make it a joy filled day for both you and your baby.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to entertain at children’s birthday parties and OMG the expense spent on 1st birthdays sometimes was crazy. And 2nd, 3rd and 4ths! This is brilliant, you’ve laid out exactly what “should” be done. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was just talking to my god sister about this! I love these tips and especially doing it at home—most likely the place that’s most familiar to the little one. Especially if you have a slow to warm baby, at least they’ll know their environment and that could even lessen any stress on them and you, should they have a little meltdown. You simply could put them in their play pen or crib for a short nap and they’re not in a noisy place or place that’s unfamiliar. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sure it’s so easy to get carried away when planning a first birthday party! I agree that using your home is much better than hiring a venue. I’ve also seen so many themes for birthday parties and they must be so costly! These are some great tips, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Some fab ideas here to celebrate a first birthday and to DIY it as cheap as possible. This will come in handy for my Boys birthday, he will be 1 year old in June so I still have a bit of time to plan it out. 🌹 Thanks for sharing! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love this! My little man just turned one and yes, things can get out of hand very quickly. Just paper decorations that get thrown away at the end are so expensive, so Amazon was my friend. Much cheaper finds to keep me imin budget!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Parties for babies are always about family and friends and i used to ask them to bring a plate of food and I’d buy a supermarket cake. As the kids got older and they wanted a party, it would be their birthday gift and we’d often team up with another fired with a birthday around the same time and just make sandwiches, open bag of crisps and not bother with party bags, giving them a slice of cake as they left. Hope you have a great 1st birthday, love the tips about the photo’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are so right! I actually think of the first year party of more of a celebrations of our first year of being parents, the little one doesn’t really get they BD concept yet:) as such just making it a fun happy day with the people who come celebrate with you is what’s important. I So agree with the outfit thing – as long as the little one is comfortable that’s what’s important,and the pictures! My kids get such a kick out of seeing their first birthday pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. No definitely don’t spend loads on an outfit, it will just get covered in cake. Amazon was great for his first and second birthdays. I put a bit more effort into his third as he was far more into into and his 4th was a proper party. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Aw lovely and congratulations on your little girl, our little lady is now 14 months old and i remember the 1st Birthday preps being stressful. So we all just went to the zoo haha.
    Thnaks for the post

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My little boy is about to turn 1. I must admit, when planning all the children’s birthdays i give myself a budget and then it shifts. I do like to celebrate their early years birthdays at home and have all the family over! Great tips. #fortheloveofblog

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My son’s birthday is coming up, so thanks for sharing this. I like your point about how no one will notice if the colors are slightly mismatched. I’ll be sure to shop around for similar colored decor, but I won’t pass up any deals if they don’t match.

    Liked by 1 person

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