The $30 Birthday Party (How & Why)
BudgetDIYThrifty and Nifty

The $30 Birthday Party (How & Why)


First of all, I’m not gonna lie: I had a 1st Birthday Party Pinterest board that was drool-worthy. And I hid it.

Now that the confession is out, let me be clear: I’m just not that mom.

I’m not the mom who can craft or bake. I’m not the mom whose Pinterest boards contain actual pictures from MY family’s adorable parties. And I’m not the mom that sets the bar high for the 1st birthday party.

In fact, I’m lowering the bar, ladies. Be careful not to trip over it.

I’m doing this for 3 reasons:

1) My family can’t afford a lavish birthday party. We shop at Aldi and stop the gas pumper at $20. Every time.

2) My mother and I are yard sale entrepreneurs and dumpster divers. We enjoy the thrill of making something out of nothing–or finding unexpected treasures.

3) Ben isn’t old enough to know the difference, so I’m guilt-free this year.

That being said, I think you crafty, magazine-worthy, baking mamas are just amazing. I mean, obviously! Somebody has to make Pinterest worthwhile!

But like I said…not me.

So here it is, mamas:

Ben’s $30 Birthday Party!



The theme was “Nugget’s First Tailgate” which was meaningful for our family because they are basically small town football royalty. Having a generic theme rather than licensed characters–like Disney or Nickelodeon–kept costs down significantly.

With some poster board and a few balloons, we made a photo op area for the entire family. It was so much fun–even though Nugget wasn’t incredibly cooperative.



Inside, it was a Dollar Tree extravaganza. We bought two football themed table cloths, and used scissors to create a few table runners. We hung streamers from every light fixture in the house. And we even invested $2 in those blow-things. My family calls them toot-toots.




I loved the Pinterest idea to place a sign on the highchair that says “Reserved for Quarterback.” We used a chip clip and some ribbon to attach it.


Also from Pinterest..penalty flags!


Don’t ask about the rooster. His name is KFC and it’s a family thing.

One of the things that I loved about this party was that everyone came dressed in game day apparel. It was fun, personal, and added to the festive environment. Oh–and it was free!


Here I am rocking a “Billy Ball” jersey, celebrating my late grandfather’s 300th win as a Florida coach. Ben is dressed like his great-grandfather, Coach Doodle. It was a playful, yet meaningful nod to a loved one whose absence was noteworthy.

And then there was this:


While it may be labeled a “fail”, I have to say: this hilarious little cake brought laughter and happiness to everyone who enjoyed it. And what’s a birthday party without some great, laughable memories?

We served up hotdogs, chips, and tea–to the tune of $12. And here is our decor receipt:



So, there ya have it! A $30 birthday with a million dollars worth of memories. Soak this one up, folks. I don’t do DIY very often–and now y’all know why!

A special thanks to Mom, for having the fun-loving spirit that made a “budget birthday” a fun challenge–and a huge success.

God bless!!


  1. Grandpickle

    Woohoo! Ready for Tailgate #2! The fun is in details!

  2. Autumn Finley

    Love this! I am a very crafty mom and have had nice Pinterest worthy parties (months of savings) but this year I did not have the funds and we just had a birthday dinner so I know what it is like. I’m like you though I LOVE yardsales, goodwill and anywhere I can find anything for cheap and use it! May I had dollar tree = LOVE. Glad to find a mama who loves the same stuff as me 🙂

  3. Amber

    First of all, your post almost made me cry. I don’t know exactly why… But it might be this mommas “time..” LOL in all seriousness, your ability to see the “bigger picture” happiness/health/family/fun is something I aspire to! I spend (wayyyy too much money) $$$$ did I say $$$$ on my son’s first birthday and baptism- it was the ae day and it was the most stressful day! I honestly stressed more than my wedding! Live. Learn. 2nd birthday… It will be different, thank you for this post! Can’t wait to read more! Xoxo

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