How to Throw the Perfect Birthday Party Without Breaking the Bank


Wanna throw yourself (or a loved one) a bangin’ party without spending the big bucks? You’re in luck! Good Millennial has some fool-proof ways to make your birthday bash AMAZING and keep your wallet happy.

1. Decide what’s most important to you

Lists on lists on lists

Time with friends? Good food? Glitz and glamour? This is your celebration, so make it one you’ll love — but don’t forget to show your guests a good time, too. Make a list of all the things you want to include. This can be as vague as “lots of fun” or as specific as “green balloons” — just get it all down! Once you see it all on paper, it’ll be easier to assess. Think about how many people will be there (if you’re throwing the party for someone else, don’t forget about their relatives or long lost pals), what sort of venue you want (maybe you just want everyone to meet up for drinks at your favorite local hang out!). After you have your list, you’ll be able to choose what to splurge on and how you can save. Here’s some ideas to get you started.

2. Everyone loves a theme party – but don’t get crazy

Birthday parties are easy because – duh- they already have a theme. But as the years go by, birthday parties can get a little predictable. So spice yours up with a fun, new theme! You could go with Birthdays Through the Ages, where guests come dressed as different versions of the birthday girl or boy (college, elementary school, prom). Throwback to your sleepover days, and ask guests to dress in PJs, make blanket forts, and play Truth or Dare. You could pick a favorite sports team, tv show, or event, and make that the theme. BUT don’t make it too obscure (“dress like that one episode of the Twilight Zone that only I know about!!”) or too expensive (“It’s an Everyone Wear Diamonds and Buy Me Presents Party!”) — remember, the best themes are the ones everyone can connect to and make their own. For more ideas, here’s a HUGE list.


3. DIY is your BFF

Do It Yourself is definitely in right now, which is great when you’re planning a party on a (tight) budget. Why spend a bunch of money on hokey, premade decorations and invites when you can make them yourself for way less cash and way more fun. Make yourself a budget and STICK TO IT! Coordinate your theme with your invites (are you mailing them/handing them out/using social media, or simply texting everyone), and make your way over to Pinterest to help you with everything from streamers to tablecloths and more. Then REUSE and RECYCLE! Get your extra tables and chairs from friends or neighbors, hit up secondhand stores for anything you can repurpose into something fancy and fresh, and don’t forget — less is more. The most important part is that people have fun! For more DIY inspiration, click here.

4. Your BFFs are also your BFFs

Why spend money on hired help when your friends are the most talented people you know? Do they bake or bartend? Are they super trendy or super crafty? If your theme happens to be retro and you know your friend’s parent’s basement is straight out of That 70s Show, hit them up! Most people are willing to lend a hand to celebrate their BFF. Plus, they know you’ll return the favor when it’s their turn to celebrate. Don’t forget to thank them profusely and maybe give them a lil’ something to show your appreciation.


5. Let me entertain you!

You know what they say… Talk is cheap. So get the party going with some good old fashioned conversation. Encourage people to put the phones away by leaving cheap disposable cameras around to nab pics and start convos. Games like Cards Against Humanity or some low-stakes poker are always crowd pleasers, but what about Mafia or Flashlight Tag? We always love to a have a “Pin The…” game that coordinates with the theme — young or old, party games are always a good bet! You can also spring for some karaoke or dancing, or for your musically-inclined friends, you can all try to come up with the best jam! Break your pals into groups and assign them each a genre of music (metal, electronica, 50s doowop) and give them all an instrument (or they can bring their own!). Give everyone a time limit and see what they come up with — you could even provide a costume box for each group to really get into the groove. Make your bday memorable and a whole lotta fun with some original entertainment!

6. Practical Stuff

The fun stuff is all well and good but don’t forget about the necessities: Who, What, Where, When, and How. Decide on the size of the gathering and stick to it. Make your guest list and invite who you want to, as well as who you need to. Get your invites out early and make sure you designate when the party starts and when it ends, even if that’s when the bars close. Make sure you pick a venue that suits your needs — a party room, your place, a bar. If you’re hosting a giant rave, be cool and warn the neighbors first — or invite them! Make sure you know about sound ordinances or quiet hours, or consider pooling some funds to rent a room at a restaurant or bar. Decide on food and drink, including alcohol and bday cake, as well as utensils. Also, make sure people know they don’t need to bring you presents. You’re an adult, for God’s sake.

It’ll be gorgeous no matter what!

7. Relax and have fun!

The best parties are the ones where people can have fun and be themselves — including the host. Maybe ask a friend or two to help you with your hosting duties so you can celebrate yourself. If you’ve done all your prep work, the party will be a breeze. Plus, the best part of any gathering is the people around you. So blow out those candles and celebrate YOU — you’re worth it!


Happy Birthday to YOU!



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