“Happy Birthday” doesn’t have to mean “budget buster.” There are inexpensive birthday party ideas for adults that will make anyone feel like a million bucks – without you having to spend BIG $$$.
If you’re like me and are on a tight budget, then read on for some inexpensive (dare I say, cheap) birthday party ideas that will be a “cakewalk.” (Yes, I had to say it).
Inexpensive Birthday Party Ideas for Adults
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What Makes a Great Party?
If you’re new to the party planning arena, or simply have never thought about the question, “what makes a great party” there are three main areas to cover;
- Good People
- Good Eats & Drinks
- Fun Stuff to Do
The first point is free and so the 3rd can be as well! If you’re planning a party on a budget, the middle point can be handled better than you may think.
1. Good People
Having the right crowd at any party can make it or break it – I’m sure we’ve all been to those events where we just weren’t clicking with the guest list. Unfortunately, it happens even with the most thought-out planning.
However, once you have figured out who you want to invite, it can be cheap. Say goodbye to those fancy invites that only get opened, misplaced, then eventually forgotten. We are in the 21st century where the digital age is upon us; so take advantage of it.
Set up a Facebook page for your big B-day celebration to invite your guests through. This not only allows your friends a chance to RSVP, but they can check out the guest list to see who will (and won’t) be there.
You can also use email to send out e-vites and reminders as the date approaches.
If you are still bent on using the paper invites, then visit the Dollar store for the less expensive ones.
2. Good Eats & Drinks
I may not remember every conversation I have at a party, but I will remember the food (good or bad). We as a society love to eat, so when it comes to party food, you will have to move beyond a bowl of potato chips and some dip.
This is a good time to dust off those cookbooks or start doing a search on tasty party foods. Depending on the number of guests and your menu, you may want to buy in bulk to save some money.
If you don’t feel you can prepare an extensive menu, you can either focus on doing one dish very well or several smaller dishes that stand out, like a yummy casserole and an upscale appetizer. Try this brie and cranberry in the oven dish!
Don’t write off the idea of hosting a potluck, either. Particularly in “foodie” groups, this “bring your favorite dish” is a chance for your guests to show off their own winning recipes. Sure, it will save you money and time, but it also will give you a wide variety of foods. Plus, most people bring their “A game” when feeding others!
Drink ideas are a little easier, especially if you skip the cocktails and stick with mocktails. Alcohol is crazy expensive, and besides, if you serve it you have to worry about making sure all of your guests get home okay. You can recreate just about every popular cocktail with non-alcoholic ingredients. Our Gold Mint Mocktail is one of my favorites for a classy bash!
4. Fun Stuff to Do
If done right, you literally won’t have to spend a dime on fun stuff to do. This could be as simple as sharing good food with good friends. If you want to amp things up a bit, but still stay on budget, you could project a movie on the wall of your apartment or living room.
Most often good people will take care of the fun stuff to do part; however, even the most well-intentioned parties can die hard. If you see this happening, try the following;
- Mental games – these are coming back in style and can be quickly gotten off the net. Try the book If…or even a good ole-fashioned game of charades to get people laughing, even if they do start out groaning at the idea.
- “Controversial” conversations are always good party fodder…if you have the right crowd. While civilized debate can be fun for all, topics like politics and religion can get really heated and leave people feeling angry by the end of the party. If your party is filled with like-minded people, then by all means, enjoy some fun debate. If you have a mix of political ideologies, you might want to head off any major arguments before they start. When worst comes to worst, drown them out with tunes! Which brings us to…
- Got an old collection of dusty albums? Go through them and relive some of the olden day tunes. Even if you don’t have an amazing record collection, loading up a playlist and hitting the “dance floor” can be a fun way to pass time at a party.
- Another great idea that actually combines good food with fun: host a potluck but make it a tasting contest! Challenge your guests to bring their best dish, then give prizes away for different categories, like “So Spicy it Needs a Warning Label,” and “Most Satisfying for My Sweet Tooth.” You can either make up categories ahead of time and send them out with your invite (or announce them on your party page) or make them up as you go along so that everyone wins something. You don’t have to give away crazy prizes. Even cheap trophies from the dollar store are fun!
Getting the most out of your inexpensive birthday party is not all that difficult. Think back to a party you went to where you had the best time. Chances are it wasn’t the bar, games or even food, that planted it into your memory, but rather the folks you shared it with. The secret to executing a great party on a budget is recognizing it’s the subtle things that will be remembered long after the candles are blown out, and the cake is gone.
If you have any inexpensive birthday party ideas for adults you’d like to share, feel free to drop us a line in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you!