A Very Easy Enjoyable Frugal Birthday Party for My Daughter

Ok, so all of you who have been reading my blog regularly know that I'm a single mom. And all those who've been around for a while know that I generally make a birthday party for my kids, and try to go all out with a theme, while still keeping the budget pretty low.

However, as a single mom, and someone whose been dealing with significant mental health issues, I'll admit that making and throwing these parties takes a lot out of me, which is why last year my daughters ended up having a joint birthday party about half a year late, and the year before that my boys didn't end up having a birthday party at all. Of course these things make me feel horrible and like a failure as a mom, because I let down my kids, which is why I am trying to do better. It's just that life happens.

And so, Anneliese, my 8 year old daughter, turned 8 in December, but I still didn't make her a birthday party. And I knew if I kept waiting for the perfect time, to make the perfect party, it would likely run away from me, because there never was the right time and there never was the right circumstance. And so, I decided to make Anneliese a party with 3 days notice.

And that meant no theme.

It meant very little preparation on my part.

But it still was a nice party enjoyed by all, even if it could have been even better if I'd spent more time arranging it and invested more. But I am learning that perfect is the enemy of good, and better make her a doable and fun birthday party than a perfect birthday party that I never get around to making.

And so, here are the preparations I made for the birthday party:

Invite the kids. Via whatsapp, of course. No need for fancy invites. The party ended up being small, my daughters' choice.

Clean my house. But not perfect, because these are kids, after all, and don't need perfection.

Go grocery shopping. At the local discount supermarket, one trip, no running around from store to store.

Find a decent vanilla cake recipe with no strange or expensive ingredients and make it.

Whip up my easiest ever frosting- mix a box of instant vanilla pudding with a box of soft white cheese (sour cream also works), proportions flexible but play around so that it tastes sweet and is thick enough for frosting but thin enough to spread. Spread it on the cake. Put sprinkles (artificial coloring free that I got at the scratch and dent store) on to decorate. (If you're wondering what the frosting tastes like, its pretty similar to cheesecake. And my kids said that it made the cake absolutely amazing.)

Mix up a batch of pizza dough and tomato sauce.

That was all the preparations needed.

Then for the actual party, the activity was each kid rolling out their own individual pizzas (glass cups work great, no need for multiple rolling pins), have them top it with sauce, and then the toppings of their choice. I provided olives, mushrooms, corn, and pineapple, one can of each.

While the pizzas were baking, we ate ice cream.

Then we had the birthday cake.

And then the pizzas were ready and they ate that.

That's it.

Simple and sweet, but everyone enjoyed it.

By the way, if you were wondering about disposables... I used a real tablecloth, we used regular cheapo disposable cups I had at home for drinking and for serving the ice cream, ate the cake off cheapo napkins that I already had at home, and the pizza was eaten off the baking paper.

The kids had cake, a treat, and supper. Water was the only drink.

And it was probably the easiest party I've made yet.

And the cost was under $25 bucks for everything.

What do you do for birthday parties if anything? Do you tend to serve supper or just snacks when making these parties? What's the easiest birthday party you ever made?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Thanks for another great post. I had it easy. Back when my little one was still little, we had access to a pool. So with her being a July baby...pool party. I'd hit up Little Caesars for $5 pepperoni pizza's, cake from Publix because their frosting isn't overly sweet and go to the Dollar Tree for decorations. I could usually pull off one of her parties for around $50. My biggest problem wasn't having too many kids, it was the adults who invited themselves for free pizza. Never could say anything because they were family. Sigh.

  2. You can add a second activity by giving each child a piece of cake and having them decorate them by putting out frosting in different colors, different colored sprinkles and chocolate chips. Then everyone eats what they created

  3. I think my kids would have called that the best party ever because they could each put together their *own* pizzas! It sounds like everyone had a good time and cake and pizza sound delicious. I'm going to try that frosting with the next cake I bake - I have pudding and cream cheese in the house already. Thanks for the ideas!

    Good job on the party, Mama.

    1. Sour cream, not cream cheese. If you want to use cream cheese, mix cream cheese with milk and the pudding mix.

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