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Dr. Suess Themed Birthday on a Budget: Tips and Pictures from a Hip2Save Reader

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Guest Post by Hip2Save Reader, Callie – How to Host a Theme Birthday Party on a Budget

I thought I would share how I spent less than $60 on my son’s first birthday party! I love planning and crafting, but not spending, so I decided to plan early (most ideas were found on Pinterest) and hunt sales posted on Hip2Save! So, thank you for all of your help! The theme was Dr. Seuss and a huge hit!


Decorations:
I shopped Michael’s clearance advertised on Hip2Save and used the weekly 40-50% off items to purchase Dr. Seuss items in the back to school section. I was able to buy Cat in the Hat cutouts, various Seuss border trims, posters, and a wreath for my balloons for less than $10! These items served as food labels too! I bought the banner you advertised for around $8…but left off a birthday number so we could reuse it every year! I also bought Blue and red Paper plates, cups, balloons, table cloths, silverware after Memorial Day and 4th of July clearance! Finally, I used books, stuffed animals, and frames I already had to add to the theme! Spent about $23 total!

Goodie bags:
I loved when Hip2Save would note the Target dollar spot clearance! I bought Seuss Lorax themed mini notebooks, pencils, bracelets, stickers, dry erase boards, and blue stared baskets for $0.10 each! I used the stickers on mini bottles of dollar store bubbles too! I also used the Wrapp Office Depot free gift cards to get Cat in the Hat pencils for free! I then bought the holiday clearance candy and snacks…like individually wrapped Goldfish on 70% clearance. Spent a total of $8 for 14 goodie bags!

Food:
I love a theme and tried to be creative! Some highlights: I used 70% off Easter Goldfish for “One Fish, Two Fish,” $1/2 pasta coupon to make “oodles of noodles,” 70-90% off cake mix and frosting to make “thing , thing 2” and “Lorax” tree cupcakes, couponed at Walgreens to get free cheesy chex mix (Lorax chex mix), free Chocolate Rock energy mix (yertle turtle mix), and free caprisons (pink ink drink). Other snacks were all purchased on holiday clearance or at least 1/2 off with coupons! We paid sale price for hamburger meat….and ended up paying a total of less than $25 for all the food and drinks!

I had so much fun that I am already couponing to the next birthday party! Even if a theme hasn’t been decided, I have found that sticking to basic colors, like red and blue for boy themes, and stocking up on clearance dessert mixes and candy are always a safe bet!

Also….I spent less than $25 on gifts thanks to target toy clearance and the Fisher Price deals posted throughout the year! Thanks again for all of your help! Click here for even more pictures.

Do you have any additional tips for how to save on a birthday party?! If so, please share them in the comments below!


Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn


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Comments 39

  1. Linda C.

    Excellent use of bargain shopping, I am truly impressed!!!! Awesome decor, goodies and fun without a doubt! 🙂

  2. Lisa

    All I can say is “WOW!” 🙂

  3. animity

    Wow, good job! It turned out super cute.

  4. Casey

    Very cute! I definitely stick to solid colors and just use Dollar Tree for napkins and plates and cups. I’ll probably get the balloons from there, as well. It’s amazing how much people spend on printed napkins and plates. Such a waste of money!

  5. nicole g

    Awesome Job! You Rock.

  6. rachel

    how long did you plan this party?wow!you are sooo good!

    • Callie

      Thanks:) I knew the theme (since my 1 year old couldn’t have too much input yet:)) about 5 months prior to the party. I didn’t have tons of concrete ideas, but I was able to be on the look out for deals that matched the color scheme and could be easily incorporated:). Even now my son is obsessed with Thomas, so I just take advantage of clearance since that will likely be the theme of the next one…though I haven’t really started any detailed planning.

  7. Geena

    Awesome……u r a true creative Hip2saver….!

  8. makaylaisabel

    Dr Seuss is my favorite. We used this theme as well. Here are a few pics of my DIY.
    etsyketsy.weebly.com/gallery.html

    • Ketsy

      Love the wreath idea! I’ve even seen flip flop wreaths during summer birthdays!

    • Jess

      Wow! Makay…I have never been to a party that cute, it looks like you had so much fun and I bet your older kids did too, memories, how wonderful.
      I think one of the best things is celebrating your children’s birthdays, though I keep it much more simple for my peace of mind and we still have a wonderful time. You did a fantastic job though, very creative!

  9. emilytwinmom

    Awesome party ideas! I did the same thing earlier this year for a Mario and Luigi party – bought lots on clearance and made what I could 🙂

  10. misty

    amazing! I am trying to do the same but with a princess theme. Hope I can do as well as you did.

    • MommySpendsLess

      Not sure when the birthday is but Valentine’s Day clearance would be a big help. Lots of pink candies, cake mix and sprinkles. I scored some little tubes of bubbles that were pastel colors with little hearts on top for my daughter’s future parties.

  11. Leslie

    So cute. Looks great!

  12. Kimberly

    This is great! I’ve not done a Dr. Seuss themed party for either of my boys yet. I think I’ll keep these wonderful ideas in mind for next year!

  13. Chantel

    Awesome job!

  14. Vishnu

    I am planning for a dora party for my 3 yr old. Have similar ideas. Banner with just happy birthday and name, to reuse for a few years 4$, oriental trading free shipping dora scene setter and table cloth. Bought dora candles, will be getting regular cake to suffice. Made water bottler wrappers at home on computer. Free paper and cheap ink. Got invites personalized from Walgreens for 3$. Used sears points and deals to get an awesome pink rose dress. Made back packs for return gifts from Walgreens 3$, used points from previous money making deals and filled them with back to school crayons, dry erase, crayola paper and purelle stuff. Can’t wait till party time.

  15. Erin D.

    I did my three year old daughters b-day using clearance items from Valentines day. They were pink cupcakes & hearts on the party supplies and looked great! I painted coffee cans white, added stickers, and added decorative stones. These were table décor and held the tablecloth down for a party at the park. Then we bought bubbles and invited kids in the park to join us for cake and treat bags. It was a fun family party at little cost and we made new friends.

    • MommySpendsLess

      That is a great idea! Wish I’d read it a couple weeks ago when my daughter turned 4. She’s such an extrovert she would have loved to have a party with lots of kids and a piñata but we only know a few kids.

  16. Jess Cr

    I am planning a Minion themed party for my son and found some great ideas for DIY party stuff. We are making the treat bags, minion bowling, pin the goggles on the minion, minion cupcakes, and minion decorations using toilet paper rolls.

  17. Crescent City Couponer

    You have a typo (‘Suess’) in the post title.

  18. Colleen

    Wow! It all looks fantastic! Great job!

  19. ihearthip

    Both my kiddos have winter bdays, so I love to stock up on after Summer clearance sales to do summery themed parties. I have done a garden one that was super cheap! I look all year long for good bag items at Target & Michael’s $1 bin clearances. Can get things for like 20 cents sometimes!

    • Callie

      I love those deals! I bought the Sesame Street board books for .10 each from Target dollar spot for my second son’s first birthday goodie bags!

  20. Ana

    Wow, beautiful job Callie!! Thank you for sharing, very inspiring!

  21. Nina

    Wow …although I don’t have any children..(maybe someday) I can not wait to plan a party for someone! Great job! I hope your family commended your hard work!

  22. Chloe

    This is so, so great! I love your theme!

  23. Amani S

    Wow. I just had to comment. I love this party and all the clever thrifty ideas. Needless to say I think I’ve found my sons 4th birthday theme. He is a winter baby and summer clearance are our favorite. Thanks Callie and Collin for sharing. Awesome job!

  24. amanda

    Use pounchbowl.com somethings are cheaper than the dollar tree. I spend. $70 for 55 people for my daughters first birthday we did a ocean preppy theme i used circle cut out i cut out all of them by hand and made a 1 i also made her kids cupcakes carroit cake and went to costco to get a whole sheet for $15 and did made your own googie baskets of a pail and shovel gummies juice box fish bubbles and some little other things good luck to all.

  25. Michelle

    We are doing a multi themed party for my sons third birthday this year. One theme is The Lorax. We wanted to build a forest for the guests to be in. I reached out to our local Lowes and they saved the pots that the seasonal plants came in for me. They simply recycle them, so they recycled them to me. 🙂 for the trunks we are using plumbing insulation. For the foliage we used recycled newspaper, balloons for the paper mâché and buffalo snow that I got from michaels craft store after the holiday for 90% off.
    We are making about 40 trees which will cost us less than $40.

    For the despicable me theme we are doing the minion bowling with recycled 2 liter bottles and drinking water bottles for the younger children.

    And for the Madagascar theme we are using cardboard boxes to make crates and I was lucky enough to find a gentleman wheeling an old circus type drum to the salvage yard and he let me buy it for $5

    I am more excited than my son!

  26. Jessica V.

    I know this is not related to birthday parties, but I like the idea of being creative on a budget. Colin, can you do a post or feature on DIY Halloween Costumes?? Would love to get started on some ideas since October will be here before we know it. Thanks!!

  27. Torri

    when were the Dr seuss items on clearance at target.. I watch that dollar spot like a hawk and haven’t seen any Dr seuss stuff included in the markdowns.

    • Callie

      Hi….I bought my Seuss items during the last years dollar spot clearance about a month into the school year. I know they have some Seuss stuff now that will probably go to 70% in about a month. Also….watch Michaels, they always have Seuss clearance at the beginning and middle of the school year:)

      • Torri

        Thank you! I’ve definitely been wondering when the next dollar spot clearance was going to be! I’ve had my eyes on all the Minnie Mouse and Dr Seuss stuff in there now! I can’t wait!

  28. Heidi

    I bought several sets of the Ikea plastic cups in rainbow colors, you know the ones that are $2 for 6. We use them every day for the kids but when parties come around I can just pick the colors to go with the theme. Like use the green cups for my daughter’s St. Patty’s day birthday, the blue for my son’s birthday, yellow and orange for a summer flower theme party, etc. Saves money and is reusable.

  29. mizmamie06

    Thanks for simple ideas! My daughter turns 2 in Oct and we are doing Bubble Guppy theme!

  30. Suzanne H

    Gorgeous party! I love themes – my husband makes fun of me but I just love putting everything together especially on a budget. This year is my son’s 5th party and he wants Ninjago. I was hoping for a pirate theme but oh well. He gets some input (I guess)! 🙂 Am scouring Pinterest and Etsy for ideas…

  31. angela b

    We did the bubble guppy theme last year too. I purchased a printable stuff and printed all the items myself on cardstock. For a photo prop, I did a blue table cloth (from Dollar tree) and taped bubble guppies on it. It was a hit.

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