Fun & Frugal 1st Birthday Party

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Sent from reader, Rebekah:

My son Owen just turned one, and we had a very fun and frugal party for him! Our theme was hot air balloons, which turned out to be a great choice. The Dollar Tree had lots of supplies that made it affordable AND adorable! There were also cheap decorations on Amazon and in thrift stores that we used as well.

Here are some ideas for anyone interested in throwing a Hot Air Balloon themed party on a budget!

Decor: We used Dollar Tree paper lanterns, twine, and brown plastic potting cups to create hot air balloons, and hung them in the room with photos of Owen in them!

Timeline: One of my favorite aspects of the party was a timeline we had on the wall with photos of Owen from newborn up to 12 months! I found these cute hot air balloon cutouts on Amazon and they worked perfectly!

Party favors: Dollar Tree has some great suncatcher paint kits for only $1 each, including ones with a hot air balloon design! They also have cheap favor bags, bubbles, and fruit snacks!

Crafts: A super simple craft for kids to do requires only paper plates, paper cups, tape, straws, and crayons! Have the kids decorate their plates. Then, tape two straws inside the cup, and tape the straws to the plate to look like a hot air balloon!

Games: We made up a quiz about Owen for our guests. We also had bubble-blowing and sidewalk chalk for outdoor fun!

Food: At thrift stores like Goodwill, we found nice woven baskets for serving snacks like Chex Mix.

Treats: For the cupcakes I made, I topped them with these hot air balloon cupcake picks from Amazon!

Photos: A friend of ours offered to take photos for us after the party! She got some amazing shots of Owen—posed in a basket I discovered at a thrift store for only $4, and with Dollar Tree balloons in the background!

In the end, being able to host a fun party without breaking the bank was a huge blessing—and the memories are priceless!


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Comments 15

  1. emack3608


  2. Suzanne

    So cute!! What a great idea! We did a Minnie Mouse theme for our daughter’s 1st birthday. I purchased all the decor (pink, black and white) from the dollar tree and made several items rather than buying the expensive brand stuff.

  3. MegannT

    I just saved this. Had my baby boy today!
    364 days to get ready for this!

    • Laura


    • Holly (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      So awesome! Congrats on your new little boy!!

  4. Laura

    So. Awesome!

  5. sara

    Such a great idea. What a little cutie!

  6. Juma

    Oooh such a handsome little guy and that pose is priceless. Thanks for the wonderful post and tips

  7. Diana

    My girl is turning 1 yr next week!! I’m doing butterfly theme and all of it came from dollar tree too!!! I made butterfly foot prints and am staking them into pots of chocolate. I even got some butterfly wings from dollar tree for her to wear.

  8. 50ShadesofLipstick

    That baby is super cute. I feel like 1st birthday parties are solely for the parents b/c babies at that age don’t remember or care for it…but if you’re gonna have one, then it might as well be affordable!

  9. Tammy

    How cute and creative!

  10. MP

    We don’t celebrate 1st birthdays at my house. We just pick up a free Tops 1st birthday smash cake & take a pic of our birthday kid with the cake for their memory (with my cell phone). But skip the party. Sometimes I’d blow a balloon to play with but nothing else. They won’t remember it anyways. My 5th child is nearing 1 soon.

    • MP

      By the way, your son is super cute! And the party on a budget is an awesome idea! I recently did a Lego theme party for my oldest son & everything came from the Dollar Tree and Aliexpress (I got Lego brick patterned shirts & pants which came from China but in awesome quality).

    • PrincessMom

      Wow, thank you for your comment. I am sitting here feeling like I did something wrong but I feel the same way as you. They won’t remember it, I didn’t go all out. I’ll give her big themed parties when she’d old enough to invite friends and enjoy the day! In fact, I was only going to have a cupcake for her after dinner that night. We ended up just having immediate family and a couple of very close friends over and had a deli lunch and cake because everyone kept asking about her “party” so I felt like we had to do something. The only decor I did was one mylar balloon that said “baby’s first birthday” and I saved that for her with the “1” candle from the cake.

  11. HBee

    Very good ideas! Cute!

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