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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RMN = Retail Me Not
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

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Birthday parties can be expensive. From renting a venue, decorations, food and favors, you can truly end up breaking the bank. Sometimes it’s just too much and you need to look at other ways to celebrate.

Recently I readers to share frugal ways to make birthdays special without hurting the budget. There are many great ideas below. If birthday parties are a must for you, check out our frugal birthday party ideas.

Frugal Ways to Make a Birthday Special

Quality Time

This one is important for kids with siblings or for anybody who is just living a busy life. Take your child out on a date for some good old quality time.  Let them choose the place.

Decorate the House


Order a large personalized Happy Birthday banner or pennant to put up every year. Throw up some other decorations from the dollar store and greet them with noise makers or confetti at the breakfast table. You can even decorate the yard to make sure everyone who drives by knows it’s their birthday.

Decorate the Car

If you’ll be getting in the car to go anywhere on their birthday, use window markers, streamers, and balloons to let everyone know they are celebrating a birthday. If you have older kids who drive, you can leave a small gift or note inside telling them how special they are.

Eat Cake for Breakfast

Better yet, deliver it to them in bed! If you’re like most parents, you aren’t normally letting your kids eat cake for breakfast. Wake them up by singing Happy Birthday and letting them have their cake first thing.

Birthday Pancakes

Maybe you don’t exactly let them have birthday cake for breakfast, but you do let them have birthday pancakes! Add sprinkles to the batter and form them into the number shape of their new age. This is a cute birthday tradition to look forward to each year.

Break Through To Another Year

This is such a fun idea shared by several readers. While they’re sleeping, decorate their door with a streamer curtain or gift wrap. In the morning, they will have to “break through” to another year.

Sticky Notes 

This is a sweet idea to remind kids of how special they are and give them a confidence boost. Write their best qualities and fun memories on sticky notes and stick them to their bedroom door. They’ll have lots of positive affirmations to wake up to. You can also place the notes around the house for them to find throughout the day.

Bunch of Balloons

Balloons are an inexpensive decoration that everyone loves. Make their day special by filling up their bedroom with a bunch of balloons. They’ll wake up ready to play in their “balloon pit.” Make your job easier with an electric balloon pump.

Freebie Scavenger Hunt

What a fun idea it is to go on a freebie scavenger hunt throughout the week. Visit all the local places that give out birthday freebies. Some places mentioned by readers include Ulta, Sephora, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme and Ruby Tuesday.

Week of Favorites

Celebrate all week by letting them choose a different “favorite” each day. Let them choose their favorite meal one day, favorite game another day, favorite movie, etc. You can choose the week leading up to their birthday to build up the anticipation.

Slideshow of Memories

I love this idea! Make a slideshow of photos from special moments throughout the year or choose photos from each year of their life. Play their favorite song in the background. Add onto the slideshow each year. Watch it on the eve of their birthday or on the night of.

Last Hugs and First Hugs

Right before bedtime, have everyone in the family give the birthday girl or boy their last hug as an X year-old. In the morning, repeat the processing, giving them their first hug as an X+1 year-old.

Do you have a special frugal way to celebrate birthdays? Let us know in the comments!

12 Frugal Ways to Make a Birthday Special