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Frugal First Birthday Ideas

on 2.14.2021 at 3:30pm

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I’ve written before about frugal birthday party ideas, but today I wanted to focus in on one birthday celebration in particular: the first birthday. It’s kind of crazy how these parties tend to be the most elaborate, when the birthday girl or boy in question will not remember even one second of it.

Perhaps it’s because, as some have said, the first birthday party is for the parents instead of for the child. The parents want to celebrate surviving the ups and downs of the first year of the child’s life. That’s all well and good, but you don’t have to go over the top! There are so many frugal first birthday ideas that are simple and will still allow you to celebrate those first twelve months of your child’s life.

Frugal First Birthday Ideas

Make the cake / cupcakes

It always makes sense to make the cake yourself instead of buying one. Especially for the first birthday, when the baby doesn’t care. I like to make cupcakes for the first birthday as a cupcake is the perfect size for a “smash cake” and you waste less cake. Never waste cake!

You can get a store bought mix on sale, or you can make the cake yourself. Our family loves Mammy’s Banana Cake and The Most Amazing Chocolate Cake for birthdays!

Have the party at a time when you don’t need to serve anything extra (e.g. not at a meal time)

If you have a party at 10 am or around 3 pm (as long as those are good times of day for the weather where you are), you avoid needing to serve a whole meal. You can do a fruit bowl, some snacky items, and the cake, and you’re good.

Hang up monthly pictures for decorations

You don’t need fancy decorations if you decide to have a party. I took pictures of the kids during each month of the first year, so for one party, I just had the 12 pictures printed and hung them up. It’s a great conversation piece. If you don’t have a party, you could still hang these up in your house to celebrate!

Go on a family outing and take lots of pictures

In lieu of a party, go on a family outing. One year we went the zoo, and another year we went to the local children’s museum

If you do gifts, ask people to bring board books instead of toys

We’re big fans of not even doing gifts until kids are older, but if there are people in your life who really want to celebrate the birthday with a gift, ask them to bring books! You can build your family’s home library and when you read those books, you’ll always think of that first birthday.

Do a photo shoot at your house

You can use props from around your house or buy a few things from the dollar store and have a photo shoot. Taking pictures with a one-year-old is always unpredictable, but you’re sure to get some interesting photo shoots!

Looking for more ideas for frugal birthday parties? Check out these posts:

Frugal Party Planning

Fun and Frugal Birthday Cake Ideas

Frugal Kids’ Birthday Party Ideas

When your child turns one, you don't have to do something expensive to celebrate. These frugal first birthday ideas will help you focus on what's important!