7 Tips for Party Planning on a Budget

Parties (especially children's birthday parties) can quickly get out of hand. In an attempt to throw the perfect party, you can easily lose track of the budget. However, I'm here to tell you that a fun and memorable party does NOT need to break the bank. Today, I'm sharing 10 tips for throwing a fantastic party... on a budget.

1) Limit your guest list - Think carefully about who you want to invite and who you need to invite. Consider just hosting a few close friends or throw a "family only" party. You don't need to invite an entire class or sports team. (Just don't invite most of the class or sports team... and only exclude a few kids. That's just mean.)

2) Carefully consider the venue - Hosting a party outside your home may seem expensive, but many places offer budget-friendly packages that include a venue, activities, and food. Consider all your costs, and make an informed decision.

3) Create your own party games and activities - Customizing party games and activities can be easy and inexpensive if you make them yourself using cheap materials. DIY elements are budget-friendly and make the party unique and special. You can read more about some of my favourite DIY party games and activities here.

4) Pick a party theme - A cohesive party theme really pulls a party together and gives it a professional feel. You can find some of my favourite DIY party themes here.

5) Keep the party food simple - Try not to go overboard with the food. Chances are the guests will be too busy having fun to spend a lot of time eating. Buy food that fits your party theme for an extra special touch. You can find some of my favourite DIY food ideas here.

6) Make your own DIY cake - Making your own cake instead of buying one from a bakery or cake making professional can save a lot of money. It can also be a great way to add a personal touch to a party. Cakes don't need to be fancy either. Check out my favourite simple DIY cake ideas here.

7) Hand out thoughtful (but inexpensive) party favors - You don't need to spend a lot of money on party favors, but guests will appreciate going home with a simple "thank you for coming" gift. Read about 40+ of my favourite loot bag / party favor / goody bags here.

Planning a special and memorable party doesn't need to break the bank. These tips should help you plan the perfect party... on a budget.

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)


I love a fantastic party filled with tons of easy and budget-friendly DIY details, don't you? Today, I am sharing all the elements of my boys' joint camping-themed birthday party. It's a wonderful party theme that appeals to a wide range of ages and personalities.

Camping party decor - For our camping party, we had tons of DIY signage, balloons, camping gear, and more. You can find all the fun camping party decor details here.

Camping party activities - For our camping party, we had a large variety of games and activities to entertain our party guests. We had a scavenger hunt, we cooked s'mores, we made candy kabobs, we had a prize punch, and more. You can find all the fun camping party games and activities here.

Camping party food - For our camping party, we had a wide variety of camping themed party foods. We had a bbq, bug juice, camp candy, campfire flames, bears, fish, and more. You can read all the details about the camping party food we served here.

Camping party cake - Homemade cakes are economical and fun. For our camping party, I made each of my boys their own campfire cake. My middle son had a chocolate cake, and my youngest son had a vanilla cake. You can find all the info you need to make your own DIY campfire cake here.

Camping party loot bag - A take home gift is always a great way to show guests you appreciate that they took the time to celebrate with you. For our camping party, our guests brought home prizes from a prize table, water balloons, and prize punch prizes. You can find out about our camping party party favors here.

For a quick video of our camping party, you can check this out....


My boys and their friends had a lot of fun at our camping party. It's a party theme that works for kids of all ages... and adults would like it too... with a few modifications. What was your favourite part of our party? If you throw a similar party for someone in your family, I'd love to hear about it!

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

Camping Party Loot Bag

Every party needs a fun party gift / loot bag, and today, I am sharing the simple camping-themed party favors I gave to guests at my boys' birthday party. I have a couple of treat ideas you are going to love.

First, I had a prize booth where the kids were giving the opportunity to choose their own gift. The kids went on a scavenger hunt, and when they completed it, they were allowed to pick a prize.

Every party guest was also able to claim a prize from the prize punch. I have been making prize punches from dollar store supplies for years, and they are a staple at all our parties. You can find the full tutorial here.

And finally, as the guests were leaving, they were given a package of water balloons with a thank you note that I designed using Picmonkey.com.

I love an easy, inexpensive, and useful party favor / goodie bag / loot bag, don't you? I especially LOVE how these little treats fit in perfectly with the camping party theme.

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

Camping Party Decor

Setting the stage for a party doesn't need to be expensive or difficult. You can easily create simple (and adorable) decor for very little money. Today, I am sharing the fun way I transformed my house into "Camp Bellzie" for my boys camping themed birthday party.

I started by creating a simple photo banner. I designed 4x6 pictures using Picmonkey.com, printed the photos, and strung them on a piece of twine.

I also used Picmonkey.com to create other signage, including a camp schedule that I placed by the door in a simple dollar store frame. Using camping supplies I already had (like this lantern) added to the atmosphere too.

And of course, I used balloons that matched my red and yellow colour scheme. Every party needs balloons, right?

I also set up a tent.

And I set up a fun party food table. I used a red and white checked tablecloth (from the dollar store), red dishes, and food labels I designed using Picmonkey.com. Sticking with a consistent colour scheme is key!

Simple decor and a cohesive colour scheme can really make a party look pulled together. This camping party decor is easy, inexpensive and fun... and is guaranteed to impress your guests.

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

Camping Party Food Ideas

A camping party is a fantastic party theme any time of year, and one of the best parts of any party is the party food. When I hosted a joint camping party for my two youngest boys, I had a lot of fun coming up with easy, inexpensive and fun camping party food ideas. Keep reading to check out all the simple DIY details!

I set the table with a red and white checkered tablecloth (from the dollar store) to set the mood. Then, we had a BBQ, and I filled the table with camping themed treats.

We had "bug juice" (which was really red fruit juice).

And I filled dollar store canisters with "camp candy". 

And Graham cracker teddy bears were part of the fun with a "don't feed the bears" label I made using Picmonkey.com.

Cheesies were transformed into "campfire flames" with another little label I designed.

And Goldfish crackers became "fish from the lake".

I also set up a s'mores bar with a huge selection of marshmallows, cookies, and chocolate.

And the kids made their own "candy kabobs" to take home.

And, finally, I served two different campfire cakes... one for each of my birthday boys. You can find the full instructions for these DIY campfire cakes here.

With a little imagination and a few "punny" food labels, it is simple to create camping party food that will impress guests of all ages. My boys and their friends loved all the yummy treats we served at our camping party, and I loved that they will all easy and inexpensive to prepare!

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

PS (You can find more party food ideas here.)

Camping Party Games and Activities

My two youngest boys have summer birthdays one week apart, so joint birthday parties are perfect for us. However, it's always a challenge to come up with a party theme that works for everyone, but "camping" party games and activities are fun for ALL ages. Today I am sharing the details of the camping party games and activities from our party.

All of my boys' often get called "Bellzie" (because our last name is Bell), so the name of our camp was "Camp Bellzie", and I posted a simple camp schedule. Our schedule included: a scavenger hunt, games, a prize bunch, supper, cake, making s'mores, and crafting a candy kabob.

The scavenger hunt was a highlight for the party guests. I set it up before the guest arrived, and broke the kids into teams. The scavenger hunt had puzzles to solve, clues to find, and challenges to do. It was a lot of fun!

In the end, everyone got a prize... and the first people back got first picks of the prizes.

The kids also played a variety of games. I put a bunch of balls and Frisbees on the lawn, and the kids made up their own games. I also had a booth for "guess the number of jellybeans in the jar".

Of course, a camp out wouldn't be complete without some toasted marshmallows and s'mores. I set up a little s'more bar stand by the fire pit, and the kids loved it! 

The kids also enjoyed making their own candy kabobs and playing chocolate bar bingo.

Finally, the kids were all able to try their luck with our prize punch. Prize punches are staples at all our parties, and you can read all about them here.

There are so many fun ways to entertain kids at birthday parties, but I think these camping party games and activities are extra fun. Have you ever hosted a "camping" party for your kids? What were your favourite games and activities?

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

PS - You can find more Party Game Ideas here.

Simple DIY Camping Cake

I am not a professional cake decorator, but I do like making my boys cakes on their birthdays. So, when my two youngest boys had a camping themed birthday party, I make them two separate campfire cakes. They were simple to make, and my boys loved them!

My middle son chose a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and my youngest son chose a vanilla cake with vanilla icing.

For the chocolate cake, I used chocolate wafer cookies to make the campfire logs, and I used froot roll ups cut and wrapped around wooden skewers for the fire. I trimmed the outside of the cake with roasted marshmallows.

For the vanilla cake, I used Twix bars for the campfire logs, and froot roll ups for the fire.

As you can see, my boys were both were super happy with their cakes... and I liked that they were easy to make.

Hopefully, their birthday wishes come true! 😄

Do you like making simple homemade cakes for special occasions? They don't always turn out perfect, but they are always special.

Gina Bell 
(Mom and amateur party planner)

PS (You can find more special DIY cakes here.)