frugal birthday party ideas Canada

How to Save Money on Birthday Parties

You can throw an awesome kids birthday party on a budget!  Here’s 12 tips and tricks to save money on your next birthday party!

Frugal Birthday Party Ideas

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I go all out on my kids’ birthdays.  I mean all out.  A lot of the extra money I earn each year gets earmarked towards paying for the event.  Even though I typically spend a lot, I still stretch my money as far as it goes, so we have more for the entertainment (where most of my money goes).

No matter what your birthday budget, using these tips will help you get more bang for your buck, giving you more money in your pocket for birthday extras!

Shop Sales

save more money in Canada

I am constantly watching for sales and promotions for my kids’ favourite toys and characters, all year round.  The reason for this is simply to get the best deals on gifts I know that they will love.  While it is a little inconvenient to stash toys, puzzles, craft and science kits, and books all year round, the money that I save buying at the right time makes it well worth it.

Not only do I do this for toys, but also for food.  Naturally, it is important to pay attention to expiration dates, but keeping a little stock pile of food is incredibly handy.  Especially when it comes to big events.  Be sure to watch the weekly flyers and notice when your festive foods are on sale.

Use Your Loyalty PointsBest Canadian Loyalty Programs

I am a member of a LOT of loyalty programs.  Even if I only frequent a location once or twice a year, I still get the loyalty card.  Why?  Because it’s a great way to get free stuff!  Stores want you to keep coming back and spending your money, so they offer all sorts of incentives to get you in.

By far, my favourite loyalty program is the PC Optimum program.  As a PC Insider, I typically redeem around $100 worth of PC Optimum points each month on average.  This has been invaluable to my money saving efforts, and as such, I shop Loblaws branded stores frequently.

Not only do the loyalty reward programs I’m a part of save me money year round, but they also are incredibly helpful for reducing big expenses at event times.

Use Coupons

where to find coupons in canada

Ya’ll know I love my coupons!  It was learning to coupon that took me down this wonderful frugal living/side hustling/saving rabbit hole.  So of course, I use coupons to help offset the costs of the parties I host each year.

Having learned the coupon ropes throughout the years, I have a pretty good idea of coupon cycles and what’s out there.  Nevertheless, I keep a mental note of what I’ll be buying for the events and try and find as many coupons for those items as I can.

Want to learn how to use coupons?  Check out this guide to using coupons in Canada!

Use Cashback Apps

Can you use coupons with cash back apps in Canada?

On top of using your loyalty points and coupons, you can easily add more savings by uploading your receipts to cashback apps.

If you haven’t signed up for cashback apps yet, do that first!  Then, every time you shop, upload your receipts to earn cashback that you can save up for big events!  So not only will you earn money for the items you buy for the party, but you can have a little party fund set up in your account balances!

Check out the best apps for Canadians here!

Pay With Gift Cards

Fast and Easy Mothers Day Gifts

One of the best savings hacks for everyone is to pay for purchases with gift cards.   There are a great number of ways to buy discount gift cards, which give automatic savings.  There are a few places you can pick up discount gift cards including:

Swagbucks – If you’ve been following this blog or checked out other articles, you’ve probably noticed my affinity for Swagbucks!  One of the newest great features on the site is the option to buy gift cards and get a percentage back in Swagbucks!  Many of the cards give you the option to have them delivered through the mail or email, so if you’re in a hurry, be sure to click the appropriate option.

Ebates – If you do any online shopping, you should be a member of Ebates!  It’s so easy to use and gives you cash back for every online purchase that you make!  Recently, Ebates has also gotten into the gift card selling game, and also offers cashback for gift cards bought through their site.  This is a great way to not only get cheap gift cards, but also top up your balance to make sure you have the minimum $5 quarterly payment!

CardSwap – This is the first site I ever used for buying gift cards.  It’s super easy to use and only does gift card sales, which makes navigation a bit easier.  Like Swagbucks and Ebates, you pay full price for the gift card and then receive points back.  Once $10 in points has been accumulated, they can be redeemed for a variety of other gift cards.

Store Sales – Do you check your weekly flyers for in-store sales?  As you read along, also watch out for discount gift cards!  Every once and a while stores will offer gift cards to other stores at a discount.  This is a great time to pick up gift cards and pay less out of pocket.

Just the same, sometimes stores offer savings or gift cards to their stores when a certain spending threshold is reached.  Watch for these offers at your favourite stores to save more!

Costco – Discount gift cards are a great Costco bonus!  Typically found in the toy/book aisle, there are usually a great number of gift cards to choose from!  One of my favourites at Costco is the Pizza Pizza gift cards, which come at an automatic 20% off!  This is a great way to save on gift cards right up front.

Facebook Groups/Kijiji – Buying gift cards from other people is definitely an option, albeit a slightly more risky one.  Every once and a while (especially shortly after Christmas) people offer gift cards they will not use in these groups at a discount.  While this is a great way to get an immediate discount, be sure to proceed with caution, as sadly, there are many who will do anything for a bit of money.

Shop Online

How to save money shopping online

Shopping online is a great way to save even more!  Simply head over to Swagbucks or Ebates before your shopping trip to get cashback for your purchases!

Getting cashback on your online purchases is so simple, and is an easy way to make some extra cash.

After you make your purchase, be sure to forward your ereciept to to get money in your Coinout account!  Don’t have a Coinout account?  Sign up here!

See how simple it is to shop through Swagbucks here:

Don’t Forget the Dollar Store

The dollar store is one of the best places to pick up birthday party supplies!  From decorations, to activities to loot bags, you can cover most of your party needs at a great price at the dollar store!

Buy Used

Discount party supplies

When it comes time to buy party decorations and activities, be sure to hit up your local Facebook Buy&Sell site, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace to see what items others are selling.  People are throwing parties all the time and often buying up more than they need.  So, they head onto the various buy and sell sites to sell off the extras (and even give them away sometimes)!  This is a great way to pick up great supplies super cheap!

Then, when your party is over, you can recoup some of the costs by selling off your extras too!  Win-Win!

Round Up Your Purchases

How does Mylo Work

One of the best ways to pay for a birthday party is to simply save for it!  Moka is an app that is great for automating savings and helping you achieve your saving goals!

Moka simply rounds up the change for the purchases you make each week and then invests it for you.  When you’re ready, you can withdraw the money and use it as needed!  Easy peasy!

Learn more about Moka here.

Schedule During Off Times

Scheduling a birthday party

If you’re booking a venue, look at off times for your party.  Most events are held on weekends (especially Saturday).  If you have some flexibility on the day of the week or time of day for the party, take advantage of it and save more!

Hire Student Entertainment

save money on children's entertainers

The biggest part of my budget is by far spent on entertainment for my kids’ parties.  Each year, I hire various acts to come in and entertain the kids (and the parents  when the entertainers are good).  This makes for a really special and fun event, and gives parents a bit of a break.

While I budget for big companies, one great option is to hire students and companies just starting out.  While there may be some kinks to work through and slip ups, kids likely won’t notice and will love whatever’s going on anyways.

Using new companies and student actors or even camp counselors, is definitely an affordable option to add lots of fun!

To find them:

Ask for recommendations in your local community Facebook group
Look on Kijji
Post an ad in your local Community College and/or University
Ask around – you’d be surprised at the connections some of your family and friends may already have!

DIY Entertainment

frugal birthday ideas

Of course, hiring entertainment for a birthday party is in no way, shape or form necessary!  There are so many other great ways to spend the time and entertain kids.

Instead consider:

Tie dying shirts
Playing party games
Watching a movie
Doing crafts
Treasure hunt
Dance party
Photo booth
Water balloon fights
Blow bubbles
Just letting kids play with the toys you already have and each other

There are so many ways to cut the costs of a birthday party, yet still have an amazing time!

Please share how you save on birthday parties in the comments!

21 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Birthday Parties

  1. Good timing! We are just starting to figure out our soon to be 3-year-old’s birthday party. This will be our first big birthday party and just started exploring venues/options

  2. I love the idea of hiring student entertainment for parties! It’s a great way to save money, and to help someone get started in their side gig!Also of course all the uses of apps and coupons to help save.

  3. Such awesome tips! We don’t have kids yet, but I’m extremely fascinated by the topic of kids’ birthday parties in today’s world. So nice to see someone making it less scary and more approachable 🙂

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