Throwing a Great Teen Birthday Party on a Budget

teen birthday ideas

Creating any type of party on a budget can induce anxiety, cause some stress, and have hosts scrambling, but it really doesn’t need to be that way. Even with our teens’ high-order demands and wants, you can still throw a great birthday party without breaking the bank.

It may seem like you’re embarking on entirely new territory with these young adults and their fancy party ideas and plans. But, if you play your cards right, you’ll not miss a beat or a thrifty deal with our hidden tips, tricks, and fun and innovative ways to pump up the festivities. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Venue Options

It’s hard to get away with an at-home pizza party for a Sweet 16. Instead, try to get creative with venue options, but without venturing into the world of hotels and downtown clubs. Instead. Think about renting a local field or tenting your own backyard that you can then have the ease to turn into the vision your son or daughter may be dreaming of.

Another idea is to consult your teen directly, they may have an idea in mind already for their dream birthday party. You can also find out about any new ideas that have been popularized for their generation and find a way to make a more budget-friendly spin on it (if it isn’t already).


Steer clear from kitschy streamers and balloons. Instead, match your decor to the theme of the event. Maybe your kiddo wants a dance floor and great music under the tent.

Opt for great lighting and a DJ instead of shelling out cash for banners that will go unnoticed and appreciated. Truly think about what is essential for transforming the space and research enough to get the best deal possible.

You can also consider the DIY approach to decorations where you can recreate amazing decorations or invent your own to match the birthday theme!

Crazy Idea: If you don’t want to waste anything when the party eventually comes to a close, consider making some decorations that can double-up as party gifts to take home for your guests! Even crazier, let them even pick and choose what they want to take home as a remembrance token for an unforgettable birthday party.

Food & Drink Birthday

Cater to the event in any way that fits your budget. Whether that’s whipping up a homemade menu yourself or calling around to check local bottom line prices – and then bartering for the best one. This will give you the best value for what you need versus just doing it inside your own kitchen.

We suggest going outside the realm of pizza and going with something that fits the night’s vision a little better – host with a taco bar and some mocktails for example!

Highly Recommended: Be sure to consult your teen about the potential guest list. Knowing about food allergies and preferences of the group will help you in the long run, especially when it comes to making tummies happy and keeping the mood of the party high!

Boy/Girl’s Attire

We’re sure that the birthday boy or girl will be worried about their attire for the evening. Depending on the theme of the party, you really have a lot of power in terms of shopping around for the festivities.

Thrift shops can help with more defined themes – like “Movie Night” or “Heros and Villains” – but if it’s something more “upscale and posh” think about hitting up Rent the Runway or other versions to get a great new piece for a fraction of the designer’s cost.

Remember: The attire doesn’t have to be a full head-to-outfit. It could even be an accessory of some sort (depending on the theme) for everyone to wear.

If opting for color-themes, put those details in the party invitation to invite people to come dressed for the occasion themselves. It also has the added benefit of being a surprise for the birthday teen! You can even have backups for those who come unprepared, lessening the burden of providing everything yourself.


Don’t believe that the better parties have the most people. Instead, it’s the exact opposite. The better parties have the memorable details, delicious food, and memories of all the family and friends that were able to attend.

But that’s the catch, only invite family and friends that are important to the birthday girl or guy – sit down with your teen and discuss a guest list that stays within the confines of the budget. (E-mail your invites to save costs, plus, the kiddos are all connected via their smartphones anyway!)

Opportunity: Take this moment to get a feel for what kind of friend group your teen has to make the party run more smoothly. If certain guests have dietary preferences or need help with transportation, anything that gets those kids to the party and has everyone laughing and happy is a win/win.

Theme Ideas

Great Gatsby

Get all the kids to come in some Roaring’ 20’s garb and serve up small appetizers and sparkling mocktails to really get the night going. You could definitely rent an easy, inexpensive space and then surround the area with fabric and faux crystals to transform it into something Gatsby would agree to – just don’t forget the green light!


All you need is a field that you can host on a bonfire on legally to get yourself started. Grab the hot dogs and smores supplies to finish off the rest. Oh, and a speaker too for some ambiance-creating music. The rest is up to the kids!

Glow In The Dark

You’d be surprised how fun this one could be. Everything from glow in the dark paint that the kids can throw on each other (outside of course) to decorations that will ignite the night! This could be a really fun way to add a unique twist on the classic birthday party we’re all used to. (Have everyone wear white!)

DIY Glam

Create a glamorously themed party by doing it yourself with items from your local dollar craft store such as Dollar Tree! Veri Keri shows in her YouTube video how she planned a party on a budget and created everything herself using materials from the Dollar Tree store. And let me tell you – the budget is friendly, the creative possibilities are endless, and the beautiful finished product will be priceless.

Lastly, Allow for Some Flexibility

I am sure it will come to no one’s surprise that a teen party, however well-intentioned and well-planned, can sometimes get a little crazy. Very often they’ll want to make changes to the party on the go depending on the mood of the group. Such changes to the party can include rearranging room settings to play games and dance, or switching out each other’s phones to play music to change the ambiance.

Be aware of that and remember as long as your teen is happy and things don’t get out of control, it’s alright to change things up a bit on the fly. Anything else… is bound to be a surprise, but hopefully not an unwelcome one!