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Baby showers are a fantastic way to celebrate a new life. Enjoy time with family and friends and (for the new parents) get tons of attention and well wishes before everything shifts to the
It’s a time-honored tradition that women are thrown baby showers to celebrate their new coming family member. Whether it be the first baby born or the second, or third. Baby showers have become very common in the past few years, and it’s not unusual to throw them for each additional child.
But baby showers can become a big expense.
You have games, food, cake, prizes, party favors, guest books, and decorations to take into account.
And that’s just the bare minimum.
How can you plan a baby shower on a budget? Is that even possible?
I’m here to tell you that it is!
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My cousin is due next month with her first baby, a little girl named Lilith.
Due to the holidays and her not wanting a baby shower so close to my sisters (held in November) she postponed her shower until now.
She was 36 weeks pregnant during this party. Hosted on January 12th, which is 2 days before my sisters due date. Can you see how fun the next two months is for my family?
Post updated to reflect baby Lilith being born just 5 days after this baby shower was held!
Anyways… She wanted a winter themed party
On a budget
The cheaper the better. But if we can get under $100, we win.
I’m helping to make everything happen, because I’m the crafty budget friendly guru in the family, lol!
To make this an even bigger challenge, I didn’t know I’d be helping this much until 1 week prior to the party date. The date had been picked out months ago, and the location was selected since then.
Of course, I offered to help since the very beginning as well, but with conflicting issues of not knowing who was actually in charge of the planning, mixed with finances, and hectic lifestyles, it wasn’t until just more than 1 week before the party that I was officially asked to do everything.
Starting with games, prizes, and decorations, but I quickly took on the role of the cocoa bar and foods as well.
I happen to be a control freak and an awesome party planner, so the more control I have, the more that I can succeed in.
I find it so much easier when I have control.
I’m a leader, not a follower lol.
I can delegate, and I can follow when needed, so don’t get me wrong- I can be a team player, but if I am following someone else’s direction, they need to be spot on and an excellent leader themselves or else I’ll naturally jump into their role. *This is one more reason why I don’t have a job outside my home lol.
The place we were having the party hosted at charged $200 to rent for the 4 hours we set aside for it. The money was fronted by a friend of my cousin and a special deal put in place where if we left it spotless when we left, the money would be fully refunded. So of course, we wanted to get the venue for free. WE LIKE FREE.
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This meant no glitter, tiny confetti’s, or anything that could be incredibly messy.
To add to the fun, a few days prior to the celebration, we were told that we had only half an hour to set up and take down before and after the party.
So now everything needed to be as ready-to-go as possible, to limit the prep time.
So many challenges being faced for this one event!
Okay so here’s the official list of challenges we faced:
- Winter themed for a baby girl without being Christmas themed
- A budget of $100
- 1 week to organize, design and make happen
- 30 minutes to set up and tear down
- Need to leave the place spotless
- We weren’t sure exactly how many people would show up. RSVPing is a dying courtesy.
- My cousin was almost induced the day before her shower due to high blood pressure. (ah, the thrills of pregnancy!)
To make this Winter themed Baby shower happen, on a budget…
I used my favorite things.
- The local Dollar Tree
- My Cricut Explore Air machine
- My creative ingenuity
- Excel Spreadsheets to keep me organized.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have an Excel spreadsheet for EVERYTHING. My Christmas shopping, birthday planning, monthly bills,
We had a budget-friendly menu themed to the baby shower
We can’t just NOT feed everyone, that’s not how it works.
A party means some sort of refreshments needs to be offered. That’s common courtesy, and the way I think of it is that guests are giving you money and gifts in exchange for the refreshments and your company for a few hours. It’s like the saying about the wedding ceremony’s being for the bride and groom, but the reception is a thank you to the guests.
For the menu, we planned a Self-serve Chili and Potato Bar. Drinks were a hot chocolate bar and cold sparkling apple cider.
The Chili bar was the most expensive part of the baby shower (and rightly so.)
The Chilli Bar Included:
A crockpot of premade
The Grocery prices reflected below are courtesy of my local Walmart and the grocery pick-up option.
To make the chilli we used:
- (3) pounds of ground turkey $5
- (4) cans of kidney beans $0.59 per can
- (1) 28oz cans tomato diced $1.24
- (1) 29oz can tomato sauce $1.24
- Chili seasoning made from pantry ingredients.
The baked potatoes were a 10lb bag of Russet potatoes, washed, baked, wrapped in foil and kept warm during the party. $2.84
The topping bar:
- One whole onion. Diced. $0.62
- 1 pound cheddar cheese. Shredded. $2.22
- 4 limes. Quartered. $1.00
- 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix. Prepared into muffins. $0.94
- 1 box yellow cake mix (prepared with the cornbread) $0.50
- 1/2 pound bacon. Cooked and crumbled. $3.06
- 1 bundle green onions. Chopped. $.99
- 1 stick of butter. $.81
- 1 container sour cream. $1.98
Total cost for Chilli and potato bar estimated to be $23.03
***Side note for you frugal readers***
Mix 2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix + 1 box yellow cake mix + all the eggs, oil and milk they ask for (subbing milk for water) and you bake according to muffin directions on the yellow cake mix box. You just made over 30 muffins for super cheap. You can See my exact recipe and tips over on my frugal food blog Jiffy Sweet Cornbread recipe.
- 4 count Silver Plastic Serving Tongs, 2 packs were bought.
- $3 for serving plates
- $2 for utensils
- $2 for napkins
- $5 for clear bowls for the toppings (they were 2 count packages)
- $1 clear standing photo frame
- The cornbread bowl was $1
- $1 for the ladle
- The baby shower themes gift wrap, used as a table cover
Bringing our total to $36.03 for everything on the table.
Everything looks so good!
The extra plates, eggrolls and veggie plate were brought by guests.
The DIY portion was done with the use of the Cricut Explore Machine currently camped out on my kitchen table. AKA, my office.
The chilli bowls were compostable bowls made for a restaurant at one point and ended up sitting in our home the past several months.
As mentioned in my past DIY party post, my parents work at a restaurant supply warehouse. When pallets of items get damaged and can’t be sent to the client, they get offered up to the workers for free. So I used this party as an opportunity to spruce up and use the bowls (also clearing some space in our home.)
The labels were made with Cricut Design Space, printed and cut by my Explore Air. Glued them on and they look so great now.
You can use and a pair of stickers to make custom stickers like these.
The food labels were also made and cut by my Cricut. Simple cardstock, glitter writing pen, and some glue stick usage to hold them together.
Napkin rings were made with cardstock and glue sticks as well. Oh, my Cricut got so much action this week prepping things for the party.
Hot Chocolate Bar & Cold Apple Cider
Served and kept warm in a crockpot, the hot cocoa was homemade and delicious.
Served in Pitchers with ice, the cold apple cider provided a nice cool option to drink.
I really enjoy having both a hot and cold drink choice available at parties.
Hot Cocoa Bar:
- Bag of mini marshmallows $0.99
- Baking Cocoa (saving cost by using from our pantry) 1 cup needed
- Brown Sugar (saving cost by using from our pantry) 1 cup needed
- Powdered Sugar (saving cost by using from our pantry) 1 cup needed
- Quart of Almond milk $1.99
- Vanilla extract (saving cost by using from our pantry) 4 TBSP needed
- Candy cane/peppermint sticks from Dollar Tree
- Chocolate covered spoons $2
- Whipped cream $1.99
- Dairy Free Whipped Cream $3.50
- (3) containers to hold the sticks, marshmallows and spoons $3
- (4) cans frozen concentrated apple juice $3.96
- (2) liters club soda $1.34
- (1) 10lb bag of ice $1.73
- (2) Glass pitchers- no cost, provided from our home
- (1) Drink ladle for the cocoa
Mixing 2 cans of apple juice concentrate per 2 liters of club soda make a frugal and delicious sparkling apple juice.
Total estimated cost for the drink station $25.07
The coffee to-go disposable cups with sleeves were provided by my aunt.
I cut and wrapped the whipped cream containers using the same cardstocks I used for the food labels. I love the way they turned out!
The chocolate covered spoons were made by me, using almond bark and semi-sweet chocolate chips we had in the house. The almond bark was leftover from my sisters baby shower in November.
If you’ve never made chocolate spoons before, it’s incredibly easy.
Melt the chocolate, dip the spoons, and lay them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Sprinkle or add any toppings (like crushed peppermint or sprinkles.) Then let them cool and harden. I used clear loot bags, cut in half, to package them. Sealing with the twist ties that the loot bags come with.
The mini cupcakes were bought for the party by my aunt (part of our budget). The larger cupcakes in front were made and brought in by a guest.
This is where things get crazy.
Not everyone RSVP’s to parties anymore, so it’s incredibly difficult to plan for maybes and the no response folks.
Her party had 18 RSVP as a yes, 11 as a maybe and a total of 39 people were even invited. So, I figure that making 25 party favors should suffice.
Her party favors are little bags of popcorn with thank you tags. The tags simply say “thank you for coming” and the date of the baby shower.
I honestly couldn’t choose between “She’s about to Pop!” or “Thanks for Popping by” and by the time I had tags and pen in hand, my mind went blank and I just wrote something.
From Dollar Tree:
- 1.5 rolls of ribbons that we had on hand (originally bought at Dollar Tree)
- 1 packs of 25ct plastic loot bags
- 2 bags of pre-popped butter popcorn
I was originally going to cut and write the tags using my Cricut Design Space. However, we are only a few days away from the baby shower, and my husband is using our ONLY computer to do something important this week. Trying to give him more time and me less stress, so I used leftover Christmas tags and hand wrote them.
Total Cost for Party Favors $3
A baby shower just isn’t a baby shower without the games! So we needed games!
Budget-friendly games, requiring no group participation, leisure to them as desired. We made the joke that this was the biggest social gathering of introverts. So I tailored the games to fit the crowd and set up a games table.
5 games, for about $10 in total cost.
A Dollar Tree photo frame, with balloon ribbon taped to it on the back. Holding pink onesies held on by tiny clothes pins.
This became the Parenting advice/well wishes activity.
Guests were encouraged to write uplifting notes to mom/dad or baby.
In the background on the right, you can see the diaper raffle area. The baggy had the blank tickets for guests to write their names.
Baby’s First ABC Book
This game/activity was super simple to throw together. I actually made it on Microsoft Paint program. Just drew out a rectangle, and added the words. Printing 1 copy of each page, and with each print, I simply changed the alphabet letter.
When all 26 letters are finished, the pages can be either A) laminated and turned into a book. B) placed in sheet protectors and a 3 ring binder to make a book. Or C) scanned into the computer, and turned into a book using a photo company that specializes in photo books.
Guests had a lot of fun getting creative with the alphabet. D for Dragon. A for Apple. My daughter drew C for Cat boy (a superhero from her favorite Disney Jr Tv Show- PJ Masks.) My husband drew a lemon for Ll, at the bottom of each sheet,
Small inside jokes like this are what makes this such a cute game.
Guess the baby food jars
Tasting baby food is almost never fun. I’m not sure why it tastes so horrible, but it’s a fun game to play at a baby shower, that’s for sure!
6 Jars of baby food labels removed and numbered 1-6. Guests had to write down what they thought each jar contained. Of the few guests brave enough to try this game, only 2 correct guesses were made the entire time!
Proud momma moment when my daughter was the only one who could tell the taste difference between peas and green beans. The jar contained green beans, the adults guessed it being peas.
Guessing the Baby’s due date
Everyone guesses when a baby will be born, the moment you tell them when you’re due. It’s like a natural reaction to finding out that someone is pregnant, to make some form of guess.
So I took a foam board and drew up a calendar for everyone to set their predictions in stone. Not only guessing at the due date but also the height, weight, and stats!
It was fun seeing how people were guessing.
Don’t say baby
Clothespins, with snowflakes and mittens, hot glued on them, to be worn on your shirt. When someone
This game was set up by the entry door to make things easier.
I threw my sister a baby shower (Woodland theme) back in November, and her guest book was thumbprints on a tree. Looking like different colored leaves. Not wanting to do the exact same thing, but still wanting to stick with the stamps, we made fingerprint balloons being held up by a cute animal.
The image template will be printed from my computer onto cardstock and placed into a Dollar Tree frame. Cost $1, because we are using my on-hand craft supplies.
Easily one of the more expensive parts of a baby shower, with exception to the food, is the prizes. We want to make them fun for the guests, fitting the theme and be cost effective.
For my sister’s baby shower back in November, we did blue baby bottles filled with layered items needed for making Hot Cocoa. While this was a great idea, it was slightly out of budget here.
We needed 3 prizes.
3 baby bottles, filled with discounted valentines candies colored white, pink and red. Perfect for a baby girl’s shower. I managed to find individual bags of valentine m&ms 3 for $1. 3 baby bottles from Dollar Tree, 9 bags of m&m’s, Which brings us to $6 for these prizes.
Using ribbons from Dollar Tree, plus cardstock and adhesive vinyl I already own, I was able to make the mommy and daddy pins. My Cricut machine cut them and I assembled. The pin backs I had on hand as well. Everything is held together using hot glue.
Tallied up costs thus far, what’s left in our budget?
If you have been keeping track of the budget thus far, you will see that we currently have estimated spending $80.10. Leaving us with $19.90 in the budget to spend on decorations and everything else.
My aunt got the hot drink cups for the cocoa bar and the mini cupcakes. These came out of the budget too. So photo backdrop and decorations needed to be as cheap as possible
For the photo backdrop, I went as cheap as possible and started by looking around the house. I found a roll of pink tulle that my mom hadn’t touched in at least 10 months. Asked her for permission, and it was granted!
Cutting into long strips and tying onto a piece of string, held by 2 push pins, we had a photo backdrop.
I added some adhesive snowflakes from Amazon. They gave such a pretty sparkle without being glittered.
A photo of my cute girl in front of the photo backdrop while we were at the party.
(2) packages of fake rose petals $2
Doilies we had on hand. and the pink trees were made using Cricut design space, they’re actually a Christmas place setting project. I made them bigger and removed some features.
So, if you take anything away from this post, let it be the secrets to throwing a good party on a budget.
Here are the secrets to throwing a baby shower on a budget, like we did:
- Know your budget. We had a $100 budget.
- Know your guests/hosts. If they aren’t naturally social, don’t make them be at the party.
- Look around your home for inspiration to use for decorations. We found bowls, tulle, and other crafty items.
- Accept help offered by guests, family and friends. If they want to contribute to the food table, let them!
And that is all folks.
My son enjoying a dairy-free chocolate spoons, while sitting in the lap of my handsome husband. We had a lot of fun celebrating with my cousin on her special day.
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