Tween Birthday Party for Under $100

My daughter’s eleventh birthday was last week, and we threw her party over the weekend. As usual, I wanted to keep things fun and frugal.

Eleven year old girls are hard to plan for sometimes. They’re beyond the stage where pin the tail on the donkey and pinatas are cool. And in my daughter’s case, she wanted to invite a mixture of kids from her old school and her new school, so I wasn’t sure how comfortable the girls would feel around each other at first. Fortunately, we were able to overcome these challenges.


My daughter loves to sing, and she loves American Idol. So we threw an American Idol slumber party.

To decorate, I hung blue and white streamers from a shelf in our living room to make a backdrop. I also set the table with a white tablecloth, blue paper plates, and plastic wine glasses (I served soda in the wine glasses!).

I made a cake in the shape of a microphone, by using a circle cake and a rectangle cake cut to size for the mic handle. I decorated the mic with gray frosting and blue decorator sugar for sparkle. And I frosted the mic handle with black frosting, which made for some interesting smiles later.

For goodie bags, I hit the dollar store. I found some small metallic purses, and stuffed them with nail polish, lip gloss, and a fuzzy picture frame, all found at the dollar store. Then during the party, I took pictures of each girl with my daughter in front of the backdrop, as well as a group picture. I printed the pictures and stuck them in the photo frames. I also took a 4×6 “star photo” of each girl by herself, and printed them out for the girls to take home.

The girls pretty much played American Idol, using Wii Sing It the entire time. They spent a fair amount of time singing to Hannah Montana CDs, too though, so you wouldn’t specifically need a karaoke type game. CDs worked just fine.

I had also recorded an episode of American Idol for them to watch if they started getting bored. We never ended up watching it though, because they were having so much fun singing and imitating Paula, Kara, Randy, & Simon.

The girls went to bed late, got up early, and we had a nice pancake breakfast before their parents picked them up. It was a great party, and it didn’t cost a fortune.

The total cost of the party, including food (2 pizzas, cake, ice cream, pop, lemonade, pancakes, & syrup), decorations (paper plates, plastic wine glasses, plastic tablecloth, streamers, & balloons), and party favors (purses, nail polish, lip gloss, & photo frames for 5 girls) was $66.20! I’ve done better, but it’s still not bad!

Do you have any frugal party ideas? I’d love to hear them!

Photo by Crystl.


By , on Feb 10, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. This was great! I must have been so busy planning Andrew’s LEGO party that I missed this post. Especially like the way you used what you already had (Wii) for entertainment to go with your theme.

  2. Isn’t it amazing what a big punch the karaoke factor can provide when tweens are involved? I love the microphone cake! I linked to this article today too.

    If I had thought of it sooner, I would have grabbed the 75% off Hannah Montana halloween costume accessories after the holiday to save for my daughter’s friends to dress up with at her birthday party. I bet that the Hannah Montana theme is the #1 girl tween party this year!

    Danelle Ice / Homemaker Barbi

  3. Yasmine:

    Thats sounds like a fun idea for a party- im loving the cake!
    We have only had 2 birthdays for the twins so far. One thing we saved money one was candy and chocolates for take home bags and the pinata. Lucky for us, Their birthday is Dec 27th, so ALL christmas candy and chocolates were on sale pretty cheap so the pinata was filled w/out spending much.

    My hubby ordered the cake on his own which was pretty expensive- $60.00! i had no idea that was how much birthday cakes cost from the grocery store. I decided next year ill bake my own cake from scratch or even buy a few $2 cake mixes to make- it would definitely be less than $60! Ive seen cute cupcake ideas where you can frost them and buy cupcake toppers to match your party theme- again that would definitley be a LOT cheaper than a $60 cake.

  4. My children are grown now, but when my son turned 12 or 13 I invited his friends over for a bicycle treasure hunt. We live in a small town. They had to all stay together and help each other find the next clue. I hid the clues around town. Some were with business owners who gave them a clue and a treat, like an ice cream bar that I had left there. The last clue told them to go to the city park where we had the treasure, the food, and the presents. It was fun. The boys got lost once. Ended up in the next town over. My husband had to go help them get back, but it was quite memorable. My advice, make the clues real plain, don’t try to be too clever and mysterious or your kids might end up in the next town over also.

  5. What a fun idea! I love planning frugal parties, esp. now that my kids are getting old enough to want parties. :-) Before, I could just take them to Grandma’s and buy some princess tableware. Ha!

  6. Do you have a son, too? And do you have an idea for a party for him? Just wondering what the equivalent would be for boys, if any.

  7. What a cool idea for a party! Not too babyish, and not too grown up. I bet all the kids had a total blast!

  8. Marci:

    Fun and Frugal! Great plan! Glad it worked out so well!

  9. That is such a fun idea!! I bet all the girls loved it. I think the key to frugal b-day parties is having a plan. Throwing it together at the last minute is what gets pricey.

  10. This was a really good reminder of how to have a frugal birthday party. Thanks!

  11. Happy birthday to your daughter!

    Glad to hear you kept it reasonable. These birthday parties today are getting out of hand– live pony rides, moon bounces, DJ’s, ice cream trucks, and petting zoos. Everyone has to keep up with and exceed the Jones now don’t they.

    Sounds like fun was had on a frugal budget.

    More of my thoughts on birthday parties here:

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