Celebrate Big Without Spending Big

FishMama is hosting a birthday cake round-up over at Life as Mom today.  I can’t wait to see all the neat-o cakes that everyone’s been making.  I’ve been playing around with my cake decorating tips for many years, but I certainly claim no professional talent.

Cinderella here (how ’bout that eyelash job… whoops!) came about after we attended the birthday party of a friend.  My almost 4-year-old decided that Cinderella must attend her party, too, and so she did.  I borrowed the pan and found the pattern online.  Please excuse the fuzzy picture.  I had to take a digital picture of a print, because this party was way back when I didn’t have a digital camera… not quite 2 years ago…


Making your own birthday cake, be it a Disney Princess or a regular ol’ sheet cake topped with edible confetti, is one way to celebrate big without spending big.  I’m all about living it up on birthdays. We do our best to shower our kids with love and fun on their special day.

What I’m not big on?  Spending lots of money for birthday fun.  It’s not necessary and the birthday kid won’t notice.  Children are seriously impressed by the small stuff.  They are naturals at celebrating The Finer Things in Life.

Here are 13 Ways to celebrate big without spending big.



  • Party at the park.  The playground provides free entertainment.
  • Cover tables with large white rolls of paper.  Provide crayons and stickers and let your guests do the decorating.
  • Allow the activity to be part of the eating: make your own pizza/banana splits/decorate cupcakes.
  • Let the child choose a fun family activity for the day, or better yet… let him choose the schedule for the whole day – maybe with a few parameters.  😉
  • Watch home movies from when the birthday kid was little oh, so long ago.


  • Wrap presents in the Sunday comics.
  • Make homemade cards.  They’re more meaningful, too!
  • Provide coupons for activities that all kids crave:  an extra story at bedtime, a bike ride with mom, go fishing with dad.
  • Make your kid’s gift.

How does your family celebrate big without spending big?

Join the fun:  Stop by FishMama’s Birthday Cake Round-up and the Thursday Thirteen at Happy to be at Home.  Visit Crystal’s blog for more Frugal Friday.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.


  1. Great ideas, Amy! I love making cupcakes for our birthday parties, as they are so much easier to distribute and eat…and a candle fits perfectly in one! I do have a cupcake stand that is nice, too that I got 40% off at Joann Fabric. My parents live on a farm so we do our summer/fall harvest parties there, but I do have trouble coming up with good ideas for our February birthday boy. By then cabin fever has settled in so badly.

    Oh, that’s right around the corner! I best get to planning!

    And, by the way, I have never seen such a cute Wordless Wed. picture…that was adorable! I love it!

  2. These are really good ideas! I got all my gifts as a kid wrapped in the comics.

  3. Love it, even the eyelashes. Thanks for hunting her down!

  4. So pretty! I think you did a fabulous job and the eyelashes just make her extra-girly. 🙂 Great ideas for ways to celebrate big too.

  5. Those are great ideas. You know I love to make my own cakes. This Christmas we got a Wii so we are having a bowling tournament for her birthday. I even took a page from Bakerella and making Mii cupcakes:-) Hee, hee, hee.

  6. My DD will be one next month. Oh my goodness! Anyway, I enjoyed your post. Thanks.

  7. Suburbanstepmom says:

    I love your ideas. I usually make my own cakes and cupcakes too. I made a 3 layered ariel cake for my daughters last bday party.


  1. […] Celebrate Without Spending Big ~ The Finer Things […]

  2. […] Using my chocolate sheet cake recipe, I fashioned these homemade cupcakes into my birthday girl’s new age.  Slapped some clearance wrapping paper over a sheet cake pan for presentation, and we’re all set for the birthday party.  She’s thrilled, and that’s the only thing that matters.  Yet another way to celebrate big without spending big. […]

  3. […] Amy from Amy’s Finer Things shares how to celebrate BIG without spending BIG! […]

  4. […] Amy at The Finer Things in Life offers numerous tips on how to celebrate big without spending big. […]

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