Did you somehow get stuck coordinating your friend’s baby shower? If so, you might feel the dread of getting it all done, which includes setting a date, sending out invitations, finding a venue, coordinating or making decorations, getting the food, drinks, planning the games, and shopping for the prizes.
Or maybe you thrive on party planning and you’re one of those overachievers who post incredible party ideas that everyone copies (and secretly envies) on Pinterest.
How to Throw a Cheap Baby Shower
Either way, you’ll need to think about how you can cut corners to keep the shower as inexpensive as possible. The real expense comes after the baby’s born, so it makes sense to penny pinch on the baby shower.
I’ve been to some extravagant baby showers and trust me when I say I’ve never reminisced and thought, “Wow, I will never forget so-and-so’s baby shower because it was decorated so nicely.” I do, however, remember funny moments and activities that guests took part in to make the day special and memorable for the expectant mom.
No one cares if the shower is fancy or how much money you spent on food and decorations.
Pinterest and The Dollar Store Will Be Your Best Friend
Even if you don’t have a Martha Stewart bone in your body, you can still have a meaningful yet inexpensive baby shower. You just need to know what resources to use (Pinterest and The Dollar Store) and set aside some time to prepare.
If you’re trying to create memories, go for the experience of being together, and have someone designated to taking photos and videos.
Of course having delicious food, games, and activities are tradition, so get creative and go cheap.
Here are some clever ideas that will help you save money on your baby shower.
Cheap Idea 1: Secure a Free Venue
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Hosting a baby shower at a restaurant or renting a venue and hiring caterers can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on how fancy it is.
This is by far, the easiest way to save money.
Ask your network of friends and throw the shower in someone’s house or even a free space, like a neighborhood park. If you’re going to have a baby shower where kids are allowed, it might make sense to do it in a place where they space to run around and let loose.
If you’re going to have the shower at someone’s house, the location and space of the home are two important factors to take into consideration. When two of my closest friends had their showers, they opted to have it at a friend’s apartment who lived centrally to the city so it was easy for guests to get there.
Cheap Idea 2: Use Digital Invites
Why go through the trouble of spending money on paper invites, writing down addresses, and wasting funds on postage when you can just email a free invite from Evite?
When you do your search on Evite, you can filter by free. Your design options might be limited, but the ones you have to choose from are actually really cute!
Plus, who has time for all that, when you have games, prizes, and food to plan!
Cheap Idea 3: Go to Costco for Food & Drinks
Trust me when I say no one will care if the food comes from a restaurant or from your oven. Instead of catering the food, go to Costco and buy in bulk.
If you don’t have a Costco membership, ask your friends if they have a membership. Worst case you can sign up for the membership, which is $60 annually. The cost of the annual fee might be worth the savings you’ll gain from shopping there.
Plus, you can go back in case you need to get anything for another party.
If you don’t want to worry about having to cook up a storm for guests, just do a handful of small bites and finger foods.
It’s always a nice plus when there’s a variety of dishes that cater to those who want healthier options. Costco is also great for fresh fruits and vegetables. Load up on veggies and pair them with lots of hummus.
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Cheap Idea 4: A Baby Shower Isn’t Complete Without Some Fruit Art
Pinterest is a great resource to get ideas for how to cut fruit and get creative with the presentation. Warning — you won’t be able to stop scrolling. This is normal.
Depending on how much time you have, there are some crazy and artistic ways you can use fruit to bring some color and fun to your table. Don’t forget to snap a few photos before guests start to devour!
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Cheap Idea 5: It’s OK to Do a Potluck
If you don’t have time to put together a whole menu and prepare games and prizes, ask your friends and guests to pitch in to make it a potluck baby shower.
You can have everyone coordinate what they plan on bringing so no one overlaps.
Once again, Pinterest is your friend. You can find endless inexpensive and colorful options for making a yummy potluck dish.
Cheap Idea 6: Go to the Dollar Store for Decorations
Forget Target or Walmart. The Dollar Store will be your main stop for decorations. When deciding on decorations, try to choose items that can be reused for other parties like birthday gatherings or anniversaries.
Pinterest is a haven for dollar store ideas.
Cheap Idea 7: Go for Simplicity
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a shower that was completely decked out in 50 shades of pink or blue.
Go for simplicity vs. an explosion of pink or blue. In my experience, I actually thought the most beautiful-looking showers didn’t even have a color scheme.
Make sure your decorations serve some kind of purpose. When decorating, focus your efforts on small touches you can add to the space to make it more festive.
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Cheap Idea 8: for Cupcake Stands
If you don’t have serving stands don’t go out and buy them. Instead, make them. Grab the following items from The Dollar Store and get to work.
All you need are:
- 3 Dollar Store silver plates
- 2 Glass candle holders
- Spray paint (color of your choice)
- Super glue or a hot glue gun
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Cheap Idea 9: Use Butcher Paper for Tablecloth
Instead of getting pink or blue tablecloth to lay under the food stations, why not use butcher paper and label what each dish is with a marker?
I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be a fabulously cheap idea for a shower too.
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Cheap Idea 10: Use Wrapping Paper as the Table Runner
Once again, The Dollar Store to the rescue! Load up on cheap wrapping paper and use it as a runner for your table to make it more festive.
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Cheap Idea 11: Hang Paper Lanterns from the Ceiling
Paper lanterns seem to be a staple for baby showers. Probably because they’re so cheap and look festive.
Paper lanterns can be purchased inexpensively online. Oriental Tradinghas them for only $5.97 for a set of three.
Cheap Idea 12: Hang Triangle Banners on the Walls
This is another common baby shower decoration, but unlike paper lanterns, you can make them yourself.
Check out your local fabric store and snatch up some brightly patterned fabrics. Cut them into same size triangles and use a hot glue gun to glue them on to twine. Hang on the wall.
Or you can also use paper or wrapping paper instead of fabric. Make sure the paper is on the thicker side since some wrapping paper can be really thin and flimsy.
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Cheap Idea 13: Bake Cupcakes Instead of Buying a Cake
Did you know there’s such a thing as pourable frosting? The things you learn on Pinterest!
Instead of using traditional frosting, which may require some skills and can be messy, just bake some cupcakes and pour some frosting over them and be done.
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Cheap Idea 14: Visit Trader Joe’s for Flowers
Trader Joe’s has inexpensive flowers for you to put in mason jars. Rather than buying a few dozen, just buy one bunch and put them in single mason jars and spread them around the tables.
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Other places where you can get flowers for cheap:
- Your city’s local flower mart. These are usually located in the downtown area.
- Costco is also a great place to check out for flowers.
- The local farmer’s market usually has daisies and gerberas for a decent price.
Another idea is to head to IKEA and grab a few of their fake flowers if you think you’d like to reuse them in the future for a different party.
Cheap Idea 15: Centerpieces That Look Expensive
If you want to ditch the whole flower thing altogether, you can try some of these creative and cheap ideas for creating fun centerpieces.
There’s always the easy route you can take, which is to fill up an empty glass vase with fun-sized chocolates and candies. You can fill them with healthier options too, like carrot sticks and celery.
If you want to spend some time putting together something with more pizazz, there’s a wonderful slideshow from Momtastic that shows you 101 ways to make cheap baby shower centerpieces.
- Image Source: Momtastic.com
Who Wants to Play a Baby Shower Game? (Not Me)
I won’t lie. I loathe baby shower games that make you do things like suck down some juice in a baby bottle or sniff a melted chocolate “turd” from a diaper. I say, why waste a perfectly good diaper?
A baby shower brings a variety of ladies together, and I have yet to meet a woman who claims she loves baby shower games. Keep the games to a minimum and balance game time with activities that guests can be a part of to create a keepsake for the new mom.
Your guests will appreciate this.
Cheap Idea 16 (Game): Guess the Size of Mom’s Giant Belly
What to prepare: Yarn, ribbon, or string, scissors
Get some yarn and ask guests to cut it according to the circumference of mom’s belly.
The one who is closest wins the prize.
Cheap Idea 17 (Game): Guess Who?
What to prepare: Before the shower, email guests and ask for a baby photo.
This game highlights the baby theme, but also serves as an ice breaker, since not everyone may know each other.
You’ll need a little bit of prep work before the day of the shower for this game. Ask guests to send you photos when they were babies. You could just ask them to email it to you ahead of time and print them out — that way you’re not dealing with any precious original photos.
Arrange the photos on a poster or cork board with a number assigned to each guest. Then ask guests to write down who’s who. The person with the most correct answers wins.
Cheap Idea 18 (Activity): Baby Bucket List
What to prepare: Notecards and pens
Have guests write down things they think the new parents will enjoy doing with the baby. Maybe it’s based on what they did with their own parents as kids, or what they did with their kids, if they are parents too.
The notecards will given to the new mom at the end of the party and can be added to the baby’s first year scrapbook.
Cheap Idea 19 (Activity): Diaper Notes
What to prepare: Pack of plain diapers and sharpies
Get a pack of plain diapers (not the kind that are covered in prints) and some sharpies. Have the guests write a cute, funny, or motivational note on the diapers for the new parents-to-be.
Cheap Idea 20 (Game): The Price Is Right
What to prepare: Everyday items that a baby may need, such as a pack of diapers, pacifiers, baby socks, diaper rash cream, and a jar of baby food. (My guess is that the mom-to-be will already have these items, so just use what she has.)
Gather up some baby items and have guests guess how much they think that item costs. Have them write down the cost on a piece of paper.
Just like the TV version, the person who doesn’t go over the price, but stays under and is closest wins.
Cheap Idea 21 (Game): Baby Shower Scramble
What to prepare: Paper, pens, a timer
Choose a handful of longish baby words and ask guests to come up with as many new words from the letters. The person who comes up with the most wins.
Example words include: pacifier, baby formula, breast milk, delivery, cesarian, anesthesiologist
Or another version of this game is to have the words pre-scrambled and have guests figure out what the word is.
For example, arc eats would be a car seat.
Cheap Idea 22 (Game): Who Is It, Mom or Dad?
What to prepare: Before the shower, ask the parents to give you memorable moments from their own childhood. For example: “I played with dolls until I was 10.”
This game works well when guests are friends with both parents. Ask for 5 to 10 memorable moments when they were kids.
Then print out the list and have guests choose if was mommy or daddy. Or if you want to save paper, just print one out and read it to the guests and have them write down whether their answers.
The person with the most correct answers wins.
Cheap Idea 23 (Game): Baby Mad Libs
What to prepare: Print out mad libs from the web. You can find these online for free on Pinterest.
Remember doing Mad Libs as a kid? I certainly do. I was obsessed.
Test your guests’ word smithing skills. Hopefully, they remember what a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb is!
If there are a lot of guests, break into teams and the have the group vote on which Mad Lib was funniest.
Cheap Idea 24 (Game): Baby Shower Bingo (While Mom Opens Gifts)
What to prepare: A printout of a bingo board game with various baby items spread out on the bingo board. Remember, the boards must all be different — the baby items need to be ordered differently on each board.
As a guest of many showers, I’ve appreciated the ones where the mom didn’t bother opening presents in front of guests. While it’s nice to oo and ah for cute gifts made for the little one, it’s also boring.
Give guests an incentive to put down their phones during this time and pass out baby shower bingo printouts with common shower gifts written on them. While the mom opens presents, have guests play along with bingo.
Cheap Idea 25 (Activity): Time Capsule for Baby
What to prepare: Email guests ahead of time and ask them to bring items to put inside a time capsule for the baby. Examples include:
- Newspaper clippings
- Notes or something unique about the parents
- Small toys
Cheap Idea 26: Prizes for Games
Many of the prizes for winners of the games can be purchased inexpensively from The Dollar Store or ahead of time online. This is where you can get creative and motivate guests to put in some effort when participating in the games.
I’ve seen all kinds of prizes at baby showers, but these are the ones that are most memorable:
- Travel sized alcohol, like vodka or tequila
- Scented candles
- Coffee mugs
- Cool kitchen gadgets (like a milk frother to make lattes at home)
Prizes that come in gift bags are also fun. You can group various items based on a theme.
Here are some ideas:
- Nail kit: high-end nail polish, nail file, cotton balls.
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- Spa kit: lotions, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bubble bath
- Sweets: cookies, chocolate, candies, movie passes
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- Cocktail kit: Travel sized alcohol with cute accessories to make the perfect cocktail
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Here are some gift cards to add to the prizes:
- Bed Bath and Beyond
- Google Play store
Here are stores that have awesome clearance items:
- TJ Maxx
These stores have cheap knickknacks and doodads that line the queues before you reach the register:
- Old Navy
- Forever 21
Check out your local GoodWill or second hand store for any missing supplies you may need for the shower, like serving utensils or pitchers.
Planning for a Cheap Baby Shower
Divide the work and don’t do it all on your own. Get your friends to help you and assign them with one task, like decorations or drinks.
Create a checklist and keep track of how much you’re spending.
There’s no reason to spend a ton of money on a shower, especially if you have a network of friends who may already have some materials to contribute — like serving platters.
Take advantage of Pinterest — you’ll see that there are endless ways to create an inexpensive baby shower experience that’s festive, delightful, and has delicious food.