How To Throw A Birthday Party On A Student Budget


Birthday parties are not just for kids. Although what you do at them may have changed, they’re still a great excuse for everyone to get together and celebrate some of the people closest to you.

Uni birthday parties are no different. Newfound freedom, a newfound friendship group, and often plenty of alcohol can make for a brilliant combination, culminating into a night to remember for all of you – not least the person for whom the party is being thrown.

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No doubt you’ll want to make it as iconic as possible. But with a very limited budget, it may seem hard to make it a show-stopper.

Sure, it’ll be impossible to go all-out. You can’t get your friend a limo and a rented-out club. But you can still make it the best birthday party ever. All you need to know about how to throw a birthday party on a student night is one fundamental thing: you’ve got to be creative.

1. Get everyone involved

You don’t have to be the only one taking the brunt of it! Organising something as big as a birthday party can be stressful, especially when you’ve got other considerations like uni work or a part-time job to think about.

So don’t put that unnecessary load on yourself! Divide activities between whoever’s attending, or between the friendship group, depending on what people’s strengths are.

This also means the cost of the party is spread between yourselves, making it affordable for everyone but still pretty sizable in total.

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2. Homemade chefs

Have you got a friend who’s a whizz in the kitchen? Or a brilliant baker in your friendship?

If they’re happy to dedicate their time, then why not serve food and drinks made by yourselves? Your birthday friend will undoubtedly appreciate all the effort you’ve made collectively to put on an impressive spread. Plus, cooking together in the kitchen is a fun way to spend time with your mates.

As a bonus, you could look up recipes for homemade cocktails (alcoholic or otherwise) and serve them at your party. As with everything else, make sure they’re flavours you all will enjoy – especially your birthday friend!

3. Playlist it up

No party is complete without the tunes, and a birthday party is no different. There’s no need to hire the expensive DJ, though, because Spotify and Apple Music already do the hard work for you.

If you don’t already have one, ask a friend if you can borrow their speaker for the night, and start working on that playlist!

Have a good balance of party songs and your birthday friend’s favourite songs to really give it that special meaning. In the future, they’ll go back to the playlist and relive the fond memories through the music.

How To Throw A Birthday Party On A Student Budget

4. Bring out the nostalgia

I’m not saying bring back Pass the Parcel and the Thomas the Tank Engine presents. No, there are some nostalgic things that should stay in the past, but that’s not everything.

Pinatas are always a good shout, especially if you’ve had a few drinks and want to keep the high energy of the night going. (They’re a great photo opportunity as well!) Throwback songs and gift bags are a sweet little way to incorporate nostalgic elements into the party too.

5. Dress code

It doesn’t matter if you have a theme or not – having a dress code is vital. You don’t want people rocking up in jeans and a tee if you’re going for a more glam look.

For the sake of cohesion – and to look good in the Instagram photos – make sure that everyone knows what the dress code is in plenty of time, so they have time to source the right clothes and prepare the right look.

How To Throw A Birthday Party On A Student Budget

6. Fantastic theme

Why not go all out and subscribe to a themed night? Get everyone to dress up as a pirate for a laugh, or go all-out summer with Hawaiian shirts and a paddling pool. The possibilities are endless, and it may help you source your accessories and decorations more accurately.

As well as the decorations, you can really elevate the theme by making your nibbles and drinks themed too. Themed puns are sure to make your friends groan, but it’ll all be in good fun.

7. Make use of the outdoor area

This is more likely if you’re in a student house as opposed to student accommodation, but if you’ve got an outdoor area you can use – then use it! Save some decorations for the outside area; set up an area to take pictures (bring handheld accessories to jazz up your photos); string up the pinata in the alleyway (as is often present in terrace housing).

Make sure it’s well-lit as the night sets in, though, so the party can keep going!

How To Throw A Birthday Party On A Student Budget

8. Make it personal

The birthday party is about your birthday friend, so make sure everyone knows it!

It’s not just about personalising the playlist and the food: if you have a theme, is it because it’s one of your birthday friend’s interests? How many of the decorations – photos, banners, etc. – feature your friend?

At the end of the day, the attention is on your friend. You’re there to make their night unforgettable. And with these guidelines in place, you’re well on your way to fulfilling that wish!

How have you made a birthday party reach the next level? Share your tips in the comments below!

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