A College Birthday Party on a Budget

You don’t have to spend all your money to throw a great birthday party in college! Going to a restaurant is always a great option, but throwing a little surprise birthday party for a friend, especially amidst the busyness of college, is such a fun way to show them how special and loved they are. There are lots of easy ways to pull this off, even if you are on a budget. Here is what a college birthday party on a budget can look like:


The Food

The most popular, easy to make treats are chocolate-dipped anything. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Oreos. All you need is oreos, chocolate, and sprinkles. I made these for my hockey team on Valentine’s Day and they were a hit!

2. Pretzels. During a Liga Filipina hangout this semester, a couple of our members used their Blanch swipes on pretzels and brought them back to the ACE House to make chocolate-dipped pretzels with the rest of the org.

3. Strawberries or Bananas. For our Thanksgiving potlucks, my friend Izzy always brings chocolate-covered strawberries. They look fancy, but they’re made with only two ingredients.

The options are limitless! You can also dip marshmallows, rice krispy treats, graham crackers, or whatever you think needs chocolate.


The Decorations

A few simple decorations make any party festive and fun. Here are some options:

1. Blow up a bunch of balloons to tape to the wall or cover the floor with.

2. Hang up different colored streamers on the doorway or windows.

3. Get creative! Think back to when you elfed a first-year or were elfed yourself. When I did elfing with the rest of the sophomores, I remember a lot of us used newspaper to make chains, printed out cute/funny pictures from magazines, or wrote several nice little messages on sticky notes. A firstie on my floor had her entire door covered in pictures and memes of Drake and she loved the surprise.


The Activity

A treat yo’ self night. Spoil the birthday person with a chill night of beauty DIYs.

1. Facemasks. Sometimes when I leave the dining hall, I grab a packet of instant oatmeal in case I don’t have time to get breakfast the next day. But if you collect a few PLAIN/non-flavored instant oatmeal packets, you can actually use them to make a natural facial treatment for yourselves! Beautyhacked.com says, “To make your own face mask, combine equal parts oatmeal and hot water, then add a dollop of raw honey and an eighth of a cup of plain yogurt or milk. Mix and leave on your face for 30 minutes.”

2. Sugar scrubs. Make a sugar scrub for your lips or skin with only two ingredients! All you need is equal parts sugar and olive oil. Other optional ingredients are vanilla, cinnamon, vitamin E, or any scented essential oil. You can grab some sugar packets almost anywhere and some olive oil from the salad bar.

3. Give yourselves mani/pedis. Most of us only have a couple colors of nail polish, but if everyone brings their own, you can all swap. Going to the salon is nice, but staying in with your friends and doing each other’s nails is way more fun.

4. While pampering yourselves, you can relax, drink tea, and put on a movie that everyone loves and never gets old. Disney movies, romantic comedies, or classics like the The Breakfast Club.

5. Put off your homework. What better way to treat yo’ self than by dedicating a little more time to yourself? Just make sure to do it later.


The Gift

1. A bunch of little things instead of one big thing. People will always appreciate cute stuff they can actually use, like bookmarks, stationery, lotions, postcards, and lipstick.

2. One really clever or unique gift. One of my best friends is vegan, so I gave her a vegan birthday cake flavored cookie and I adopted a narwhal in her name from WWF. I gave another friend of mine a box of tea for his re-birthday party, since he was celebrating finally getting on “T”, aka Testosterone.

3. A big card for everyone to sign. My favorite thing to do on my friends’ birthdays is to use a pretty piece of scrapbook paper and have everyone sign it and write a note. All the messages on one page are always a nice visual to show our friend how much they are loved.

There are lots of ways to make a birthday special! While you might be thinking “ain’t nobody got time for that,” remember that birthdays and great people are worth celebrating, and these ideas are quick, easy, and affordable. That being said, as long as you’re in the company of the friends and loved ones around you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful birthday. Cheers to another great year of life!


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