27 Ideas for Hosting A Unique Baby Shower On A Budget

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How To Plan A Baby Shower On The Cheap

Throwing a baby shower can be expensive. Between the food, decorations, and party favors, the cost can quickly add up. 

If you’re on a tight budget, it can feel like throwing a baby shower is out of reach. You don’t want to host a cheap-looking party or skimp on the memories.

We have researched the latest affordable party planning tips that will help you plan an amazing baby shower without spending a fortune. Our easy tips include ideas for food, decorations, and party favors that will fit any budget. 

Plus, we have free printables and templates that you can use to plan a baby shower on a budget and still have fun, create memories and feel excited about it without spending hundreds.

How to create a budget for a baby shower

Credit: Tenor

1. Set a budget for the baby shower 

2. Decide on what type of baby shower you want to have 

3. Send invitations and set a RSVP date 

4. Choose a location for the baby shower 

5. Plan the food and drinks for the baby shower 

6. Select decorations and party favors for the baby shower 

7. Purchase any items you may need for the baby shower

How Much Does A Baby Shower Cost?

A baby shower is a party for the parents to be, usually after the baby has been born. The people at the party give gifts and money to help pay for things like food and diapers. A party would cost about $250 and it could be cheaper or more expensive depending on what you want to do.

Depending on a few variables; location, number of guests, and meal it can range anywhere from $100 – $1,000 dollars. That is the average baby shower budget.

The first thing to consider when planning a baby shower is the guest list. You do not want to go overboard on food, but you should make sure that everyone invited has a plate with some food on it. 

The price of each plate will depend on how many hours the party lasts. If people are drinking, they will likely eat more so you may want to increase the number of plates you make. 

Another way to save is by having a potluck. If it is an affordable, home-style meal (i.e., not overdoing it on appetizers or desserts), then people are sure to bring something to share, increasing your total quantity without drastically increasing your cost.

In this article, we are going to try and keep it well below $250. Okay?

Here is 41 tips for planning a baby shower on a budget. 

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Who Should Pay For A Baby Shower?

Traditionally the hostess would pay for the baby shower. However it seems to be more common for families to come together and pitch in to alleviate the costs of a party for parents to be.

Back to basics #5 Tips

Tip #1. Create a budget

Here is how I created my budget for a $250 baby shower

You want to name your budget before you even begin the planning process. Want to spend only $250, follow the recipe below to budget for a baby shower with what you have.

  • Location: 10% of budget
  • Food Cost: 45% of budget
  • Decor / Games: 15%
  • Rentals: 10-15%
  • Invites: 0%
  • Cake / Desserts: 10%

For me the average cost of baby shower is $250 breakdown looked like this:

  • Location: 0% (I did it at my moms house)
  • Food: $110 (for about 30 people)
  • Decor / Games: $50
  • Rentals: $58 (most of it was donated by friends and family)
  • Invitations: $0 (you’ll see how I did this below)
  • Cake / Desserts: $32

That was my budget and I stuck to it, in 2017 I had a large baby shower and the food didn’t run out. Let me tell you exactly what I did.

Tip #2. Invite Close Friends Only

Credit: Punkee

Although each baby shower is distinct, most women believe that 15 to 30 ladies is the ideal number for a regular baby shower, or around 30-40 people for a coed. The size of the family, the quantity of friends, and even work colleagues play a role in these figures.

It is difficult to provide food for more than 20 people in a home or even a lawn of an average-sized house during baby showers, which are generally hosted at private residences. 

A venue may be booked for larger gatherings. Of course, there are mamas who want everyone to attend and congratulate them, and it is feasible to hold a big baby

Tip #3. Use online invitations instead of paper invitations

Another reason for having a smaller group of trusted friends is because they are trusted. Less judgemental. You are not trying to impress anybody. 

Having that mindset going in is hugely important.

I spent a total of ZERO dollars on my baby shower invitations and they were beautiful.

We are going to spend $0.00 on invitations for your baby shower too.

  1. First Go To CANVA.com
  2. Create a FREE account
  3. Do not use the paid version (all you need is the free one)
  4. Find Invitations in the search bar
  5. Create to your liking
  6. Download to your phone
  7. Send as Evites in texts, Facebook, Email

Tip #4. Skip the DJ; Use Pandora/Spotify/YouTube

As long as you use a free music system you can have a great party during the times that people are eating, opening gifts, or in the background while you play games. 

This is not a wedding, go easy.

Tip #5. Create A Baby Shower Registry (but not a cash Registry…)

Don’t ask for money. Credit: Wiffle

Creating a baby registry goes hand in hand with having a baby shower. You have to make sure you make a baby shower registry that your family and friends will buy from. 

You also want to make sure you can add a variety of items from different vendors. By making an Amazon Baby Registry you can easily do that! 

It’s also my favorite because it takes 3 easy steps to get a Welcome Baby Box. (which is a $35 value) that Amazon sends to its expecting mom!

You can read more about it here: 6 Ways to Have an Awesome Baby Registry.

6 Tips to Make Something Ordinary Extraordinary

Tip #1. Share meaningful stories or moments 

At many showers, this is just an excuse to dress up and drink. We’ve all been to those showers where the mom-to-be is pampered for an hour and then we eat some cake and go home. 

There’s nothing wrong with doing it this way, but you could make your guests feel like they’re a part of the celebration if you had more activities during or after.

For example,  watching a baby DVD (you could always include it as party of the baby shower decorations), having a picture slideshow, or reading letters to the mom about their experiences with labor and delivery. Simply adding more activities is bound to make your guests feel like they’re not just sitting around eating cake.

Tip #2. Play games at the baby shower

Games are a great way for having a good time. Credit: Favim

Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition? Games are one of the most popular activities for showers, whether it’s before or after the mom-to-be opens presents. People have been playing all kinds of games since there have been people!

Read on to read more specific tips on this.

Tip #3. Pick An Interesting Baby Shower Theme

Picking a theme for a baby shower is important because it can help to keep the planning process organized and on track. It can also help to save money by providing a focal point for the decorations, food, and games. 

Additionally, it can help to inspire the shopping process because you will already have an idea in mind of what sort of supplies are needed.

Some popular baby shower themes include boy-themed showers, girl-themed showers, twins or multiple theme showers, and last but not least, non-gender-specific themes that are often more creative.

Tip #4. Host A Baby Shower In A Fun Location

Picking a creative venue can help you save money on your baby shower. 

For example, instead of having the party at a restaurant or hotel, consider hosting it at someone’s home or in a park. Hosting a shower in a bowling alley or other non-traditional place could add some excitement for guests who are tired of being cooped up inside all day.

You can also save money by planning the party around a theme. For example, you could have a beach-themed baby shower or a jungle-themed baby shower.

Depending on your area a lot of beautiful state parks will let you have parties without needing a permit or without having to put a deposit down.

If you have the baby shower at home you can save again on things like: seating, tables, decorations. Because you can use what you already have at home for these things. 

Just doing this alone will help you avoid baby shower venues costs that can range anywhere from $500-$5K.

Tip #5. Consider A Couples Shower

Not everyone is on board with coed baby showers, but couples showers are becoming more popular. An added bonus of a couples shower is that you can have your friends each bring one couple so it won’t cost as much as inviting the same people to two different parties.

Tip #6. Consider A Harry Potter Themed Baby Shower

When it comes to baby shower themes, there are no limits! 

If you and the dad-to-be or mom-to-be love Harry Potter, hosting a themed party can be a ton of fun for your guests. Even if the expectant parents don’t like Harry Potter, a themed shower can be used as an excuse to dress up and have some fun.

These days SuperHero movies are all the rage. So, consider a superhero theme for you baby boys or girls can also be fun!

5 Tips on baby shower food and drinks

Tip #1. Have The Baby Shower As A Brunch. 

This way you serve small snack size foods that can be breakfast-lunch alike. By avoiding the dinner hour or the late party you can save hundreds just on the food alone. 

Having brunch as a baby shower can save you hundreds instead of serving dinner or lunch.

Brunch Ideas For Baby Shower

  • Bagel Buffet – go and buy different kinds of bagels – have two/three different cream cheese toppings and a little toaster oven. You can also serve coffee and juice with.
  • Fruit Bar – cut up different fruits, place in decorative bowls – self serve 
  • Build Your Own Croissant – buy a few dozen croissants, cheese, meats and have your guest make their own

Tip #2. Have The Baby Shower On A Time Schedule. 

This will allow you to serve food from this time to that time. Then you start your party games, gift opening session and so on and so forth. By doing this you give your guest a time limit to get to your location and eat. This way you do not have an open ended serving type shower. 

Time Schedule For A Baby Shower

  • Baby Shower Starts At 3
  • From 3-5 the food is available
  • From 5:30 – 6:45 Games
  • From 6:45-7:30 Opening Gifts
  • Time 7:30-8 Cake / Desserts
  • Clean Up

A Five Hour Time Block can be done, and it will help your guest know what to expect. Keep you on track, and only have food available for a short time.

Tip #3: Make It A Snack Size Occasion

If you provide things like pinwheels, cheese and crackers, ham and cucumber sandwiches, pigs in a blanket, nachos, salsa and chips.

Here is a list of 35 cheap appetizers to serve at your baby shower

Snack Ideas For Baby Shower

  • Costco Pin Wheels
  • Veggies And Dip
  • Meatballs On A Stick
  • Chocolate Dipped Rice Crispies
  • Fruit Bowls
  • Chips And Dip
  • Salsas And Tortilla Chips
  • Build Your Own Sandwiches

Tip #4: Do It PotLuck Style.

Ask guest to bring their favorite dish. Or ask as few people to bring something you love. This way more people feel involved and like they are part of this special event.

To avoid guests bringing the same items make sure you plan ahead of time and put together a list of items you’d like people to bring.

PotLuck Baby Shower Ideas

  • Warm Items: lasagna, casseroles, meaty dishes
  • Cold Salads: fruit salads, macaroni salad, potato salad
  • Baked Foods: cookies, pies, pigs in a blanket

What does your family do best? Ask them to bring those items.

If you are asking your family – do this a month in advance, create a group chat, get people involved and see what they can bring. More than likely they will over bring things and it will work out for you and baby.

Tip #5: Skip the Alcohol or BYOB. 

Bring your own booze if your friends can’t live without it. Credit:Tenor

You can ask your guest if they would like to bring a bottle of their favorite drink but you are having a no alcohol shower. It’s been done! It is ok to disappoint some of your friends and family. 

Say it with me “we do not need the expense of alcohol at the baby shower”

In the meantime don’t forget to grab your copy of the Financially Prepared For Baby Planner and be prepared and relaxed as you welcome the baby home.

3 Tips on how decorate like a pro on budget

Before you start wondering how you’re going to make your baby shower look fantastic check these places out:

  • Dollar Tree
  • The 99 Cent Store
  • Dollar Deals
  • Family Dollar
  • Target (the dollar section, the sale racks)
  • Walmart
  • Facebook Market
  • Offer Up (app)
  • Let Go (app)

The following tips will be an expansion based on the following 3 principles

  • Rule #1 Research – good ideas beat good budget: go on the large visual search engine and find things you like for your baby shower
  • Rule #2 DIY – After finding what you like on pinterest learn how to make it with the items you can purchase for cheap.
  • Rule #3 Use What You Have – flowers, candles, family pictures, table cloths, rugs. You’d be surprised how much items you can use that no one will realize it’s already from your home.

I used family pictures to decorate the tables along with small vases and flowers that my cousin picked for us. It was simple and looked elegant and costs us almost nothing.

When it comes to decorating a baby shower on a budget, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

Tip #1. Remember your budget.

It’s very easy to think that you are creating another great event like your wedding. This is not. Chill out.

Tip #2. Try to stick with a theme that you can use existing decor for. 

This may be something like Easter bunnies, airplanes, or sailboats

Tip #3 get creative with how you use your decorations. 

For example, hang streamers from the ceiling or put balloons in the corners of the room

If you are like me who doesn’t want to be a burden to others, you need to hear this.

Your best friends are dying to find ways to help you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends or family members. They may be happy to contribute some of their time or resources to help make your baby shower look great!

It’s actually a great way for you to hang out with your friends. 

3 Tips on Baby Shower Rentals

Among the biggest line items on your party budget is likely to be renting furniture and accessories. While some rentals may seem essential, such as chairs for guests or a tent for the outdoor shower, there are ways to bring these pieces into your own home.

Couches and dining tables can be rearranged in living rooms through creative staging of furniture, or slid together in a corner to create the necessary seating. In addition, there are inexpensive alternatives for outdoor dining tables and chairs that can be made available on site with your family’s own decorations added if you have them.

If you are having a lot of guest and your regular table at home can’t suffice, here are a few tips that you can use to save the most out of rental fees.

Tip #1 Book ahead of time

Make sure you get the day you want.  This is especially important for weekends – sometimes you can get in without a reservation, but if you wait to do it the day-of, the website says there’s nothing available.

Tip #2 Ask vendors if they have special birthday deals.

Normally a vendor will jack up the prices on things like an anniversary or wedding but if you let them know it’s a baby shower or birthday party they might have a coupon or special discount.

Tip #3 Ask family members 

If you know your cousin has two fold-able tables and your best friend has ten put away chairs. Ask them to bring them to the baby shower. The less items you have to rent the cheaper it will be for you.

I was able to reduce this cost significantly because almost everyone I knew had at least one picnic table that they brought and we covered it with beautiful tablecloths and used them.

You don’t have to ask just one person, let family and friends feel involved with this and ask for the help. It will save you money that you will need when the baby arrives.

10 Tips on Entertainment / Games

Baby shower games are some of my favorite things that happen at these affairs. I like it so much that I went on to research the best ideas and created a list of 87 Hilariously (affordable) baby shower games.

Let’s get started with 10 tips on entertainment for baby showers.

Tip #1. Enlist the help of your guests to create the games

Depending on the type of shower you’re throwing, you may have time constraints or need to limit how much work you do yourself. Ask your bridesmaids who’s good at drawing, ask your friends who’s good with crafts, or even ask the guests themselves if you want to play a game that requires craftiness.

Tip #2. Use food and floral decorations as prizes

Give away flowers in conjunction with the games and use the simple elegance of fresh blooms in various shades of pink for example for an especially classy baby shower — you’ll be remembered for the gorgeous flower arrangements.

Every winner from a game should be given a prize, don’t worry if you don’t have it in the budget to get everyone new items. Here is what you can do instead:

  • Give out small plants you have at home
  • New lotions or perfumes you haven’t used
  • A purse you never used
  • A towel set that is just sitting in the extra storage room
  • New picture frames you never used
  • The small speaker you have stored away
  • Look around for items that you can give away and put them together in little bags or a bucket to have the winners choose the prize they want

Tip #3. Don’t use baby shower games for too long

If you’re having a casual or intimate gathering, then play games that don’t run on too long. Some of my friends love to play “Would You Rather” just because they’re fun little questions, but it gets really long when you get into the nitty gritty (do this instead of that, let’s say no thank you to our own parents, etc.). You want everyone having fun throughout the shower, not just during the game.

Tip #4. Try hands-on games

When in doubt, go with games where your guests get up and move around. Painting nails, playing with play-doh or clay are great options. You can also play baby bingo which I included in my list of 87 games if you really want to make it competitive.

Tip #5. Save cold trivia for later

I love baby shower trivia games, but save them for the very end of the party when people are good and tipsy. You don’t want your question-asker to be the buzz kill that everyone wants to avoid, so put trivia last on the list.

Tip #6. Keep baby shower games for adults

Sure it’s called a baby shower, but this is also an adult party and sometimes some of these questions are inappropriate (ex: How many people did your husband sleep with before you met?). Keep it classy and save the baby-related questions for later (i.e., trivia).

Tip #7. Ask the parents-to-be for some help

Since they’re responsible for all these games, ask them what their favorite game is or why they chose to play that game at their own shower. If they have kids already, ask for their favorite game or something that was really memorable to them.

Tip #8. Play games where the prizes are edible

I love baby shower games where you can eat your prize! Just make sure you get enough so everyone has one. For example, play a candy corn counting game with mini bags of candy corn (or any individual candy of your choosing, like Hershey’s kisses) and the winner gets the whole bag.

Tip #9. Make baby shower games extra special

If you’re playing “Would You Rather” with questions like “Would you rather give up dating forever or shaving your head?” then be sure to play the good-natured game and make it fun for everyone. If you’re planning on doing baby shower games like this, then I highly recommend you take a look at the baby shower games in my list.

Tip #10. Keep an eye out for giveaways!

A simple way to ensure there’s enough prizes is to offer free giveaway items to the winner of each game, just make sure you have enough for everyone to enjoy. If you’re going to hand out something small like candy or a mini bag of chips, then get a little bag and put them in there so it saves space on your gift table/gift pile at home.

If you have any other questions about entertainment for your baby shower, please let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help you out.

Extra things to ask for (shamelessly)

If you have a few expenses that you didn’t see coming and you can’t afford to get items you really really want to have in your baby shower. Consider asking friends and family.

Now is the time to recruit them and ask what they can help you with. Examples of this include:

  • Friend with a high quality camera: ask if they want to be designated photographer
  • Cousin who bakes: ask them to make the cake or cupcakes
  • Bestie who loves to paint: ask them to DIY some centerpieces

Ask them – you’ll be surprised at how helpful your friends and family want to be and how involved they want to be in baby showers.

Note that you should never take anything for granted. And, always to be ready to pay or give up something extra.

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy is a time of great expectation, tension and joy. The most important things in this period of a woman’s life are her family members and friends. The atmosphere of a baby shower is also fraught with the emotions experienced by the future mother and her relatives.

Hosting a baby shower on a budget can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. By enlisting the help of friends and family, you can get many of the things you need without spending too much money. And when it comes to favors and gifts, there are plenty of affordable options available. 

So don’t stress – just enjoy this special time with your loved ones!


Q1: is baby shower usually include a gender reveal?

Answer: No, not usually.

Q2: What are the top three games played at traditional baby showers?

Answer: 1) pass the diaper 2) guess how heavy is the baby 3) what will mommy to be eat for breakfast.

Q3: Is it ok to ask guests not to bring presents?

Answer: No, it’s not a good idea.

Q4: What kind of food should be served at a baby shower?

Answer: Finger foods and drinks.

how to have a baby shower on a budget
everything i did to save big on my baby shower - i only spent $250 on the whole thing

Baby Shower On A Tight Budget

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Rosaura is the mom blogger who helps first time pregnant and postpartum moms find the solutions to their everyday problems. From first finding out you're pregnant to giving birth and baby care, she has you covered.