Ah, baby showers. You either love them or hate them, right?

(Before I had babies, I truly hated them. NOW I love them. Funny how that works!)

Regardless of how you feel about them, if you’re asked to throw a shower for someone, the cost can add up quickly. But, it IS possible to throw a cheap baby shower (that doesn’t suck). Plus, if you don’t spend a ton on the shower, you can splurge on an awesome unique baby shower gift, and she will love that way longer than a shower!

I’m a firm believer in a baby being celebrated regardless of available money—no fortune required. I’ve thrown a shower or two in my time and learned a lot of tips and tricks, so want to pass them on to you! Here’s how to throw a baby shower on a budget.

I personally think that the shower can COUNT as your baby gift, but if you want to get something else as well, here’s my list of the best baby gifts (that she’ll actually want and use)

(As I have a rather large assortment of tips and tricks to share with you, I’ve done my best to categorize them into sections. So, if a particular section doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip it and move on.)

Related: Baby shower gifts for mom

How to Throw a Baby Shower on a Budget From the Beginning

Here are some handy tips you can use to save money from the very beginning. A baby shower can quickly become on the expensive side but there are many ways you can save cash before anyone even walks in the door.

How do you throw a baby shower on a budget? Think of these things before anything else!

  • Consider a smaller shower. Unless your friend has specifically expressed she wants her circle of friends from elementary school she hasn’t spoken to in years to be at the shower…don’t invite them. Keep the shower intimate and save money on a baby shower. (This was big for me – I was SUPER overwhelmed when I had my baby and the idea of a big crowd made me shudder. New momma might feel the same way!)
  • Cut overlapping shower guests. Again, try to keep your invite list small. If co-workers are already throwing the mama-to-be a work shower, they don’t need to come to this shower as well unless they are very close friends. Check with momma or her close friends to see who you can pass on inviting.
  • Use digital invitations. Save about $50-100 by doing your invitations online through something like Evite or Paperless Post (OR even a Facebook invite – if all the guests have Facebook). These websites have a lot of free options along with some choices that have a small fee if you want something more personalized.  
  • Host at a home. Host your shower at your own home or family/friends home. You can have just as much fun and save hundreds of dollars vs renting out a room at a restaurant. Or secure any other free venue like at a public park particularly if the weather is likely to be nice. If you belong to a Church, often you can use a room there for free or very cheap! 
  • Invite just the ladies. While co-ed showers are becoming more popular, you could consider keeping it more traditional and cutting the guest list in half. Consider having a  girls night in pampering party. This means that the men and children would stay at home and this will greatly decrease the price for food and favors.
  • Choose the time of day wisely. If you throw a shower mid-morning or in the afternoon, guests will not expect an entire meal and you can instead simply serve snacks or light appetizers.
  • Invite co-hosts. Divvying up the responsibility and the costs with a group is definitely how to throw a baby shower on a budget the easy way–immediately!
  • Let people who offer to help, help. Lastly, there are always going to be kind-hearted people who offer to help you. Take them up on it! Ask them to bring napkins or chip in to the food fund, or even handle the invitee list.

How to Save Money on Baby Shower Food

Believe it or not, food can be one of the most expensive elements of any party–especially a baby shower! Here are some of my favorite ways to cut costs down with food:

  • Consider making it a dry shower. As in, no alcohol. Not only is alcohol expensive, but it is rather unfair for everyone to enjoy beers while the mom-to-be watches from the sideline. (Even if baby is already born, mom might not want to drink if she’s nursing.)
  • Make it a potluck. Food is rather less pricey if everyone brings something to share. If this feels really odd to you to even ask, make a fun spin on it and call it a “cravings table”–invite everyone to bring something that was their biggest craving during their own pregnancy and make a game of it where the mom-to-be has to guess who brought what!
  • Try a build-your-own bar. The possibilities are truly endless! Build your own tacos, build your own ice cream sundaes, build your own fruit skewers, etc. The best part is that not only does it limit your prep work but it will also help lower the costs too.
  • Cater in something inexpensive. How fun would a shower be with fast food the mom-to-be was craving? Mini burger sliders, tacos and chicken nuggets can be purchased inexpensively and be fun memory for the group.
  • Shop at warehouse stores. BJs, Sam’s Club and Costco all have great deals on party food that are significantly less expensive than the ones in regular grocery stores. Shop and stock up!

Cheap Baby Shower Decorations

Decor is something that can be done very affordablely with a little creativity and sweat equity. Here is how to throw a baby shower on a budget and make it extra festive with decorations!

  • Throw the shower somewhere decor is not needed. A public park or a pretty garden is full of pretty florals thanks to mother nature! You can keep decorations simple here and let nature shine by itself.
  • Forage for decor outdoors. Even if you are throwing a party indoors, you can bring the outdoors in. Go for a walk and collect wildflowers or pretty greenery from bushes and display them on tables in glassware or mason jars you already own. Mismatched looks are in, so feel free to change it up!
  • Decorate with wrapping paper. There are such pretty patterns out there now! You can buy some on-theme rolls from a party supply store and use the rolls as table runners or hang them in sheets on the wall. Easy and cute!
  • Make DIY tissue paper balls or garlands. Tissue paper is very affordable and you can make some really cool things out of it with nothing more than a hot glue gun and scissors.
  • Make your displays the guest favors. You can do a 2-for-1 and let your guests take home any centerpieces you have made either of mini succulents or grocery store blooms.

Related: Dollar Store Baby Shower Ideas

How to Throw a Baby Shower on a Budget With Inexpensive Favors

First of all…do NOT feel pressured to give favors!

About half the showers I’ve been to have them and half don’t. And it’s never made me enjoy a shower any less. However, if you feel strongly that you want to throw a baby shower with party favors, here are some cheap favor ideas.

  • Ready to pop popcorn bar. Make a DIY popcorn bar station with kettle corn and buttered popcorn and tons of add-ins like peanut butter, nuts, chocolate, etc. Make cute labels that say “ready to pop!” with a note thanking them for coming and guests can build their own snacks to take home with them.
  • Do a lip scrub bar. If you are doing a party with ladies who are pampering a bit, make several varieties of easy DIY lip scrub with sugar and coconut oil, and provide containers for guests to take some home in.
  • Nail polish to go. Another fun idea is to have different kinds of nail polish (you can even do shades of blue for boy and pink for girl if you’d like) and let guests choose a color to take home.
  • Mini hand sanitizer bottles. Not only is this a super practical gift, but it gently reminds your guests they will need to sanitize before holding the baby! 🙂

Remember, at the end of the day, the point of a baby shower is to shower your friend with love and share the joy and excitement about the little one on the way. Money isn’t a requirement, but your love and support are priceless. Have fun!

Related: 7 Rules for Visiting a New Mom
Related: Gifts for a New Mom From a New Dad

how to throw a baby shower on a budget