17 Ideas for Cheap Baby Showers

Babies are expensive, so the baby shower was invented with one goal in mind: supply the parents-to-be with most of the stuff they’ll need to welcome their new arrival into the world so that they don’t have to break their budget. Yes, it’s also a day to celebrate the mom entering the new phase of her life, but really, it’s about the gifts. Use these ideas for cheap baby showers to keep the costs down and make it fun for everyone while you can check off something on your list of things to do in planning for this baby shower.

Preparations for Cheap Baby Showers

Preparations for Cheap Baby Showers

1. Skip the Theme

There are so many baby shower themes to choose from, but the baby is the theme. Simply hang a few streamers in appropriate pastel colors, and you’re good to go. There’s no need to hang diapers and bibs all over the place or come up with a new color scheme for the baby shower. In this case, less is more.

2. Reuse Decorations

If you happen to have some decorations saved from another shower, reuse them! Or pull out some strings of Christmas lights and hang them around the party room – they spice up any occasion. You can also use baby items as decorations, either yours or from friends. Think kid books, baby bath lotions, stuffed animals, etc. These small things can help set the tone and don’t have to be overpowering to be effective. 

3. Choose a Free Location

A friend or relative’s house is free and allows you to cook the food yourself. If you don’t have access to a home, then consider a public park as one of your venue ideas. Just arrive a few hours early to stake out a couple of tables. Choosing a spot close to parking would be nice, as some of the gifts might be bulky, difficult to carry. Make sure to check park websites just in case you need permission or permits.

4. Recruit a Co-Host

A friend or a relative can host the shower. If you’re hosting a baby shower, consider recruiting another friend or relative to help share the costs and divide the labor.

5. Keep the Guest List Short

A baby shower doesn’t need to be huge. Although there are baby showers with 20 – 40 people, having just ten names on your invite list is good enough. Wedding showers do often hold up to 50 people – but baby showers are their own thing.

6. Use Free Printable Invitations

There are many available online. You can personalize your invitations online and print them on nice linen paper or card stock. Some of the baby shower designs are appropriate for Baptisms as well.

7. Seek Help with Preparing the Food

Food is generally the most expensive part of the celebration. Often, only the main dish and cake need to be purchased while family members or friends can help make all side dishes. With others bringing their own homemade dishes, the food will probably be even better than a catered event.

Cheap Baby Showers: Menus

Cheap Baby Showers: Menus

8. Serve a Simple Buffet

When planning the baby shower menu, keep in mind the long, long list of foods that the mom-to-be probably isn’t allowed to eat. That includes most soft cheeses, uncooked fish, high-mercury fish, raw eggs, and raw egg products. Sticking with the basics like chicken, beef, pasta, and salads are excellent. The ingredient list may seem simple, but the list of possible recipes is long and varied.

The cake is often the dessert of choice, but cupcakes are also fun (and easy to make yourself). It’s not necessary to serve a sit-down meal. Most showers seem to be buffet affairs where people can mingle. Unless you have a small group and everyone can fit around a table, just serve all the food together with plates and utensils, so people can pick what they want without having to sit down.

9. Eat off Plates

I know it sounds crazy, but consider using your real plates instead of disposable plates. If you have a set of nice dishes, pull those out. If the thought of doing dishes really turns you off, consider budget paper plates. No need to go after the baby shower theme – just pick the cheap ones!

10. Bake the Cake!

Baking a cake doesn’t have to be complicated – there are multiple easy and relatively quick recipes online (also, check out here). For simple yet elegant, you can also make cupcakes (check them out here). Adding a themed frosting to either – an appropriate color(gender revealed yet?), spelling something out, or just drawing will make the bakery much more special!

11. Limit the Beverage Options

Some baby showers include alcohol, and others don’t. It depends on your crowd and the mom-to-be. Ask her whether she’ll be offended if other people drink. For a women-only shower, serve wine or champagne punch at the most. You may also need beer for a co-ed baby shower. This is not the time for mixed cocktails.

Cheap Baby Showers: Games

Cheap Baby Showers: Games

12. Time-Capsule

One great activity you can plan is to create a time capsule for the baby. Have each guest bring an object currently available, such as a cd, magazine article, etc. Spend time decorating a bin or box to put everything in, with the idea that the baby will open the time capsule on his or her 18th birthday to see what was “in vogue” when they were born. With the guests bringing little things to include, this is a great low-cost activity to do. You’ll only need to buy the decorating materials for the capsule.

13. Or, Skip the Baby Shower Games

Baby shower games are often boring and unnecessary. If everyone knows each other, let people talk, eat, and watch the presents open. Everything else is just silly filler. A baby shower does not have to resemble a typical party, as its purpose is to help the mom(and dad)-to-be for the future. There will be enough fun without games.

Cheap Baby Showers: Favors

Cheap Baby Showers: Favors

14. Guest Gifts

It’s nice to give small gifts as favors. These don’t have to break the budget at all. Consider getting them at the dollar store. You can even skip the gift bags and simply use the tissue paper and some old string or ribbon from your home. Dollar stores typically have some candles, bath products, picture frames, and other simple accessories that could serve as your baby shower favors.

15. Have Your Favors Serve as Centerpieces

Small plants with the base covered with baby showers or religious wrapping paper can serve as both the favors and centerpieces. Cookie bouquets are popular; however, you can also make a great centerpiece/favor combo by taking any sweet treats on a stick and putting them in a vase. Anything cheap or straightforward can be made attractive and elegant, with just a bit of creativity.

16. Check the Target Dollar Bins for Favors for Children and Teens

Speaking of fun favor items, you can find many of them at Target. Check out the dollar bin for notepads, puzzles, magnets, stuffed animals, coloring books, pens, pencils, character socks, containers, puppets, stickers, and more. Be sure to visit Target a week or two after a major holiday. Many items are on sale for 75% off so that you can walk away with favors for 25 cents.

17. Baby Gifts on a Budget

A note for the guests: If you’d like to give the mother-to-be something beyond the baby shower, which is a present in and of itself, consider inexpensive options. A gift basket of baby goodies from the dollar store, diapers, some baby clothes, or old toys- anything the future baby will use or play with!


If you are not trying to break the bank, affordable baby showers are the way to go. They may not be the easiest to plan, but if you follow our helpful guide, your big day will be a breeze! We hope that these baby shower ideas work out for you!

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