The Absolute Best 40th birthday party ideas on a budget

Regardless of whose birthday it is, yours or your kids or your spouse’s, having a birthday party can be quite tough when you are on a budget. The idea behind having a birthday party is to have an event that will be memorable and feel unique to the birthday person. An awesome party requires excellent planning, great gifts and significant time which can be challenging especially if you have a budget to stick to.

Why 40th Birthday Is Important

A person’s 40th birthday is definitely one worth commemoration because it signifies reaching a very important milestone in life. When you want to make a day memorable for your loved ones, it is better to give memories over gifts, and lasting memories are better created with loved ones. Before you take a step and make the whole birthday an extravaganza, sit down and consider all the great ideas for a birthday party. Throwing such a party requires a lot of planning to accommodate the food and beverages, venue, décor and gifts all on a budget.

How Much To Spend On A 40th Birthday Party

Well, that greatly depends on what party scenario you are going to go for, and how many guests are invited. On average, is you decide to have your party at home, the average cost per guest will be around 15$.

Here are some tips on how you can cut your party costs:

  • Arrange your party at home or at a local park’s picnic area 
  • Go for the party theme that requires the least decoration and props
  • Provide cutlery, snacks and refreshments, and ask your guests to bring the rest of the food and alcohol
  • Have a burger or hot dog barbeque, those tend to be cheap

Birthday Party Ideas On A Budget

Throw-back party

A 40-year-old has seen a lot of fashions in his or her lifetime. A throw-back party can be an amazing idea for such an occasion with a fashion theme to celebrate and reminisce on all the fashion trends over the years. If that is too much, you can have a throw-back party that celebrates the fashions of the year of birth of the birthday boy or girl.

Having a fashion theme for your guests is a good and personal way to celebrate a 40th birthday party, and it doesn’t have to cause any financial strain at all. You can invite the friends of the birthday boy or girl and have the attendees dress in their best retro gear, as long as it is in line with the theme of the party.

If you are too strict on a budget, you can request the attendees to bring along refreshments or snacks if they can, and all you are left to provide is cutlery and entertainment. You can play the music from the birth year during the party to make it more fun and for the guests to reminisce about the music and dance the night away to the sounds of the past years.

Retro style for 40th birthday party

Having a retro theme for a 40th birthday party is definitely a unique and simple idea, especially when you are working on a budget. The retro theme can be of the decade the honouree went to high school, or the decade the honouree was born. The theme, for example, can be an 80’s or 90’s theme and you can make it classier by asking the attendees to dress up in fashions from the chosen decade.

For entertainment purposes, you can use a Pandora station to play the music that was most popular in that decade and let the guests dance to it as they commemorate their past years. Having some trivia questions is also a good way to socialize and pass the time during the party and to engage the guests with each other and with the honouree. The trivia questions can be to challenge who remembers most from the specific decade theme of the party and have simple rewards for the winner as a way of motivation.

Boardgame party

Board games are gaining a lot of popularity, especially with adults, which makes a board game party a good idea for a 40th birthday party. A board-game-themed party is a perfect way to celebrate 40 years of life for your friend or spouse. This idea is ideal, especially when you are working on a very tight budget because all you have to do as the host is provide a venue for the party and a few snacks for refreshment.

After you have taken care of the venue and ensured things are set, ask your guests kindly to bring along their favorite board games and any refreshments they have to make the party fun. You can separate the games and arrange them on different tables depending on how many people are at the party and divide them into teams for easier coordination. You can have the guests take turns to play the games or have a tournament for all of them to compete in.

Giving 40 party theme

A 40th birthday is a great milestone, and it should be commemorated with long-lasting and special memories. Having a “giving 40” theme for the party is a good idea to celebrate this important day. For this theme, you can ask the guests to bring the birthday boy’s or girl’s “age” in something as a gift.

The guests can decide what to bring to the party as long as it is in the 4o’s theme such as 40 cookies for refreshments, 40-dollar bills, 40 jars of beverage, and so on. The gifts are not limited, and the guests should be allowed to explore and match their age in creativity to make the party interesting and the theme-appropriate. The most fun will be in the guests striving to out-do each other on the gits, and as they compete to bring the best-themed gift for the party, it becomes a fun experience for all attendees.

Surprise party

A surprise party is ideal for any occasion, and a 40th birthday is no exception. A 40th birthday is a landmark event that should be celebrated with style and awe, which makes a surprise party ideal for a 40th birthday celebration.

As you are working on a budget, it is advisable to hold the party in a restaurant to minimize the expenses on your part. This helps cut on the budget because you provide only appetizers or simply a round of drinks to the guests and let them be responsible for their meals and extra rounds of drinks.

The host, who is you, is also responsible for the meal of the birthday boy or girl, but any of the guests can decide to cater for that as a birthday gift, which lessens the expenses.

A day of giving theme

Another great way to celebrate a 40th birthday party is to make the day a day of giving to the birthday honouree. If the celebration if for your spouse, you can make a coupon book of loving things, as long as they are personal, they will serve the purpose. You can make a coupon book that is inclusive of back and foot massages, or you can watch a favorite movie or listen to favorite music together. The celebration doesn’t have to be an extravagant one, as long as it is a personal and thoughtful one to make the honouree feel happy, relaxed and appreciated.

You can also arrange for his workmates to help out by simply singing happy birthday to him in the office, to make him feel the sweet remembrances of love every hour of the day. You can write down 40 things you love about your spouse or pick out 40 photos of the best memories your spouse has had and make a collage out of them. The idea is to make the day as special and as personal as possible to the honouree, and this idea is perfect and very pocket-friendly.

Potluck theme

A potluck lunch or dinner is a great way to celebrate the 40th birthday for your loved one. As the host, you can be responsible for supplying the paper products and the refreshments and let the party attendees supply the rest of the party requirements, which makes it way less pricey for you.

You can have one of the attendees bring along a birthday cake and have a balloon release for loved ones who have passed away, especially of the same age group as the birthday boy or girl. Having a photo booth is also a simple and great way to add to the potluck theme of the party. You can add a few crazy and fun props for the guests to wear during the party and the party will definitely be a memorable one.

Celebration of life theme

A 40th birthday party does not necessarily have to be a reminder that the honouree is getting old. It can be a way to celebrate the life and milestones that the birthday boy or girl has accomplished over the years. A celebration of life theme is a perfect idea for such an occasion and a very pocket-friendly one too. Such a party can be a reminder of the accomplishments and a way to show the honouree how many people he or she has touched over the years. For this theme, you can invite people from the “past life” of the honouree, people he was friends with even if they are in different places at the moment.

You can also invite the honouree’s childhood friends and other friends who were close in the past. This celebration can be done in an outdoor pavilion at a social center, especially if you are anticipating full attendance at the party. Most of your invites will probably come along with their kids or grandkids, and an outdoor event will be perfect for the children to play around and also have their fun.

As the party is likely to be too big to feed on a budget, you can have build-your-own sandwiches that come in varieties of party trays of cold cuts, fruit, veggies, cheese and also pre-sliced breads. This is a very economical idea for a 40th birthday party.

Card shower idea

As you grow old, the idea of having a party or celebrating your birthday becomes forgotten. Having a card shower idea for yours or your spouse’s 40th birthday is a special and very thoughtful way to celebrate the day, and it does not cause any strain on finances. When planning a card shower for the 40th birthday, all you need to do is to contact the friends and relatives of the honouree and let them in on the idea of a “card shower”. Ask the attendees to make a special birthday card and mail it to arrive on the day of the birthday.

This will definitely be an overwhelming and good surprise for the honouree. The cards shower will make the day very memorable, and the honouree will feel special to see that much love and attention on him on his special day. This idea is perfect because even if you have a simple lunch or dinner to celebrate the day, the cards shower will make up for everything else and make the day memorable.

The “12 days of birthday” theme

For this idea, all you have to do is to create the “12 days of birthday” by picking out 11 small and personal gifts and one big one. You can give out each gift a day, starting 12 days before the special day and have the final gift saved for the birthday day. This idea creates anticipation for what the next gift will be, and if the honouree happens to have forgotten about the birthday, then it will be a good way to show them that you have been planning it out.

The gifts can be personal such as books and CDs from the year of birth of the honouree, and it will definitely be a good way to commemorate the special day. If you want to make it more special, you can send out letters with balloons to friends and family and ask them to blow out the balloons and write a personal wish or birthday greeting on the balloon using a permanent marker.

The recipients of the balloons should sign after and insert a 40-dollar bill in the deflated balloon before mailing it back. After receiving back, the balloons, give one a day to the honouree starting 12 days before the big day. The birthday boy or girl should blow up each balloon to read the birthday message and pop it with a pin to reveal the gift.

Final Words

A 40th birthday celebration is an important milestone for anyone. It is the age when a lot of experience has been earned, and a lot of accomplishments worth celebrating have been accomplished as well. As such, your intention for the celebration should be aimed towards the experience over spending the money. You don’t need to be extravagant, as long as you make the experience a special one. The important thing is to add untraditional and thoughtful ideas for the celebration. Unleash your imagination and host a party that will be remembered for ages.