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Oval is one! We could not be more excited, and we fully intend to celebrate our first birthday in style (of course) on April 4th. Birthdays are a great excuse to let your hair down and celebrate life, but we all know they can be a little costly.

Fun fact here: in Italy it’s customary for the person whose birthday it is to invite their friends out for dinner and then they pay for all the guests meals! So, if you want to save money, head to Italy and embrace the culture. If that’s not an option however, then we have a few other ideas up our sleeves to help you out planning a birthday in order to get the maximum amount of fun at the minimum cost.

Stay away from themes

Although they sound fun, and can be a great laugh if you have a group of friends who all love to join in, they are notoriously costly. Themed parties often call for specific fancy dress costumes or bespoke outfits, particular kinds of foods, and particular music and décor. Throwing a 1920’s party sounds super awesome but it’s not exactly easy on the wallet. Fun is fun, even if it’s in just in your everyday clothes.

Plan ahead

If you do want to celebrate your birthday this year (some of us avoid it like the plague), then make sure you’re clear about what you want to do. If you want to eat out with friends or go to a specific bar, then make sure you book the venue in advance to avoid disappointment. This also avoids the last minute panic that inevitably leads you to booking a restaurant that’s double the price because it’s the only one available.

If you’re more of a ‘kick it at home’ person, then make sure you know what food you’re serving so you have time to plan a menu that’s delicious and low cost (anything by Jamie Oliver is always a favourite), and to slowly collect music or decorations over time so that you don’t have to buy everything out of the one paycheque and risk having your electric cut off due to non-payment.

DIY my friends, DIY

Doing things yourself is the trade off between money and time. (If you’re short on both then bad luck). However, by doing things like cooking dinner yourself, making your own cake, or planning the decorations, then you save loads of money on store bought items. Sites like buzzfeed are a great resource for DIY cake and decoration ideas.

Keep your friends close…

And your enemies really far away. In situation like these, it’s quality over quantity. Treat parties like weddings; don’t invite people you’re not sure about, don’t invite anyone who brings you down, and partners are not your responsibility. If you don’t know your mate’s partner then don’t feel bad telling them you just want close friends to attend and asking them politely to leave their other half at home for one evening. Honestly, if your friends are anything like my friends; the offer of a night with just old friends, sans partners, is usually welcomed with open arms.

Essentially, your birthday is all about you, so make sure it’s an event that you enjoy (just like we at Oval intend to enjoy ours!). We all know that 'money ≠ happiness', so just make sure you make choices that are best for you around your special time of year and don't send yourself broke trying to keep up with birthday Joneses.