In this modern age of blogging and pinning and (over)sharing and in general living it up big on social media, it’s easy to get sucked into the perfection of what we see and how we think things—such as say, throwing a birthday party—should go. But do you really need to rent that bounce-house for the kids’ entertainment? Or shell out hundreds on a birthday cake? Probably not. Especially if your little guy or gal is turning the big O N E. Surely you realize that baby won’t understand much of it and most certainly won’t notice the difference between a party that’s $$$ and one that’s just $.

I know. I know what you’re thinking. Some people really enjoy running with a party’s theme, the planning hoopla, and that’s cool. To each her own. For me, it’s more about experiencing the party. The getting together with friends and family that makes for special memories. And the low-key party can be just as sweet. So when my last babe turned one not too long ago—that’s just the party we threw for her.

Here’s three easy ways to go low-key.

1. Choose a free venue. This does not necessarily mean your own home, but consider your own home. Or another family member’s home? I’m sure it’s already cozy and inviting, so look no further. You can forego the bounce-y rental too. Let the kids you invite run around your yard or set up a special area in your own home and designate it just for them. Stash it with some art supplies. Done. Or what about a free local park? Sure it’s a risk as to how crowded it might be on the day of your child’s party, but parks come with built-in benefits like playgrounds. Sometimes a park will have the option to rent its pavilion, or designated area for tables. It’s worth checking into. Let your guests roam and play the day away there.

2. Reuse or borrow decorations. Keep decorations minimal. When my first son turned one, we bought a birthday banner and a #1 candle. Eight years and four kids later we were still using the same #1 and Happy Birthday banner. Minimal decorations translate to minimal clean up. Notice I didn’t suggest making your own decorations. Making your own doesn’t necessarily translate to low-key. Making your own decorations can lead to Pinterest projects. And we know Pinterest isn’t always your best friend.

3. Ask for help. Delegate! Delegate! Delegate! Is your sister really good at making cakes? See if she wants to make one in lieu of a gift. I mean, she’s your sister so it doesn’t hurt to ask. Maybe there are a few kiddos in your family or friend group who have birthdays around the same time. Lump them together! Pull your resources! I have a friend whose family celebrates all the cousins’ summer birthdays together and splits the cost. And the best part? The kids love it.

Remember, it’s about people not things. In the long run simple, low-key can equal grand whether you’re planning a first birthday or a 100th.