For some of us, 2011 may not present a much rosier financial picture than 2010, 2009, or 2008 did, but the good news is that so far, Americans haven't given up on fun.
If you and your friends are living paycheck-to-paycheck come your next birthday bash, low-budget parties will make for a hearty good time, and can bring you all together in the spirit of sister and brotherhood.
Instead of booking reservations at the new trendy restaurant that's getting rave reviews in your town, consider a dinner at your favorite diner, which won't be surfacing on Zagat anytime soon but will inflict half the damage on your wallet.
Guests won't have to leave empty-handed even if you're trying to cut corners. There are a wide variety of birthday party favors that cost less than a buck or two each, including themed playing cards with personalized labels, custom fortune cookies, personalized mini glass candy jars and damask compact mirrors, to name just a few. A bag full of candy will always be received with eager acclaim.