Ideas for a 22nd Birthday on a Budget

Twenty-one is a major milestone for a birthday. It signals the beginning of official adulthood, the age of majority and the right to imbibe alcoholic beverages. So while you and your sweetie may have partied hearty on that momentous birthday, turning 22 can seem to be somewhat of a letdown. But it doesn’t have to be and it won't cost a fortune to turn a 22nd birthday into a day to remember.

Turn Back the Clock

Recreate the world 22 years ago. Play the music of popular bands from that era. Serve food that was trendy from the celebrity chefs of the day. Download or stream TV shows from that time period. Ask guests to dress in the fashion from 22 years ago. If your favorite team won the Super Bowl, World Series or NBA Championship, use that as your theme. Invitations could be a photo of a watch set to the time of the birthday boy's birth and date.

Be a Kid Again

Sometimes it's fun to slide away from the responsibilities of adulthood and return to the carefree days of being a kid. After a year of being officially an adult, throw a kid's party. Drag out photos of the birthday girl as a kid and pin them on a bulletin board with index cards for guest comments. Ask each guest to send you a photo from childhood. Write the guest's name on the back. Create a contest where everyone has to guess which photo belongs to which guest. Scour dollar stores for cheap toys for party gift bags. Hold a bubble blowing contest of who can blow the biggest bubble or the most bubbles within a certain time limit, say 10 seconds. Serve fun foods like hot dogs, fish sticks and mac and cheese with jello shooters for dessert.

Double the Fun

Twenty-two is made from two twos. Create the party around the theme of doubles. Serve double-stacked hamburgers, sandwiches or double stuffed tacos. Fill a soft flour tortilla with beans, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. Place a crunchy corn tortilla inside the flour tortilla. Fill the corn tortilla with chicken, beef, pork or fish. Serve two birthday cakes. Play games in teams of two.

Outside games include the old-fashioned three-legged race, doubles at badminton or goofy golf in teams. Ask guests to bring double presents that cost no more than $10. For example, if the birthday boy loves beer, gifts could be two beer mugs, two bottles of imported beer or two cozies to keep the beer cold. If golf is his game, the gifts could be two bags of tees, two golf towels or two scorecards -- one filled in with a stellar score and the other blank.

Over-the-Hill Party Theme

Some say that the college years are the best years of your life. If the party honoree will be a 22-year-old graduate, recognize that fact with a humorous over-the-hill party. This theme takes a little work but doesn't have to cost a bundle. Decorate in somber tones of black and gray hiding metallic silver. Use old bed sheets you've dyed to keep costs down. If you can't afford silver fabric use aluminum foil taped to the tables.

When guests arrive they'll see the gray tablecloths and streamers. The highlight of the party is when you strip away the gray and black to reveal the glittery silver lining. Gifts include hair color to wash the gray away, miracle wrinkle removers, fake windup dentures that chatter or anything related to being old.

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