What is your favorite part of a birthday party? The cake? Decorations? Possibly the presents?
I’ve always loved planning a fun party and having a large family means frequent parties (and lots of cake)!
With 5 kids, birthdays can become a major expense! Most of my kids have birthdays during holidays which really squeezes the budget. The twins birthday is the last week of November (Thanksgiving), Ari’s birthday has fallen on Memorial Day weekend the last 3 years. David’s birthday is usually during the first week of school after we’ve been back to school shopping.
With all of these extra occasions happening a mom needs to stretch her budget! Between buying the supplies, the presents, and hosting the party, birthdays can be very expensive.
But they don’t have to be!
How many times have you been to a fancy birthday party and found yourself wondering how the host managed to afford the party in the first place?
With careful and purposeful planning I manage not only to throw my birthday child a fun party but also an affordable party, too.
Here is Part 1 of 10 tips for planning A fabulous (& cheap) kid’s party:
1. Create a budget for the party.
Whether you are planning a $35 party or $350 party, having a budget is a good idea. It’s always important to have a number for your budget so you don’t overspend.
I’ve thrown several great birthday parties for less than $50 that kids have loved. We’ve had an in home spa and salon party, a Cupcake Wars inspired party, and a tea party that were all easily under $50.
Other ideas that could be done under $50 are a pirate or scavenger hunt party, princess party, a farm or race car themed party and others. I love throwing parties and it’s fun for your child to have a unique party.
2. Keep the party small.
I’m not an advocate of leaving kids out. It’s happened to my kids and it’s not fun. However, there are advantages of having a small birthday party without inviting the whole class. If you have a small party, I encourage you to have a conversation with your child about being kind to everyone and being aware of others’ feelings. There are teachable parenting moments all the time and this is one of them. I also encourage a phone call with the invitation details or mail the invitations to keep the party out of school and avoid hurt feelings.
The purpose of having a party isn’t to leave people out, it’s to give your child a fun, affordable birthday party.
There are advantages of having a small party. Keeping the party small is less expensive because you don’t have to buy as many materials, party favors, and other party supplies. It’s easier to host less kids which also gives you more options on where to have the party. By having a smaller party, you can spend more on activities as well.
3. Be strategic about what time of day you have the party.
By having your party at 10 A.M. or 2 P.M. you can avoid serving a meal. Even if you supply a snack, that is still cheaper than having a full meal for all of the partygoers. Having cake (although I recommend cupcakes see #7 in Part 2) and ice cream is way cheaper than a meal.
4. Browse Pinterest and Google ideas that relate to your theme.
You will probably find several places online that have free or inexpensive invitations and printables to download that you can use for your own party. I always start with Pinterest and Google. Check out some great birthday ideas here!
5. Buy solid colored party supplies.
I used to buy solid colored party supplies (especially paper products) at the dollar store (which also has some reasonable themed plates that are more limited than party stores but are also cheaper).
A few years ago I started buying most of my solid colored products at Target when they go on clearance.
If your kids have a favorite color (at my house Blake’s favorite is blue, David’s is green, Nora’s is pink) you can watch after holidays and score some great clearance deals on colored products. For example, pink for Valentine’s Day, green after St. Patrick’s Day and red or blue after the 4th of July.
If you really want to save money buy plastic silverware and napkins in bulk.