Budget Birthday Bash

Birthday Parties can get VERY expensive when you start adding up all the items you need to make your child’s birthday one to remember! Here are few tips, tricks, and ideas that can help you stretch your birthday bash budget without being “Cheap” about it!!

Location is key to the type of birthday party you want to have, but doesn’t have to break the bank! There are many FREE or inexpensive places to throw a party that still allow you to do something different and unique!

-A Local Park-this seems pretty self-explanatory, but with some fun decorations and balloons this is a GREAT place to have a party b/c a playground is always fun and it give you lots of space to do games, plus you don’t have to worry about frantically cleaning your house before the party!!

-Home owners association club house/pool (yours or a friend’s!)-Not all people live in a community, but for those who do, often times you can reserve the HOA club room, pool, or playground for little or no cost! If you don’t live in a community, but have a friend that does, there’s nothing wrong with asking a friend if there community room/pool is available!

-Your Church-if you’re the member of a church, you’re most likely allowed to use their gym facilities for FREE, if you just ask! If it’s a winter time party, this could be a GREAT place to let the kids run around and not worry about breaking things, plus gives you ample space for games!

-Your Local Fire Station-Many smaller towns have volunteer fire fighters who are always looking for ways to educate the public on fire safety (especially kids!) If you call your local station, a lot of times you can set up a tour (Often for FREE or a small donation!) and then just do cake and presents while you’re there! Along similar lines, most local Police Stations have a Public Education rep (who goes to schools, etc.) and if you call, often times you can get them to come out to your house to talk to the kids and let them play around in the police car, etc.

-Your house! This one is obvious, but so great if you’re looking to save money! If you’re having a “water” party for example, buying a few kiddie pools and slip-n-slides it will cost you a fraction of what it might cost to rent out a whole pool somewhere!

Theme is something else that can make or break your budget! Many kids want themes based around the latest cartoon characters-this can get expensive if you simply go to the party store the week of and just start buying things!

-Color Coordinate the paperware- What this means is if you’re doing a “Cars” theme, instead of spending a lot of money on the plates with Cars on them, buy solid red plates (at your local dollar store) and simply complement them with Cars stickers or napkins-this trick can also be used for cups, cake plates, and table clothes as well!

-Start collecting early! Ask your child what theme they think they want for their party 4-6 weeks before.  This is good for a few reasons, the first is that it helps you find deals while you’re out AND it gives your child excitement in the anticipation as you collect everything you need!

-Use Holidays to your advantage! My birthday is the week before Valentine’s Day, so we always had my birthday parties the weekend after Valentines (since most people were busy that holiday weekend, it worked well) We would sale shop all of the Valentine items AFTER the holiday, but before the party in order to save money.  That’s not to say you have to do a Halloween themed party every year if your child’s birthday is the last week in October, but you could use those sales to buy candy or solid colored goody bags at a discounted price!

Food can be EXPENSIVE, especially if you plan on feeding a good sized meal, snacks, and buying a cake!

-Start menu planning 4-6 weeks in advance-this allows you to coupon for items that you don’t normally buy, but you want for the party!

-MAKE YOUR OWN CAKE! A store bought cake can run you anywhere from $15-35 depending on the size, type, etc.  You do NOT have to be a baker to make a fun cake! What I do is buy small figurines (usually at the dollar store), frost the cake to go along with the theme and then just place the plastic figures on the cake-that’s all they really do when you buy a store cake anyway! OR if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who’s a good baker, call and ask if they would bake the cake instead of getting a gift!

-Plan the party during “Snack time” rather than a “Meal time”-For example start the party at 1:30 or 2pm on Saturday instead of 4-5pm.  That way people will have already had lunch, but the party will be over by dinner time.  This sounds cheap, but think about the prep and your sanity-putting out a veggie platter, chips, and cake for 20 people is A LOT EASIER than coming up with a FULL meal for that many people!

-Go Seasonal-if you’re planning a party in the Spring, go with the fresh fruit that’s on sale, if you’re planning a party around a sporting event (like the Super bowl) go with chips and dip, etc.  That will allow you to spend less since those are the items that will already be on sale!

Entertainment is something that doesn’t have to by someone hired, kids LOVE to do all different types of things, so paying a lot of a clown or magician can be a waste! 

-Plan/Lead games on your own! There are about a million different games you can do with kids that are cheap or free and TONS of fun! Just watch an episode of NBC’s Show “Minute to Win it” and you’ll get about 10 ideas right away-things as simple as putting vaseline on the kids’ noses’ and having them race to transfer cotton balls from one bowl to another, all the way to more elaborate games like dress up obstacle courses, etc.! Ask your child to help you plan them, that makes it even more fun and stretches both your imaginations! 

-Come up with a fun craft-this can work not only as a game, but also as a “goody bag” take home item! If your theme is animals, you could have the kids make animal masks out of paper plates-this requires only paper plates, markers, and some string to tie them on with-you can go basic or big.  AND you can use the masks to play a game when they’re all done! 

-Video tape them! Have the kids get into groups and put on a show, play, etc. and then let them all watch themselves on TV with popcorn, etc. This would be great if you’re doing a movie theme!! 

-Use your Friends’ talents! If you have a friend who is a great artist, ask them to do face painting, or draw characatures of the kids!  

The possibilities for each of these different thing are endless! Just remember, sometimes it may take getting a little creative, but a birthday party to remember often starts with your child feeling like they’re part of it, so ask what they want, but also have them help you with the details as well and you’re sure to have a party that pleases!!

One Response to “Budget Birthday Bash”

  1. Sheila Shorkey June 28, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    Great ideas!! and fun too!!!!As we know from experience!!!!!!!!!

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