As every parent of a young child knows, kids’ birthday parties are getting more over-the-top every day. The good news is that you don’t have to make yourself crazy or spend lots of money to show your kids and party guests a great time. Check out these 10 tips for throwing a birthday party on a budget.
Keep It Simple
If you’re hosting the party at your home, you don’t have to offer a smorgasbord of drink and food choices. Keeping the food and drink choices simple lets you buy in bulk, which gets you lower prices per unit. You can cover most people’s tastes pretty easily by having regular and diet cola and water as beverages, and what kid doesn’t like low-cost Kool-Aid? If you’re providing a meal to guests, choices like pizza or homemade lasagna are party-guest pleasers that don’t break the bank.
Buy on Clearance
Frugal moms are always thinking ahead and buying on clearance for upcoming events. Keep your child’s party in mind throughout the year and stock up on supplies whenever you see them. This can go a long way toward saving money on your kids birthday party if your child has a favorite theme; branded characters can be expensive to shop for at full price. Back-to-school sales are also sources of affordable supplies that you can use for party crafts, games or goody bags.
Focus on Fun
Children don’t need much to have a blast when a group of them get together. Be creative with games and look to the past for no-cost party favorites. Duck-duck-goose, musical chairs and hot potato are still exciting games for younger children to play. Pin the tail on the donkey is easy to make yourself. You can find loads of ideas online for kids’ party games that don’t cost a dime.
Make Your Own Cake
Making a simple birthday cake at home can save you a lot of money. There are countless cake-decorating ideas on Pinterest, but there’s nothing wrong with topping the cake with frosting only and letting the candles take center stage. Figurines from dollar stores of children’s favorite characters can make great cake adornments. If baking a cake seems too far out of your skill zone, cupcakes aren’t hard to make and never disappoint.
Go Easy on Goody Bags
It’s fun to give your guests goody bags to take home at the end of your party, but the cost can add up fast. Instead of filling bags with cheap plastic toys, you can give kids small gifts of items that you’ve bought on clearance, like coloring books or Play-Doh. Homemade treats, like cake pops, can also make nice parting gifts.
Stock Up at Discount Stores
Party stores charge a lot. You can save money by shopping for supplies at dollar and discount stores. Party stores make the shopping experience a blast, and it’s easy to snatch up items in your kid’s favorite theme and speed to the checkout. Don’t fall into that alluring trap. You can find almost everything that a party store has at lower prices elsewhere.
Schedule Outside of Meal Times
You can save a bundle if you schedule your party outside of traditional meal times so that you’re not expected to supply lunch or dinner. Try to avoid party times that include noon or 5 p.m. You’ll have finger food and snacks on hand to satisfy the munchies, and everyone gets so filled up on cake that no one will leave the party hungry.
Limit the Guest List
Obviously, the fewer people who attend the party, the less you’ll have to spend. Plus, your child can spend more quality time with their buddies if the guest list is kept under control. Some money-wise families alternate hosting small, family-only birthday gatherings one year with bigger bashes the next. Another idea is to only throw large parties for milestone birthdays, but keep things low-key otherwise.
Stay Away From Branded Themes
If your party has a branded theme, like The Little Mermaid or Spider-Man, you’ll pay more for supplies and decorations since the brand adds to the price. For a birthday party on a budget, see if you can take your child’s favorite character and generalize it when you’re party planning. The Little Mermaid can inspire underwater or beach decorations, or you can use a superhero’s trademark colors in the decorations and supplies you choose for the party.
Take It Outside
Look for affordable places to host your kid’s party outside of your home. Local farms, community centers, public parks and pools have inexpensive options for parties. Hosting the party away from home usually gives the party a defined time limit, which can save you some cash since you won’t have to keep the food and drinks flowing for an unknown amount of time.
The most important thing to focus on when you’re party planning is making sure that the birthday girl or boy has fun. Luckily, that’s easy to achieve without going broke. With some smart and simple strategies, you’ll be saving money on your kids birthday party while making great memories for your child.