This is a repost but since today is nearly my oldests’ 18th birthday I thought a revamp and reshare is in order!
Amanda posted on our Facebook page:
“Do you have any suggestions for throwing birthday parties on a budget? My son’s 2nd birthday is coming up and I am currently on maternity leave so we are watching our pennies. I found some supplies on orientaltrading.com but I wanted to know if you had any other suggestions before I made any purchases. THANKS :)”
Here are some of my favorite tips for budget birthday parties:
1) Less is more! My sister threw an AWESOME birthday party for her son (my nephew) and the theme was “rockets”. There was actually very little “decor”. It was held in the backyard and the only real decor (that I can remember) were these AWESOME rockets that each kid got to wear! Each one was made of 2 empty bottles wrapped in silver poster board and had streamers for the flames. They were AMAZING and not expensive. Guess what- months later that is what my kids remember- “flying” around in their rockets! And one of them even still has theirs! (see the latest birthday party: Wild Kratts)
Especially at a young age- streamers and matching plates are more for US than for them. So spend the money on the items that will be important to them instead of those items that will hang for a little while and then be thrown away. Kids won’t remember that there were streamers or matching plates- they want to have fun!
These rockets fulfilled (3) uses: decoration, activity AND “goodie bag”
credit: M. Gioeli Photography
2) Use what you have. Do you have cereal, nuts, dried fruit, etc? Make your own snack mixes. Do you have a ton of boxes of popcorn? Pop it and serve it. Think outside the box. You don’t have to serve an entire meal- just some little munchies and a cake/cupcakes.
3) Go Generic. Licensed character decor is pricy. Think generic. For example a Rocket Party- yellow and red and orange plates, napkins, cutlery was perfect. No need for Disney Princess or other pricy disposable items. They are just eating off of them & throwing them away!
4) Think dual use. Like the rockets that served as goody treats- think about an activity that they can do during the party that they can take home. Dollar Tree carries lots of craft items and you can find artsy inspiration all over the web (Pintrest is a great place to start). If you are doing a dinosaur party- what about making fossils? A little plaster of paris and some shells and leaves can be inexpensive and fun! (p.s. As a mom of three- those little bags of cheap toys just becomes clutter in the bottom of the toy box but a hand crafted take-away- priceless).
5)Cakes are EXPENSIVE. Even birthday cakes! Even a basic sheet cake at a grocery store can run over $25! Think about baking cupcakes and letting the kids (depending on age) decorate them themselves! Or you can ice them and allow them to add sprinkles, etc. Again- double duty- activity AND treat.
6) Think outside. Having a party outside in the backyard (or even a park) gives the kids room to roam and play. The best parties that my children have been to have been the simple, outdoor parties rather than the $300-$400 parties hosted at event locations (like children’s museums, bounce houses, etc).
7) Decorate with things about the Guest of Honor: pictures of them from birth forward. Hang them from a string with clothes pins (I found some at the dollar store). Kids love to see pictures of themselves. You can even make a coloring book page out a picture of your child! There is a free app from Crayola HERE . Instead of pin the tail on the donkey- maybe put the pirate patch on Little Johnnie (or the crown on Princess Jane). We get FREE 8×10 images from Walgreens pretty often.
8) Saving on balloons- helium filled balloons can get pricy. Instead of paying for bunches of latex balloons with helium- opt for 2 or 3 of the foil ones from a Dollar Store. Then attach a few non-helium ones to the string right at the base or even down the string. Or even hang balloons upside down from a tree branch (if outside) or the ceiling. It gives the same illusion without the price. My kids always have more fun with the NON-helium balloons so we blow up plenty of extra- they love tossing and catching them.
These are just a few of my ideas for lowering the cost of a birthday party without sacrificing any of the fun. Share your ideas for Birthdays on a Budget with us!