Parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to throw memorable birthday parties for their kids, especially for certain age milestones. It is easy to convince yourself that the more memorable and extravagant the party, the more the children will appreciate the efforts. Or, if their friends had lavish parties, you should do the same. The truth is, they will have fun no matter what, but your bank account won’t if you go over budget in your efforts. From theme parties to backyard celebrations, you won’t need a big budget with these seven money-saving tips.
1. Plan Ahead
You don’t have to wait for the birthday party to shop for the necessities. If you do, you’ll end up paying full price for everything. Shop year-round for paper supplies like tablecloths, cups, napkins, and plates. Stock up on clearance items after Holidays or during seasonal transitions. Plenty of stores mark these products down by 50% the day after a Holiday.
If you can’t find supplies you need on clearance, plan to buy them on sales. Sales cycles typically repeat every six weeks. If you plan early enough, you can track prices and stock up when they are low.
2. Send Evites
Paper invitations, premade or customized, quickly add up in costs depending on the length of your guest list. Today’s technology gives you the power to skip the paper invitations for your next big birthday party. Websites like smilebox.com, punchbowl.com, and evites.com are easy to use, free, and you can choose to e-mail, text, or post the invitation to social media. Plus the other parents will be thankful for one less piece of paper cluttering their countertops or family board.
3. Choose the Right Theme
Theme parties are a huge hit, but picking the wrong theme can cost you a lot of money on decorations and supplies. Instead of creating a theme around their favorite cartoon or movie, focus on an activity they enjoy.
Bike parties are huge hit for boys and girls. Ask all of the kids to bring their own bikes for fun activities. A tea party is a great girls theme or a Nerf gun party for boys. Instead of buying decorations with the theme, choose a color theme instead. Buying plain tablecloths and balloons is far less expensive than ones printed with a design.
4. Simplify the Menu
Stick to simple menu ideas that you know the kids will enjoy. Hot Dogs, sloppy joes, pizza, and French fries are all favorites of most kids. Make the food in the Crockpot and set up a buffet for guests to serve themselves. Limit your menu to 2-4 menu items to avoid excessive leftovers.
5. Make Your Own Cake
Ordering a cake from the local bakery can cost you $30 or more depending on the cake size you need. Save your budget and opt to make a cake at home instead. There are plenty of recipes online for semi-homemade birthday cakes that use a boxed cake mix with a few minor changes.
Get the kids involved in the process by making cupcakes the night before and then let them decorate with icing, sprinkles, and mini chocolate chips.
6. DIY Crafts
As a parent, you probably dread when your kids come home with goody bags stuffed with candy and useless penny items that will break within the hour of opening them. Become the other parent’s hero and replace the goody bags with Do-it-Yourself crafts the kids can take home.
Consider these ideas: DIY pinwheels, DIY jewelry, or a bird feeder. The key is to look for crafts that require minimal supplies but will keep the kids engaged.
Hiring a magician, renting a bounce house, or going to a play center are expensive additions to a birthday party. Instead of these pricey ideas, create your own entertainment (that’s free!) at home. Musical chairs, egg races, duck duck goose, and hot potato are fun and free options. You can also ask all the kids to bring their favorite board games. Use these to set up round-robin game stations inside where they spend 10 minutes at each game and rotate when a timer goes off, or the music stops.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to throw a memorable birthday party. Use these tips to help you plan, prepare, and save money.