Your child’s birthday party can easily become a wallet bomb if you allow things to get too extravagant beyond your budget. When you see other parents going all out, it’s certainly tempting to try and follow suit.
If you’re old enough to remember the time before PlayStation and Hoverboard – back when a trampoline and a good game of Monopoly provided hours of fun entertainment – then you’ll likely remember that fun isn’t synonymous with expensive.
Hopefully, you’re in full nostalgia mode now and are realizing that a great birthday doesn’t need to be some over-the-top event that breaks the bank. It just requires a pinch of creativity and a dash of careful planning to ensure your child has a fun, memorable birthday.
Keep Fun Plentiful and Costs Low
Party planning experts employ a lot of nifty tricks to keep costs low and fun plentiful. Let’s look at some:
Methodical Advanced Planning
Start planning as soon as possible. When you scramble to get all the various supplies you need, you tend to resort to one-stop shopping. You miss out on sales, coupons, price matching, and taking advantage of the best deal at other retailers. Plus, in a rush, you’re likely not to pay as much attention to brand comparisons and cheaper alternatives. Again, start early!
Download coupon and rebate apps on your phone to help you discover great discounts. Store loyalty apps can also help with savings. You can even sign up for printable coupons. Printable coupons can be used alongside store coupons and rebate apps to really rack up savings.
By the time you buy invitation supplies and postage, you’ve spent a fortune to mail out invites. Here are some alternatives:
- Websites like Evite and Paperless Post offer a large variety of cheap to free digital invites.
- Facebook is a completely free option. Go to the “events” tab, create the birthday event, and then invite any of your Facebook friends. It makes RSVP a snap because the friend will either check that they’re “going,”” maybe going,” or “not going.”
- Use a combination of text, email, instant message, phone, and hand delivery.
- You can always buy a smaller batch of invites for those that you can’t reach digitally.
First, do realize that it’s not in the ‘party rulebook’ that you must have a meal at a birthday party. You can go with just cake or cake and light munchies. The important part is that you schedule the party within an appropriate time frame during the day so guests know what to expect in terms of food. Guests typically expect some sort of meal when a party is scheduled during peak mealtime hours.
If you choose to have food, there’s certainly no need to be elaborate. These are kids, and they only care if the food tastes good.
Cheeseburger sliders, hot dogs, or corn dogs with chips work great for outdoor parties.
If cooking is a no-go for your schedule or venue, then you can shop around at pizza franchises. Many will give you a discount for bulk purchases. Some routinely offer $5 large pizzas. Depending on age, a large $5 pizza can serve three to eight kids. You simply can’t beat that cost per guest!
Beverages can be a costly necessity. Glass or plastic pitchers and some drink mix or fresh lemons are often the cheapest route. But, do stay on the lookout for BOGO sales at your local grocery store. You might even be able to use the coupons you printed on top of those sales, allowing you to score drinks for cheap or almost free!
If you plan accordingly, you can catch grocery items on sale and freeze them if necessary. Bulk warehouse stores can help you purchase large quantities at reduced prices. You can get bulk-buy discounts on everything from frozen finger foods and cakes to paper goods. If you don’t have a membership, you can ask friends and family with a membership to accompany you.
Borrow or Rent What You Can
Pool resources that friends and family may have on-hand before you rent tables, chairs, and equipment. Any mismatched seating can easily be covered with tablecloths.
Go picnic style with blankets and throw pillows.
Take Advantage of Free Venues
Backyards are a perfect starting place. Local parks, recreational centers, zoos, lakes, beaches, and other public spaces often have areas that can be reserved for free or at a minimal cost. Some local businesses have event spaces that they rent out to community organizations and the public.
Party stores may have mass products, but they’re usually expensive. Dollar stores are amazing gems for party planners. They have everything from balloons and decorations to paper goods and party favors.
Simplify Treat Bags and Party Favors
Remember that it’s your child’s birthday, not the guests’. Treat bags don’t need to be individualized treats or expensive candy and toys that dip into a significant amount of your budget. Pick up a family size bag of candy to split up into the baggies. Colored plastic wrap and gift ribbon make a great alternative to expensive treat bags. Again, hit the dollar store and warehouses. If you plan right, you can find candy at low prices after a holiday.
Plan Affordable Activities
Park venues are always great options because activities are included in the venue.
With backyard parties, you can set up DIY inexpensive outdoor activities. Simple games like potato sack races, dodgeball, tug-o-war, horseshoes, bean bag toss, Twister, or a scavenger hunt are great ideas.
Kids love guessing games. Do you have $2.00 and some scrap paper and pen? Take a dollar store craft bucket and dollar bag of gummy bears to make a guessing game of “how many bears are in the bucket?” Closest guess gets to keep the gummy bear bucket. It’s a huge hit at parties. With a poster board, some cutouts, glue stick, and sticky darts – all common Dollar Tree items – you have a dart game for under five bucks.
Bake the Cake
There’s no doubt that professional cakes are gorgeous, but their price tags can easily exceed a hundred bucks. Today, pre-packaged cake mixes, icing, and cake decorations come in a variety of flavors and colors. Baking the cake yourself is a cheaper route than ordering one from a bakery, and the birthday kid may even enjoy taking part in the baking. One additional tip: a great way to control portions is to bake cupcakes instead of a cake.
Make Choices That Work Together to Eliminate Costs
Think about how you can eliminate the need for certain items. For example, if you serve pizza and cupcakes, you won’t have to buy any utensils or bowls.
In closing, you can see that fantastic parties aren’t about how much money is spent; fun, memorable parties are about the proactive planning and creative thinking that fuel the event.
Do not break the bank when throwing your child a birthday party. There are various sales on birthday gear and activities that you can find online or at your nearest arts-and-crafts store. Use those coupon-savvy savings and invest in a photo booth for your child’s birthday party. If you are hosting a child’s party in the Central or South Florida area, A Cut Above Photo Booth can help. Contact us online for a quote or at 800-295-0430 to suit your picture-perfect needs.