As the fall approaches, I know it’s time to start thinking about birthday parties for my kids. Three of my four kids have birthdays in the fall, so I start planning early. I also have twins, whose birthday falls two days after Christmas, so I have to really budget for that party. Being frugal does not mean you don’t get to have fun birthday parties. With a little pre-planning you can plan a birthday party for your child that does not cost a fortune.
At least a few months before the party make a budget for the party. Make categories for what you want to do at the party and set price limits within those categories. Setting limits for your party will help prevent you from overspending.
The number of guest you decide to invite will affect how much your party will cost you. Limit your guest to family and a few close friends of the child. I know several parents who set the number of friends as to the child’s age. For example when the child is six, they can invite 6 friends.
Invitations can be really expensive if you go and buy them. One thing you can do to save money is to make them at home. Use your craft supplies to make them. You can also use your computer to make and print your own invitations. You may even be able to find some premade invitations online that you just print off. I have also bought some nice invitation cards.
Place for Party
You can spend a lot of money having parties at many favorite children’s restaurants. You can save money by having the party at your own home if you have enough room for your guest. If you have it at home you will have more clean up after the party. Also, look at having your child’s party at a local park. Having a party at the park can be really nice in the warmer weather. Many will let you use the shelter for free, but you will probably have to sign up, so plan early.
Don’t go wild on your theme, it will cost you more money when looking for party decorations. Once you have decided on the theme look around your house to see what you already have on hand to use for decorations. I like to store decorations and reuse them. I can also find ideas in my craft supplies. You can also find decorations at the Dollar stores that may fit into your budget. Balloons are a party favorite that I like to get at the Dollar Tree. I don’t feel guilty about buying them there.
Cake and Food
The food at your party can be an area that you can save money. Have the party at a time where your guest have already eaten and just have cake and ice cream. Buying a cake at the store can cost you $20-$30. You can make a cake at home that will cost you a fraction of that. Just remember it does not have to be perfect. There are a ton of party cake ideas online that you can do yourself. If you must do food, buy things like finger foods that will be cheaper than a main meal. You can also make boxed pizzas that can be cooked at home. When serving drinks, serve Kool-aid in a punch bowl and add things to match your theme. Also, pick a Kool-aid with a color that matches your theme. This will save you since soft drinks will cost a lot more.
Make sure to set a budget for the gifts you buy your child. Consider homemade gifts since many kids already have a ton of toys. You can also set aside money each month for your birthday fund. You should even put money in the fund even if you don’t have a birthday that month. This will allow you to have more money when the actual party month comes around.
Include Your Child
Make sure you ask your child what is important to them. One year I was trying to save money and did not buy extra decorations. I was informed by my child that they wanted balloons. Since it is their birthday, why not get what they want, within limits. Your child may also have some great ideas on themes for the party. They can even be a big help in making invitations and other decorations, so be sure to include them.