Today I’m baking cake and making other preparations for AJ’s 3rd birthday. While the cake is in the oven I thought now would be a great time to share some of my frugal kid’s birthday party tips with you.
When I was a kid birthdays consisted of a simple cake, but on occasion we might get something a little more special. I remember on my 8th birthday I got a Barbie doll cake. Although before we got to enjoy it, the dog snuck into the kitchen and devoured half of the cake skirt!
Today it seems that moms are constantly trying to out due one another by creating more and more spectacular parties for their children year after year. The rise of Pinterest has in some ways worsened the expectations on mothers to plan and host the perfect party. Unfortunately “perfect” can and often does come at a price.
Pinterest is also full of DIY birthday ideas that won’t cost you your entire birthday budget. In some cases it can also give you ideas on how to recreate expensive looking items for a fraction of the cost. Personally I use Pinterest as an inspiration starting point and then create a birthday theme around a budget and creativity.
I always try to make my son’s birthdays extra special. Since it is just the two of them, their cousins live out of state, I try to make their day memorable in other ways. This however doesn’t mean I break the bank by competing with other moms or with those who have a bigger budget. Instead I have found a system that helps me create a great day for my kids.
My Frugal Kid’s Birthday Party Tips
Create A Birthday Budget. Before you even decide on a theme for your child’s big day you have to know how much you can spend. Your budget should include things like food, décor, invitations and gifts. Those extra, seemingly inexpensive items can quickly add up and before you know it you haven’t just gone over budget you’ve doubled or even tripled it. Create a budget and stick to it.
Choose A Theme. Deciding on a theme for your child’s birthday is the first step in creating a party to remember. Having a specific theme in mind will help you stay on target and on budget as you will not be tempted to purchase every cute birthday item you see.
Decide on the Elements You Want To Emphasize. Once you have your theme it can be very easy to get carried away. I find it is even easier to do so especially now that we have Pinterest at our finger tips! Decide on what the most important elements are so you know what to focus on. Personally I focus on the cake and the decorations that will be in the most photos.
Simple Food. Serving simple dishes that can be prepped ahead of time not only relieves pressure on you the day of the party but can be done inexpensively. Buying store brand ingredients instead of name brand, or sticking to the classics of cake and ice cream is even acceptable. Remember this is a birthday party for children, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun.
Games Don’t Need Prizes. Games are a great way to keep birthday party guests entertained. They are fun and keep the party moving along. However, games don’t need prizes. Friendly competition and the joy of the game is all that is really needed.
Skip The Goodie Bags. Goodie bags may sound like a fun idea, but I suggest skipping them. Not only are goodie bags an unnecessary expense, but they are also a lot of work to put together. As a mom whose child has attend several birthday parties, I personally prefer my child not receive goodie bags. They are typically filled with candy, and cheap toys that will be broken or forgotten in a week. Save yourself the time and more importantly the money and spend it in a more important area of the party.
Limit The Number Of Guests. A good rule of thumb on the number of young guests to invite is to stick to the number your child is turning. For example if your child is turning three like mine then only invite 3 pint size party guests. That way you will be able to enjoy the party and your child won’t get overwhelmed by too many playmates. I also suggest that you ask parents to remain at the party when the children are younger than six years old, this makes things easier on you and may be reassuring for little ones not ready to be away from mom or dad.
What are some of your favorite frugal birthday party tips?
Don’t miss out on any of my great tips to help your family
save money, have frugal fun and enjoy life!
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