Is it just me or is there an unwritten rule in the parenting handbook that says you must throw your child a birthday party bigger than their friends? Maybe it’s the 11th commandment and I just missed learning that in Sunday school? “Thou shalt out do thy neighbors parties.” Okay so maybe not, but the pressure to throw totally awesome and kickin birthday parties has definitely been increased as my child gets older. Unfortunately for my daughter? I’m so cheap that cheap. (That is an insult to some people, but honestly? I wear it like a badge). That’s why I’ve gotten to a point where as long as my kid has fun? I’m good with whatever party she has and I’ve gotten very, very good at throwing kids birthday parties on a dime.
The one thing I want you to remember is that your kids birthday parties are not about impressing the neighbors or their kids. You’re not throwing the party for them, are you? No, of course not. You’re throwing the birthday party for your child. Make it about that and don’t worry about what everyone else has to say.
Go for free – When you’re deciding where to have your party at? Go for the free location. Places like the city park, the church fellowship hall and even your own backyard will save you a ton over paying for a location. You can still do the fun stuff, but you won’t be spending a boatload to do it.
Skip the full meal – You are already providing fun activities, cake and maybe even ice cream for your attendees. There is no reason that you need to provide a full meal too. Instead, hold your party after lunch so that everyone coming has already eaten and skip paying for a meal for 20. If you do insist on serving real food, make it something cheap like hot dogs and hamburgers or ask a trusted friend or family member to bring a dish to help.
Plan the party elsewhere – My Emma always wants to have her birthday party at the local skating rink or bowling alley and while that’s awesome? I don’t have the budget to pay for more than a few kids to go skating or bowl. I also don’t want to disappoint her. To compromise, she picks 2-3 close friends and they get to go with her after the party for a play date. This keeps my costs down, still allows her to have fun and since it isn’t publicly announced, there aren’t any hurt feelings because someone didn’t get to go.
Skip buying the cake – NO. I do NOT mean to not have one. What I mean is that you shouldn’t buy it. Instead, make it yourself. If you’re worried about your decorating skills, Cake Central is one of my favorite sites to visit and is packed with recipes, decorating tips and more.
Go easy on the gifts – Your kids get a lot of gifts at Christmas and other times throughout the year. Go easy on their birthday. They don’t need an entire table of gifts and chances are that your budget can’t afford that. Instead, buy them one big gift and call it good.
Decorate on the cheap – Dollar Tree is fantastic for picking up party decorations and you can generally pick up everything you would need there. Balloons, streamers, tablecloths and more can all be picked up for just $1.00 each. They are the same exact products that other stores sell for $3-$4.00 each.
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