Thursday, June 2, 2011

Party on a Budget

It's time for me to start planning another birthday party. Since that's what's happening around here-and we're always on a budget-I figured I'd share some of our ideas with you. We've always had our parties at home, at least up to this point it's been cheaper that way. I know we're currently an extreme example on these things, but we keep all our party expenses (including gifts) under $100. So, it's TIGHT to have a lot of people over, give them some food and enjoy celebrating our kids' special days. The good news is that it can be done! :)

Here's some ideas:

1. Keep the food simple and cheap
-For my daughter's party we did a light lunch buffet with several selections, some fresh fruit and veggie trays, mini sandwiches, dips and pita chips, crackers and cream cheese dips--that sort of thing. It turned out to be a wonderful selection and all were yummy!

-You can also keep the food in line with your party's theme to minimize some of the selection/expense. Our son's party will be an All-Star Theme, so it'll be a brats/hot dog kind of dinner. We'll try to keep all the food selections along that theme. The great thing about it being summer is that all those types of ingredients will be on sale and a lot of fresh fruit/veggies are in season! yay!

2. Decorating on the cheap
-Two words: Dollar Tree! You can get so many great decorations along a specific theme at the dollar store. They also have the paper goods, table cloths and treats for kids' goodie bags.

-We've added our own homemade decorations too or used things we've already got to add to the theme for the party. I also like to keep the goodie treats to coordinate with the decor, so as they sit out they add to the pretty/theme-feel of the room/space.

3. Keep it homemade
-Almost everything in our parties is made my me, from the food to the cake. Cakes can be extremely expensive, especially for the really elaborate ones. So I took a cake decorating class a couple years ago and have been making and decorating my kid's cakes ever since. The ingredients for a homemade cake (once you have the decorating supplies) is easily less then $5! Once you've got a few basic skills you can make it up as you go along from there if you have a creative gene! :) Otherwise, maybe a friend or family member would like to do the cake as part of their gift to your child.

4. Make it special and meaningful
-There are ways to make a party special without spending any money. I like to decorate with a lot of pictures of the kid's year. It doesn't cost me anything, but it adds to the atmosphere. I also like to have their scrapbooks out because people love looking through them and finding memories that they've shared with us throughout the year.

-Having a few favorite games or toys out as part of the decor or plan for the party adds more to the 'special' factor too. In a lot of ways the meaningful elements help put the party over the top, and it's the free stuff! :)

5. Buy it on clearance/Plan ahead
-If you know what you're going to be doing, even months ahead of time, you can be looking for things and can wait for them to go on clearance. I did a lot of this this year, because I knew what our parties would be I've had time to buy things along the way and not doing it all the week or two before the party.

I also came across this article that has some more money saving ideas.

What do you do to keep your party expenses down? I'm open to hearing all kinds of ideas while I'm busying planning my son's bday party this month!


  1. This year I did virtual thank-you's to save on mailing.

  2. I often times do evites too, always help save!


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