All parents want their children to have a good time on their birthdays even when money is scarce. When money’s tight, some parents may be tempted to spend more than they can afford to make their children’s dreams come true. However, you do not need to do all this; you can still throw a birthday party and have calm nerves with a low budget.
Here are some tips that will come in handy when planning birthday parties on a shoestring budget:
Start planning your child’s party several months in advance to avoid the dreaded last minute rush. When you are scrambling to buy supplies, decorations and favors at the last minute, you will spend much more. Allow yourself enough time to shop around for the best prices and discounts. Make sure that you use coupons or cash back program for any shopping you do. In this digital age, it is possible to download the apps right to your Smartphone: RetailMeNot and Coupon Sherpa are just two of many and I recently learned about Be Frugal which gives you cash back on purchases at major retailers like Walmart.
Keep the menu simple
According to the owners of Sweet Services “candy is the ultimate treasure for any kid.” Do not worry about coming up with a sophisticated menu for your child’s birthday party. What children really want is a ton of candy. Parents may be less then thrilled with this so be sure to have some protein as well. If you are having an outdoor party, just throw some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill. At our last party we got a platter from Chic-Fila – YUM!!
In terms of beverages, avoid juice boxes and soda since you’re already loading them up on sugar. I would offer water and if it’s hot outside you can just whip up some lemonade and serve it in a pitcher. Make sure that you buy your food in bulk to save on money and use coupons. Click and print coupons are easy to find online. Coupons.com and Grocery Coupon Network are two I use. So there’s no reason to do the grocery shopping without coupons!
Send digital invites
Although some hosts (me!) prefer to send paper invites because of their personal touch, digital invites are just as effective in delivering the message. If you are on a tight budget, find a great photo and send out digital invites. To create an e-invite you can use sites such as Paperless Post or Evite, which has a free option.
Look for cheap venues
Venues can be very expensive and others book out months in advance. Ideally you’ll find a cheap venue or better yet a free one. Is your backyard large enough to throw a party? The savings will be huge if you have the party at home. If your house is not large enough, would a friend or relative’s host it? My favorite option is to reserve space at a local park. Playground parties are simply the best! The kids run free and my house doesn’t get trashed.
Do not rent, borrow
If you’re planning a huge party, renting chairs and tables may be required and can be costly. I would avoid rentals if you’re on a budget but you could borrow your friends and family. If none of them has enough chairs and tables for the whole guest list, how about mixing them up? Mismatched tables and chairs at a child’s birthday are considered cute. Maybe use boldly colored streamers and balloons to tie it all together and conceal the different colors and styles.
Set up cheap games and activities
Games and activities are what set your child’s party apart. If the games are not different and special, the kids may feel like it’s just another day. Before deciding which activities to include maybe get some input from the children, including yours. Consider the age of the children who will be attending and find activities that are suitable for a wide span of developmental levels, nothing competitive. Games that allow the kids to get messy like an “Eat the whipped cream” contest or “Slime bucket relay” are always smile-makers!
Are you planning your kid’s birthday party when you have little to spare? Do not fret; if it’s about having fun your child will love it. Make sure that your child knows your plans, where you will be holding the party, etc. so they are not surprised. Excitement overload can get them slightly off balance and cause a tantrum on the day of the party.