How to Throw the Ultimate Kid Birthday Party — On a Budget!

birthday party on a budget

Welcome summertime birthday parties!

As a mom of six kids, five of which are school-age, I know the peer pressure to throw the most amazing birthday party ever. However, my budget doesn’t always agree with the pressures. In fact, most of the time it sends me “Warning!”, “May-Day!”, and “Man-overboard!” messages.

But I still have a strong desire to pull of a birthday party full of giggles, lifetime memories and full tummies. Is it possible?

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The busyness of life often overwhelms us parents. Thinking about planning a birthday party with frugality and fun as the main goals seems too much to process during the rush-modes of life with kids.

Unfortunately, some of us fall into a financial pit around birthdays. We convince ourselves that these parties only happen once a year — so go all out!

But once the candles are blown out, the presents ripped into and the treat bags devoured, reality sets in.

“Did I just spend $500 on my child’s birthday party?” we may ask ourselves.

Mortgages bills, car payments, clothing needs and other expenses suddenly flood the our minds and once again, stress sets in.

Here are some tips to live-by and to share with your friends and family before they too over-spend their budget for their child’s next birthday celebration!

  • Think Home-made! Ever heard people brag about how good a home-made cake tastes? They are moist and the flavor choices are endless. If you’re not that brave, grab a box of cake mix, frosting and add some sprinkles. Simple cake kits that provide top-notch decorations are available at most bakeries. You just have to ask!
  • Forget the bounce house! Bouncy slides and castles are popular, but way out of the budget for a financially savvy party. Be the rule-breaker mom and actually plan some activities and games that kids will remember!
  • Need some game ideas?

    • Balloon stomp. Tie a balloon around each child’s ankle with a string. Let each child then begin stomping each other’s balloon and the last person left with a balloon wins!
    • Princess, Princess, Queen. Having a Princess party? Have all the little princesses sit in a circle and hand a jeweled toy scepter or wand to a child. That child will walk around the circle saying, “Princess, Princess, Queen!” Whoever is declared queen chases the first child and tags her before she returns to her original spot. This is a fun twist on the classic “Duck, Duck, Goose!” game.
    • Princess Gown Contest. Separate birthday guests into two groups. Have each group pick on “model.” Then, all the other girls will make the perfect princess gown for the model out of toilet paper. The most regal dress wins!
    • Batting contest. Grab a few bats, balls and load up the bases. Keep batting scores and reward the the guest with the most hits! Then, start a home-run derby contest.
    • Plan ahead. One of the greatest enemies of frugal living is not making thoughtful preparations. Mom forgets to cook dinner, and the family orders take-out. Christmas rushes in and purchases are made on a whim. Don’t let this happen with your child’s birthday party. Plan the guest lists, food, activities, decorations and everything in between. Don’t make the last-minute impulse buys and decisions!
    • Keep it simple. Concerning decorations, simplicity is always best. Grab some balloons, streamers and a birthday banner. These are all relatively cheap and easy-to-find in almost any theme imaginable. Keep cloth tablecloths on hand for occasions such as this. Choosing neutral colors that can blend in with almost every occasion is best.
    • Take up offers! When it comes to parties, most family members love to jump in and help. If someone offers, don’t push them away! Any contribution will make this event more affordable.
    • Portion control! Don’t forget that most of the attendees at a child’s party are kids. They do not eat as much as adults. Plus they will be having fun with their friends and enjoying the birthday cake. Prepare the kids’ plates with smaller portions in mind and invite any hungrier guests to come back for seconds after everyone else has enjoyed their part.

    How do you fit your child’s birthday celebrations into your frugal-living budget? Leave your ideas in the comments section below!

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