Tips for saving money on Birthday Parties (Especially parties for kids) as suggested by the ThriftyFun community.
Michael's! They have those 40-50% off any one item coupons in their ads and you can sign up of additional coupons on their website. You can find great gifts for kids. They have those dollar bins where you can get blank note cards in for "thank yous". Everything you need to make your party decorations, invitations and for a craft at your child's party.
For our daughter's 6th birthday, we did a paint your own clay pot activity, we bought the pots of 33 cents each there.
The dollar store is your best deal. Bright colors make a party. balloons are #1. You can get lots of them in the your color theme. Little girls often like pink and purple and boys like red and blue. Paper streamers hanging across the ceiling give a real party feel and don't forget $1.00 plastic tablecloths which I wipe clean and tape over little holes after a party to reuse. Often, you can buy your paper plates and napkins in a matching color in the dollar store.
I buy one or two large gift bags for table center pieces in the theme of their choice like "Dora" or "Thomas Train". Everything else is just solid colors to match. 2 packages of punch Kool-Aid with a can of frozen lemonade make a gallon of drinks kids love. Simple finger foods and homemade cake for food. Small candies with a bottle of soap bubbles can go into dollar store theme gifts bags.
By Dee Bee
Enlist some help from creative friends and family. If Aunt "So and So" makes awesome cakes then ask her to make the birthday cake as her gift to the birthday person.
I'm not sure exactly how much they saved, and it wasn't a kids party, but I went to a party for a dear friend's 80th birthday. She and her husband held it in their home which was warm and inviting. They didn't decorate beyond their own attractive furnishings and ornaments. There were lots of people there, friends, relatives from overseas, etc.
It was the beautiful simplicity of the arrangement of food that got me. Instead of wearing themselves thin cooking, or having it catered, there was just a large table covered with a while cloth. On the table was a huge haunch of cooked ham, several loaves of crusty bread, butter, pickles, mustard, cheeses, dried apricots, dates, etc. Everyone just cut their own bread and made their own sandwiches.
This was followed by fruit salad and cream, and the birthday cake. It was a lovely, simple meal and a really good night.
I did a 3 year old party, and it was a success, with cake, munchies, decorations, a lot of confetti, and music to "jump" to. You have got to burn that energy up. We also had games, inside and out. Always have a back up rain plan for your party! Pictionary is really popular with the teens and adults.
I always begin with a party budget allowance, and try hard to stay in it. You can really go overboard with party buying. Then I create lists for a party: food list, game list, decoration list and a guest list.
Don't forget to send out your invitations in plenty of time, we like to send ours out at least 2 weeks ahead of time, sometimes 3 weeks or a month if your guest lives out of state.
I try to have plenty of fun too while I work. Kids know when it's "work" for you, and you're all stressed out. I like to do as much as possible ahead of time, and I like to also delegate some of the work. For example, get someone else to do the cake. Get the kids to do the decorating, teens like this.
It also helps to have phone numbers for small kids, and a first aid kit on the side for any age.
If you plan to do something that takes a particular outfit, like a hay ride, or a finger painting contest for the smaller kids, always state on the invitation to bring a cover shirt, or wear casual clothes for the hayride for example. My kids love to know ahead of time when something unusual is planned so they can dress appropriate.
And above all, have fun, control the disagreements between the kids, and encourage them to have fun.
The younger to teens love bag races, and the teens love pie eating contest, and apple dunking. Keep plenty of activities, but not too much. You want to keep the party moving. Don't let the party last too late, or you'll have some tired grumpy kids on your hands.
Make sure with younger kids, they're rides are pre-arranged. Even if you have to make a list for that.
I buy all my parties supplies (along with other things) from Oriental Trading. They are the cheapest I've found to date. So much more for your $$$.
When its time for one of my kids to celebrate a birthday I always use the dollar stores. I visit several local stores until I find a "theme" that works. Then I get all the supplies there.
We always make the birthday cake. It is a fun family tradtion. It's fun to think up ways to decorate the cake according to that years theme.
We don't hand out goody bags typically. Sometimes I get punch balloons for the kids there. But we usually just play outside on the trampoline, swingset, sandbox or kiddie pool.
Having friends bring things always cuts down on costs too. (Only if they offer to bring something!) One family brings chips and salsa, one family brings soda, ect.
We have party at "off" times so we don't have to cook a meal for everyone. That cuts costs as well.
I have no problem buying used toys for the birthday child either, if they are in good shape. The kids don't know the difference and you can save lots of money. I have found great deals on e-bay this way. Sometimes in salvation army or goodwill you can find toys still in boxes!
We mostly decorate with balloons, crepe paper and homemade signs. If you do an internet search you can sometimes find free printable decorations that go with the theme.
I have heard of some people making coloring books for each child there in the same way. Search for free coloring pages that go with your theme.
For my daughter's 7th BD party, I went to the thrift shop and bought a bag full of cool 'dress-up' clothes, added some of my own, and then had a relay race with the girls at the party. It was so much fun that the younger brothers even joined in! Put together two sets of clothing choices, and make a race for each person to put on a certain number of clothes, take them off and tag the next person in line. Didn't cost much, but was that ever fun! Make sure to get some great pumps and hats and have your camera ready to capture the outfits the kids create.
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Baker's Coconut published a cut-up cake book that I found fit any kind of birthday party I wanted to throw for my two boys. You baked cake mix in standard size cake pans and then cut them up to specifications to make different shapes. Of course, they always suggested using coconut in the icing, but you didn't have to. Food coloring worked just as well with plain icing.
For a blindfolded pinning game, I just used poster board to draw something that went with the theme to tape on the wall. Then I used more poster board to draw on and cut out whatever thing on the drawing was missing for the blindfolded pinning.
By Vivian P.