25 Jan Tips to Throw a Kids’ Birthday Party on a Budget
Want to throw your child an awesome party without breaking the bank? We’ve got you covered! Here are our best tips for sticking to a budget at your next bash.
1. Timing is everything. Plan your party from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., says Danielle Walker, author of Against All Grain: Celebrations. After lunch and before dinner is the best time to party, when guests don’t expect a full meal.
2. Stretch your planning. Start supply-hunting early; it’ll give you time to comparison shop. Plus, you’ll save yourself from running out at the last minute to buy overpriced things you’ve forgotten. “I’m on the lookout all year for party items that go on sale, usually in the dollar bin at Target, Dollar Tree, or the 99-cent store,” says Helen Holden, author of the blog Counting Candles.
3. Go digital. In a Parents survey of nearly 1,500 parents, 73 percent of you said you sent paper invitations for your kid’s last birthday party. Next time, send your guests a free electronic invitation; you’ll save what you’d normally spend on paper invites.
4. Double up. If your kid’s birthday falls close to a buddy’s, consider a dual party. You and the other child’s parents will split the cost—and responsibilities. Just make sure each kid gets her own cake.
5. Avoid party-store traps. Don’t pay a markup for party-store items that you could find elsewhere for less. For example, chocolates may be sold five for $1 (20 cents each) at party shops, but a bag of minis from a big-box store can be half as much.
6. Tap your network. For entertainment, think about your personal connections and community resources, suggest Steve and Annette Economides, of MoneySmartFamily.com. For example, the couple once asked a friend who is a police officer to come to one of their son’s parties in uniform; likewise, their local college has bowling lanes where rounds were less than half the price of the commercial bowling alley.
7. Opt out. When kids are still little, consider skipping a traditional birthday party altogether, suggests Simple Matters author Erin Boyle. “My husband and I celebrated our daughter’s first birthday with a picnic.”