If you have kids, then you probably know that birthday parties can end up taking a good chunk out of your wallet. After you buy the decorations, food, presents, a cake… you could easily spend $200 or more. Here are some tips to help you stick to your budget and still give your child the party they deserve:
- Set a budget and stick to it! Start by looking over your finances for the month and figuring out what you can reasonably afford to spend. From there you can prioritize what you NEED to buy and what you don’t.
- Plan ahead. Talk to your child (or your spouse if the child is too young to have much of a say in the matter) and figure out how many people you’ll be inviting, a theme, whether you’ll be serving a meal or snack etc and compile a list of everything you’ll need to purchase. This keeps you from buying things on a whim that may not be necessary.
- Make the cake yourself. Making a cake isn’t rocket science! If you’re not much of a baker, use a mix. As for decorating the cake, there are so many ready-made decorations and icings you can buy these days that you don’t have to be a semi-professional to make a nice looking cake. I always make cupcakes. I can’t ice a cake to save my life but piping out icing onto a cupcake is super simple (I use a ziploc bag with the corner cut off). You can co-ordinate the colour of the icing to the theme of the party and you’ll always look like a pro.
- Limit your guest list– You don’t actually have to invite the entire class or daycare to the party. Figure out who your child’s closest friends are (I always say 1 for each year your child is old) and invite them. Some feelings might get hurt, but kids are resilient. Grandparents and close family friends are a must and can also help keep young kids entertained.
- Avoid party stores- Okay, maybe you don’t need to avoid them altogether, but definitely don’t buy all of your decorations there. I like to pick out 2 or 3 key items such as 1 set of plates, party hats and a banner then I go to the dollar store to find the rest in colours that match the other items. You’ll get your theme across without being too matchy and you’ll save a ton of money. A set of 10 paper plates at a party store can cost $5 when you can get them at the dollar store for $1 or $2.
- Have your party before or after meal-times- Having a party at 10 or 2 implies that meals will not be served. You can still set out a nice selection of snacks and have a cake but you won’t need to spend a ton of time or money buying a full meal for everyone.
- Don’t stress too much- This isn’t a money saving tip but maybe a headache saving one. Parties are supposed to be fun… for everyone involved! Don’t overwhelm yourself with tasks and try to get in on some of the fun being had. They’re only young for such a short amount of time. Enjoy it!