Want to throw a Birthday Party on a Budget? It's not as hard as you think. Each year, I share photos from my kids' parties, and we have a lot of fun. I basically follow the same formula every year, so I'm sharing my tricks & tips:
Limit the number of guests
A good rule to follow is the age of the child plus one. We've used that for years now, and it always seems to be the right amount. When we do an outing party (like to a local park or bowling), we can only invite the number of kids that fit in the van, so that gives us a small number automatically.
Host in the mid-afternoon
By choosing to have your party at 1:00 or 2:00pm, you can serve just snacks and birthday cake and not have to spend more money on a full meal. This was especially helpful when my children were preschoolers and their guests' parents would stay for the party. My kids get a kick out of picking their own snack foods to fit a theme, like Cat Cookies for our Kitty Cat Party (4yo girls).
Keep the decorations simple
We tend to stick with inexpensive birthday decor, like my reusable Birthday Balloon Wreath on the door, balloon garlands or streamers in the dining room, and a big Happy Birthday banner. Instead of expensive themed cups and plates, we usually buy solid colors and decorate them with stickers or washi tape (or not at all). For my son's Lego Party (6yo boy), we used what we had in the house and made a simple construction paper banner.
Focus on fun
For my twins' 6th birthday, they specifically said, “We just want to have our friends over and play games.” That made for a great Zoo Animal Party. It doesn't have to cost a lot to have fun and make them feel special. That's why you'll see the same games across our parties: simple party games like “Pin the tail on the ____” and Duck, Duck Goose are just right for these ages. We make our own from posterboard or look up party games online instead of spending any money.
We buy most of our party supplies at the Dollar Tree, and if you plan ahead you can shop elsewhere with coupons and sales for very low prices. I always buy Mylar balloons at the dollar store–since they're a dollar–and they cost $4-5 at the party store! For our Western Birthday Party (7yo girls) this spring, I did spend a little money on favor-type items, the bandanas and jump ropes, but they served as the decorations and then the guests got to take them home.
What are some ways you save money on kids' birthday parties?
Image from Alan Cleaver