Monday, January 24, 2011

Hosting a Thrifty Birthday Bash

Like many moms, I want my kids to have a fun birthday party to celebrate their life. After all, I'm really glad God chose to give me my kids. I want them to know they are celebrated.

However, like many moms, I don't have a lot of money to spend on a party. Well, I choose to not spend a lot of money on it. We all choose what we spend money on...but that's another topic.

So, how do you have a fun party and not break the bank?

I'll just share a few things I did for Jenna & Asa's party that I thought added to the fun and excitement but didn't take a lot from my budget.

First, we decided to do a party at home. This was a big debate in my mind this year. After all, turning 5 years old is sort of a milestone birthday to me. It marks the end of your toddler/preschool years and most kids start school when they are 5 (as mine will). It's a big year.

But, due to the cost (I called several places and found that I'd be spending at least $150 if we went to any of the fun spots my kids wanted) and the fact that I'm 9 months pregnant, we decided we would do a party at home. (It would have been much easier to postpone a home party than one planned at a venue with a deposit and date booked.)
Second thing, we decided on a theme. Each of the twins got to pick their own theme. It was quite easy. Jenna has been loving Strawberry Shortcake lately and Asa asked all last year when he could go tour the fire station with his friends (I think this came because his sister had a fire truck come to school and as a consolation I told him he could go take a tour with friends one day; while they forget a lot of things I say, some things stick FOREVER).

So, we would have a Strawberry Shortcake and Firefighter themed party. Yeah--red goes for both. That was a big help!

How do you celebrate two individual people's lives when they are born on the same day? A combo party! We spent the first hour with just girls, the second hour with boys and girls, and the third hour with just boys. The guests came to a 2-hour party that had games for their gender and food. We did the eating all together.
So, frugal tips:
  • treat bags: I got plain red bags and printed a label for each using graphics I found online. I filled the bags with items I purchased last year on clearance or this year on after-Christmas clearance. I found firefighter army guys at the Dollar Store and split the package amongst the boys. Jenna just happened to get firefighter tattoos from the preschool treasure box last week and let me have some for the boys.
  • cake: I bought a box cake mix and tub of icing and made my own. I made Strawberry Shortcake decorative picks using the same graphic I found online and toothpicks. I stuck a firefighter army guy in each of the boys' cupcakes. We had strawberry ice cream along with the cupcakes (and bonus of cutting required).
  • games/activities: I found a Strawberry Shortcake coloring sheet online and printed one for each little girl. We used crayons/markers from our craft cabinet. I painted the girls' nails using pink/red paints I already had in my stash. We watched a short video I borrowed for free from our local rental store. The boys toured the fire station and it was free (plus they got a badge sticker and plastic hat)!
  • decorations: I pulled toys from my kids' rooms. Asa has 2 firefighter dress-up outfits, a big book with a fire truck on the front, and several fire trucks to play with. Jenna got a big Strawberry Shortcake toy in the morning, so I set it up on the table. I set out her Strawberry Shortcake coloring book. I bought 2 red plastic table cloths to cover the tables in our front living room, pulled the 3 red balloons I had from our balloon stash, bought streamers at the Dollar Store, and got red plates, cups, napkins, and utensils from the Dollar Store.
  • food: I ordered 6 pizzas from a local shop that had a 3/$9.99 deal. We served it along with chips and fruit punch (one big gallon was plenty).
My total cost for the kids' party was around $50, which divided by 2 kiddos is a mere $25 each. I'd say it wasn't bad. They had lots of fun and so did their friends. (You could easily save more money by not serving a meal or choosing an even less expensive option, like hotdogs. In addition, treat bags were my fun splurge. I enjoyed putting them together, but it's the first time I've ever done them. When my kids attend parties, I consider that treat enough!)

What's your favorite frugal way to celebrate an event?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is awesome!

    I've struggled with what to do for parties. When I was a kid, we had an at-home party every other year and just invited 1 friend to spend the night on the in-between years.

    It's bothered me that "destination parties" have become all the rage, and I don't want my kids to EXPECT that they will have an incredible party every year. So we've always had ours at home. Until last year, I found out that the local frozen-yogurt-by-the-ounce place had a party room, and it seemed quite affordable. So we had Zoodle's there.

    And this year we wanted a special party for Chickie, at the indoor inflatables place. Honestly I was really surprised at the price. Hubby okayed it though, so we went ahead and reserved it (for next month.)

    But I think they'll each only have those "destination parties" every other year or every few years. In between, at-home parties work, and maybe for Zoodle we could even do park parties sometimes, since his birthday is at a time of year with good weather.

    Sorry so long. :)