All 3 of my kiddos have birthdays right around the holidays. This makes my bank account during the holiday months look pretty sad, but I have come up with a few ways to save on birthday parties to help stay in budget.
First, it is okay to not give your children the same type of party. Pick milestone years, some years one child can have a small party while your other child can have a larger one. As your child grows you can also give them options. I have gotten away with my oldest opting for $200 rather than a party several times, and we all know $200 is way less than a party these days.
Picking a location
For smaller parties Chuck-E-Cheeses, Peter Piper Pizza or similar work great. Let them handle the food, entertainment and clean up. For a larger party, hosting it at your home if possible is a great way to save.
Use center pieces that you can give away, or that you already have. I like to use books for my younger children’s parties and give them away to our guests as party favors. The dollar stores tend to have a good variety of popular characters most of the time. You could also use marketplace on Facebook. I’ve found that so many people have left over party items or items they used and no longer have any use for.
If you are having a party at your home or place that you need to provide food for, think of convenience and bang for your buck. Our go-to party foods are hotdogs, pulled pork, chips, and nacho cheese. You can buy them all in bulk at Sam’s or Costco and pork is very inexpensive, tasty and feeds a lot of guests. These items also are easy to make, so no need to be slaving away all day on food.
If at all possible, make your own cake and/or cupcakes. There are several YouTube videos and how-tos on Pinterest. You can also find figurines of almost all the popular characters on eBay or amazon and just stick them on top. I tend to stick with cupcakes for younger kids, and an added bonus with that is you don’t have to worry about cake plates, forks or cutting. Another option, or add on, to your table could be a donut cake, which in my experience has always been a hit for less than $10!
For your parties at Chuck E Cheese’s, Peter Piper etc. just stick with what they have. There is no reason to spend money on characters to come and do shows because the kids already have entertainment available. If you are having an at home party try to utilize what you already have. We had an “official teenage” birthday party and we just had various activities and games available for them. We set up a basketball hoop, volleyball net, put out a few footballs, a giant Jenga we made ourselves, and a little set up for s’mores. This was more than enough to keep the kids entertained. The key is to try and use items you already have in the garage or backyard, or spend a little money on items you can keep and re-use for future parties. There is no need to go out and rent multiple items for just a few hours.
With 3 kids ranging between the ages of 4 to 13 it’s safe to say I’ve planned my fair share of birthday parties! These are just a few tips and tricks I have learned over the years. Don’t get me wrong, I have gone way above and beyond on many parties before, but I have also learned where and how I can save a few hundred dollars along the way. If only I knew then what I know now!
I hope these simple tips can help you stay on budget for your next party!