Today is my little ones 4th birthday. I absolutely cannot believe it! I just want to take it all in and savor each and every moment. This little guy has a smile that lights up a room and it is truly a blessing to be his mom.
Yesterday we had a small party at home to celebrate. We invited family and a few friends to join us. It was absolutely raining cats and dogs here yesterday and I found myself grateful that it wasn’t snow! Despite everyone getting a bit soaked and wet coats hanging everywhere everything turned out great and a wonderful time was had by all.
1. Keep decorations simple. My little one loves Minions so we wanted to have a little fun with that. We used a Minion banner and dinner napkins. We purchased some balloons that coordinated. I added a few bunches of flowers throughout the house. Fresh flowers have a way of making any space feel special. Total cost for decorations about $15.00. Pinterest is a great resource for free printable pages you can use as decorations. I have found everything from water bottle wraps, cupcake toppers, banners, and more doing a simple theme search.
2. Skip the expensive store bought cake. I made cupcakes from a box of cake mix and topped them with homemade buttercream frosting. I also baked a plate of sugar cookies for those non cake eaters using ingredients we always have on hand. Two dozen cupcakes and a plate of sugar cookies cost me about $5.00 to make. I used cupcake liners, sprinkles, and sugar I keep in my baking supplies that were purchased with coupons at the craft store. A store bought cake and cookies would have easily cost me over $25.00.
3. Have a simple menu, ask for help, and shop ahead. My husband and I decided to have a pizza party as it is a favorite of my little one. We budgeted in advance for this since we knew it would be our highest cost. We ordered from our local pizza parlor using a coupon sent in the mail. To really save money you could skip the meal and have a strictly cake and ice cream party!
My menu for this party: pizza, salad, fruit, appetizers and dessert. I had lots of family members offer to bring something and I took them up on it! My mom and SIL each brought an appetizer. My sister brought fruit, and another SIL brought a salad. They were all more than happy to help out this way and I will return the favor at one of their parties. The savings to us because of their generosity was huge!
I purchased cake mix, 2 liter bottles of soda, and juice boxes while they were on sale at Christmas time. I added sliced lemons to a pitcher of spring water instead of individual bottles. Perhaps consider purchasing other items or ingredients you know you will need for your party while they are on sale and set them aside. Maybe you could skip soda and juice and have homemade ice tea or lemonade instead.
4. Keep paper goods basic. Better yet skip them when possible. If you are having a small party use your everyday plates and glasses. If your party is a little larger and you are purchasing disposables buy basics. We used simple white paper plates, and plastic utensils purchased in bulk from Sam’s. These have lasted me a long time! I did purchase some solid colored cups for drinks, as well as solid colored appetizer plates and napkins that coordinated with our decorations. These were very inexpensive at the dollar store. All leftovers will be added to our party supply box and used at another time. By purchasing simple paper goods I can stretch their usability over multiple occasions.
5. Skip the treat bags. I admit on occasion that I have created treat bags for the kids to take with them. All told they are really a waste of money. The gesture is really meant to be a thank you, but let’s face it- most parents don’t want to bring home more little trinkets. Instead I sent leftover cookies and cupcakes home with those kiddos whose parents said it was okay. If you really want to have a treat bag consider skipping the dollar store toys and create something on your own.
Do you have any money saving tips or traditions for birthday parties? I would love to hear them!