Sometimes it seems like you’re just getting back on financial track from the Christmas season when your child’s birthday hits. There’s a lot of pressure to make a child’s birthday party an epic extravaganza these days, but if you have several kids, it can all add up to too much, too fast.
Being frugal doesn’t mean your child’s party can’t be fun. Here are some ideas for how to provide a memorable birthday without wiping out your bank account:
Think carefully about where to host
Hosting the party at your own home is always a free option, but if your place isn’t big enough, know that it’s not your only option.
Many local parks allow you to host parties for free. In some cases, there may be a small fee. But as long as you’re a member of the local community, it shouldn’t be too expensive.
A park gives you plenty of room to spread out and often also has rain-friendly areas like pavilions and cooking facilities. It may take a bit more organization to have a party here than at a play center, but what you expend in planning effort, you’ll more than make up for in savings.
Save the expense for just one thing
If you want to have a truly epic party but you also want to save money, spend your money on just one big ticket item and do the rest yourself. You could rent a meltdown inflatable that provides the kids with hours of obstacle fun while making your own decorations and simple food.
Often, it’s the cake or cupcakes that can get really expensive, especially if parents don’t think they know how to decorate them “professionally”. But even the most inexpensive box mix cakes can be dressed up with just a little help and practice.
Make a pact with other parents
If your child has some really close friends and the families all know each other fairly well, don’t be afraid to be open and honest about party expenses. Chances are that other families are struggling as much as you are.
Some things you might agree to could include a spending limit for presents, shared snack or food expenses for every party, or that families “go dutch” in paying for parties at spots like an arcade or a pizza place.
Choose a theme wisely
Some themes are very expensive, especially if they’re connected to recent movies or pop culture events. Other themes can be very cheap, especially if you let the kids make their own decorations as part of the fun.
With just some generic yellow and blue decorations and tableware, you can have a Despicable Me minions party, for example. Instead of buying expensive themed decorations, have the kids make their own minions with cardboard, paper bags, markers, and cut outs.
Plan well in advance
Another way to save on your child’s birthday is to think out what you’re going to do well in advance. If the party is on your mind, you’ll be able to stock up on sale items when you see them instead of paying top dollar later.
If you have plenty of time to plan, you’ll also have plenty of time to design nice, free digital invitations or make your own paper invitations to hand deliver. There will also be time to think about what you have around the house that you can put to good use, and ask for help if you need it.
There’s no reason your child’s birthday party needs to empty your savings account. By planning carefully, you can put together an epic blowout, and no one will guess how frugal you really are.