Sunday, April 18, 2010

Big Birthday on a Small Budget

We just celebrated our daughter's 5th Birthday. She had a blast and I think she will remember it for a long time.

This year our birthday celebration budget was smaller than ever before. So, I had to get creative in ways to celebrate this milestone birthday.

1. Party at Home. Instead of having a party at a location (i.e. Chuck E Cheese) we decided to have an "old fashion" birthday party at home. We played games like duck, duck goose, Red Rover, Simon Says, and we had a pinata. Exactly when was it decided that every child's birthday had to be celebrated at an expensive venue?

2. Use Evite for invitations. I sent out electronic invitations using the FREE website, Evite. No cost for invitations or postage. Evite lets you customize your invitation to any event, including letting you use your own pictures. It also has a function that lets you keep track of all the RSVPs. And, automatically sent out a reminder to the invitees a couple of days before the event.

3. Homemade Birthday Cake/Cupcakes. Using cake mix that I paid .25 cents after a coupon and sale at Publix and FREE frosting from a different sale, my sister made a beautiful cupcake/cake creation. She actually made a couple of designs. The one picture above with vanilla cupcakes and one with chocolate cupcakes arranged in the shape of Mickey Mouse! The whole thing cost about $2.00!

4. Snack food and drinks from sales. I began to stock up on soda and snack food items back in February when I could find them on sale. We had potato chips, tortilla chips with Rotel Dip, veggie tray, cheese, rice krispie treats , cheese & crackers and marinated meatballs all for about $20.

5. Generic party paper products. Instead of buying the trademarked themed paper plates, cups, party hats, etc, this year I purchased generic "princess" themed party items from Dollar General. Each pack was about a dollar each, but then I used a special coupon that DG put out for 20% off your total purchase. They worked just as well, and my daughter was very happy with them -- they were pink and purple, her favorite!

6. Make your own decorations. We are always making arts & craft projects around my house. So, I decided, why not turn some of those crafts into birthday decorations? We made flowers and butterflies, hung them with curling ribbon from the ceiling for decorations. My sister brought over some streamers and balloons to add to the decorations and it made for quite a festive environment.

7. Free Kids Music. We pulled up I-Tunes and played kids songs that we had downloaded for free. Keep an eye out for places like Amazon, where they will often offer legal free music downloads (particularly kids music) for a limited time. We have over a hundred kids songs that we've downloaded for free - legally!

8. Inexpensive Goody Bags. Goody bags can be a budget buster for sure! Just the pre-printed bags themselves that are in the birthday aisle are several dollars for a small quantity. I purchased a pack of 50 white paper lunch bags (in the paper/plastic wrap aisle at Wal-Mart) for $1.50. We decorated them with crayons, markers and stickers we already had. I went to the "Everything's a Dollar" store and purchased multi packs of toy items like crayons, spinners, and other items that I could break up and put in each bag. I also purchased a box of individual snack items and mini juice boxes, and put one in each bag. Wallah! Each child got a goody bag full of exciting things that cost me about a $1.50 a bag.

So, you can have a great kid's party on a small budget. It does take some creative thinking, and some advance planning. But, it was totally worth it to us!

If you've got a creative and inexpensive idea for a kid's party, let me know! The next one will be here before we know it!

This is link to Works For Me Wednesday hosted by We Are That Family



Blogger Smart Money Mom said...

Great ideas! We recently did my girlie's 5th birthday at home too! The dollar store Dollar Tree had tons for a luau we did!

April 21, 2010 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Kaye said...

Great ideas!

April 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Lori Yoder said...

That is an adorable cake! I just did a Cinderella/Barbie cake for my littlest one who just turned 4. There are so many memories from doing it yourself!

What a great post! I'd love it if you'd link to my Tuesday's Tips at

April 21, 2010 at 2:22 PM  
Blogger The Activity Mom said...

Good thinking to plan ahead for snacks months in advance!!!

April 21, 2010 at 9:59 PM  

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