First birthdays are a fun and important milestone for a little one as well as mommy and daddy. That doesn’t mean that the party you throw for your child’s first birthday needs to be an epic undertaking. The cost doesn’t have to be epic either.
Limited Number Of Guests
The first birthday is the only birthday you can really get away with having a small party. Chances are your one year old hasn’t made very many friends and ones he or she has made won’t even remember ( or feel hurt because) they weren’t invited to a party. Their parents won’t raise to much of an eyebrow when you declare that it’s just going to be a small family get together. When they hit two you may have to invite your whole play group, but for now you can keep the memories to the family in town.
Make The Cake
Buy a cake mix and make the cake. Your child most likely doesn’t need the extra sugary goodness of a store bought cake anyway. You can control cake size or make cupcakes. You can control the type and amount of frosting that goes on it. Plus your little one year old will give you as many great, messy, pictures you your photo album with a cake mix cake as they would have with a store ought cake.
Don’t Go Crazy With Presents
Your child is at an age where boxes hold just as much of their interest as what’s inside them. In fact I have seen a one year old unwrap an empty box and proceed to play with the excitement as though they had received the latest fad toy. Just be sure that the toy is age appropriate and easy to clean. Little sticky hands will be all over the place today.
When a child has a birthday around here it’s a big deal. Sometimes however, when mom has a birthday those little life necessities take the front seat. That doesn’t mean that I can’t still have a great birthday. It just means that I need to be smart about it.
The Kitchen Spa
There many little spa treatments on the internet that don’t take more than what I have in my kitchen. In fact picking up a few items at the grocery store wouldn’t hurt my budget for a little pampering. I’m not talking about the latest and greatest massage pillow. I’m talking about little things like an avocado, oatmeal, and honey. Even a little powdered milk for a milk bath would be fun. It’s won’t cost much and I still get a spa day for my birthday.
What The Kids Want To Do
Let’s face it. As we get older we lose our fun. We become self conscious or don’t have time or (heaven forbid) become too mature for that nonsense. Children have a way of bringing the fun back into our lives. They know how to party too. They dance with no fear, are full of belly laughs, and remind us that music is more than just a cultural experience.
Shut The Door
This one is kind of the opposite of the last one, but for the evening I plan to let my husband spend some quality time with our son while I lock the door on the bathroom and enjoy a good book and bubble bath.
Create a Wish List
I like to window shop. I know that I can’t afford everything I want right this moment. Over time however I can pick off some of the things that I added to my birthday list. After all I’m my new age all year. I don’t have to even leave the house to do this. I just hop online and visit my favorite store websites.
Regardless of the necessities in life I can always afford a little chocolate on my birthday. 😉
My daughter just turned 2. She’s the most fabulous little girl in the world. I just adore her. She’s sweet, she’s funny and she’s just nice to be around. We really enjoy her. However, when she was born it was scary. She had some major health problems that led to an early delivery and 3 week NICU stay. So when I’ve celebrated her two birthdays, I was celebrating too making it through a scary time in our lives.
Which is why I decided to go WAY out for her 2nd birthday. I’ll be honest and say it was more for me since she’ll never remember it. But she’ll have pictures which you’ll see below. I decided to throw her a “Milk and Cookies” themed birthday party. Pinterest gave me a thousand ideas and about 4 months ago I started planning. Which is also the number 1 way to save money–plan way ahead!
Her party was incredible. We pulled out all the stops and it looked like we spent a fortune, but I put my Thrifty Diva money saving skills into use. Here are some things I did that will help you too.
1. Plan ahead. Like I said, last minute planning will cost you extra. You don’t have time to shop around and you can’t find sale items last minute usually.
2. DIY-Do it yourself! Or get a friend to. I have a friend who is crazy, awesome creative and made every one of my daughter’s amazing decorations. I didn’t buy one thing for decorations. She did everything from the banner to the little cookie labels. It looked like it was all out of a magazine. You could not have bought better stuff and it was all personalized. I am totally not crafty at all, but thankfully my friends are and will help. I bet your friends will help too!
3. Cook it yourself. This is pretty obvious, but it’s cheaper to make the food yourself. I made my new favorite appetizer. Three words that will change your life, BACON. WRAPPED. LITTLE SMOKIES. You’re welcome for this party in your mouth. It’s the best and were gone in 5 minutes flat. The only embarrassing thing is that people can count your toothpicks to see how many you’ve had :/.
4. Skip the invites. Everyone is on Facebook, and that’s free. It will save you $10-$20. I didn’t hear any complaints.
5. Try to get discounts. I am very fortunate to be a professional photographer and know a lot of vendors. I really wanted a crazy awesome professional cake and my favorite vendor gave me a discount for being a fellow vendor. You may not be in the same situation as I am, but maybe you have other people that will give you discounts for another reason. Don’t be afraid to ask professionals to barter with you if you do anything to trade for.
Now for my favorite part, all the pretty pictures!
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I’m in the middle of planning my daughter’s 3rd birthday party and am amazed by how easily the costs add up. Everything from invitations to party favors to food and decorations. Here are a few tips if you, like me, have to plan a birthday party on a budget.
Make Your Own Invitations
My daughter is obsessed with Veggie Tales at this point in her life. So, I decided we’d go ahead and have a Veggie Tales-themed party. Because Veggie Tales is so popular, it makes it easy to just buy everything (and spend much more money than necessary) but it also makes it easy to make your own. I found several good websites that had the Veggie characters with printable invitations, thank you notes, etc. So, I found a Bob and Larry template, filled it out, printed it out and, in almost no time and no money had myself cute little invitations to hand out to my daughter’s friends. Meanwhile, she is so proud of her birthday party invitations!
Party foods can be made at home at a fraction of what it costs to buy. Vegetable trays, fruit kabobs, sandwiches, mini-pizzas and, of course, cake can all be both healthier and less expensive when you make them yourself. It does take planning if you’re doing it alone. But, it’s worth the effort.
The internet has made party planning so easy. Because we are having a Veggie Tales party, I could do a search and find so many ideas for all age ranges for a Veggie Tales party. I can draw a huge Bob (the tomato) on red poster board and cut out little round noses to play “Pin the Nose on Bob” simply because I saw that others have done likewise. We’ll also hold “Veggie Races” where the children will each have a potato on their backs as they race (while crawling and trying to keep that potato from falling) to the finish line. These games will cost next to nothing.
My son is going to be three in April, so of course like a good mommy, I am planning. There is a place in our town much like a Chuck e Cheese. My son LOVES this place and they have awesome little themed party rooms, plus pizza and they will even provide your very own Cold Stone cake. Sounds really awesome doesn’t it? But it’s expensive! The price is $14 per child or adult for food, games and admittance to the fun zone. When you add together 20-25 adults and children, that’s quite a bill for a party for a three-year-old.
So now, I am on a mission to save money for this party any way I can. Here are some tips to save money for your little one’s birthday party.
1. Skip the fancy venue. This especially can apply if your children are really young. We had both of our children’s first birthdays at home. They weren’t going to remember it anyway and we saved a ton. If you are going to spend a lot on a nice location it would probably be best if they could remember it.
2. Save money at the fancy venue. If you really want to do something outside the home, call around and find places you can bring your own food in. We found out just by calling, although it’s not on the website, that our local Chuck e Cheese style place will allow groups to use their main eating area for parties on a first come first serve basis. We can even bring our own cake in. We don’t have to use their party rooms. Although they didn’t say this on the website, it was worth calling to check. Call around your local places and see if you can get a similar deal. Also check local parks for their party areas. Sometimes they can even be free, but you still have to reserve the space.
3. Make your own cake. The mark up on cakes is RIDICULOUS. If you have even the slightest ability to cook, you can make your own cake. If you absolutely can’t make cake or want some sort of fancy design ask your friends. Someone you know would probably help you out.
4. Shop at the dollar store for goodie bag treats. Every birthday party my kids have ever been to, their goodie bag contents have always ended up thrown around the house and finally into the garbage. You can get great little toys that kids will love just as much as expensive ones from the dollar store.
5. Don’t send out paper invitations. Facebook is an awesome place to make events and invite people to your birthday party. Skipping the paper invites can easily save you $30! You can even make a electronic invite for free with places like Evite.
6. Buy party supplies on clearance. Most party stores have a clearance section that you should check out. We bought all of my daughters first birthday supplies on clearance for half-off the original.
What are some ways you’ve saved money on birthday parties? Share them with us!
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