Throwing a Thrifty “Fancy” Birthday Party

Posted on October 22nd, 2012 by Discount Debbie

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! 



Throwing a Thrifty Kid Birthday

Posted on January 13th, 2012 by Discount Debbie

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!

New Years Eve-On a Budget

Posted on December 30th, 2011 by Discount Debbie

How does the song go?

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ? Should I forever go into debt for this holiday?

Wait, no that’s not right. But it is very possible to spend a lot of money on New Years Eve. Between the food, decorations, fireworks and champagne, it can be a very expensive holiday.

Here are some tips for a Thrifty New Years Eve and Day.

1. Skip the fireworks.

It’s no secret that these explode your wallet. But around town, there are probably several places that will be doing them for free. If you are really set on doing them, here is a secret. The closer you get to midnight, the more the stands mark them down. If you can wait until the last minute you can get them at a much larger discount. If you wait until the next day, you can really get the markdowns.

2. Buy clearance decorations on New Years Day.

This won’t help this year, but you’ll have amazing decor for next year. Go stock up and you’ll be set next year .

3. Reuse an old New Years Eve outfit. You don’t have to have a new outfit every year do you? Reuse one from a previous year and save that money. You can even add some accessories and make it a whole new look. The possibilities are endless.

4. Have kids? Make your own decorations.

This website is awesome for instructions on hats and noisemakers and even your own New Years Eve ball!

5. Take the party home. When you go out, you are automatically going to spend more money than if you stayed home. Why not plan a party at home and have guests bring snacks or have a potluck. Do everything you would out, but at home.

Holiday Parties-The Thrifty Diva Way

Posted on December 9th, 2011 by Discount Debbie

Are you having a Christmas party or even New Year’s Eve party? Do you look for ways to save money doing it? Here are some ideas to keep the bill down, but throw an awesome party!

1. Make it all from scratch.

Have you seen all the party trays from your local grocery store? They can be quite expensive. But if you make it all yourself, you can cut the expensive more than in half. Just with a little more prep time, you can save tons of money. One large bag of flour, sugar and a few packages of butter will almost be the cost equivalent of one of those fancy Christmas cookie packages from the store, but you can make so much more yourself from scratch.

2. Go to the dollar store.

I just went to my local dollar store and it was Christmas central. They especially had a lot of Christmas decorations. One of my favorite websites is The founder is the daughter of a great friend of mine and it’s genius stuff! So if you are looking for great decoration or gift ideas, check it out.

3. Stick to finger foods.

There is no party rule that says you have to make a full course meal. Let’s face it, prime rib for 20 people is going to cost you a lot. But tons of low cost, but tasty finger foods will make people just as happy and will save you some cash.

4. Skip out on the holiday themed paper goods.

Yes, these are cute, but you can spend a lot of money on things that people are just going to cover with cocktail sauce. Save yourself the money and go with the plain white kind. If you have enough, break out the nice china and make it extra special for your party guests.

5. Have a dessert exchange.

Not only is this economical, but you can give people a huge variety by asking all your guests to bring some sweets to exchange with others.

How are you saving money on your holiday parties?

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