We did it! For my daughter’s 6th birthday, we held her first real birthday party. I had been concerned about the limited space in our little house and about the costs of such an affair, since we (essentially) live on a teacher’s salary. But, I had it all planned out. We would have the party at a local playground, which would relieve the space issue and make things a whole lot easier on me.
Only one problem. The forecast predicted rain. So, we had to make it work in our little house.
There were several things that helped us keep the party within budget, fun, and even special.
1. We used what we already had. I thought about making a new cupcake recipe (and actually experimented with a few) but decided we have a recipe we like with ingredients we already have. And, that’s what we did.
As a matter of fact, I saw a really cute picture of a way to turn cupcakes into a cute princess dress cake. Even then, I thought about making a couple of purchases to make our cupcake “cake” just like that one, but I didn’t. I keep telling myself, “Use what you have!”
2. Keep it simple. I didn’t know if anyone played “Pin The Tail On The Donkey” anymore. But, since I couldn’t find a cuter, girly version of the game, we went with it. It ended up being quite a highlight for some of the children, who had never played it before!
3. Less is, sometimes, more. We limited our invitations to just a few very close friends. There was plenty of food for everyone, and lots of leftovers besides. And, both the children and the adults seemed to have a nice time together. It actually didn’t rain, after all. So, sitting out in our small backyard made for simple nerf gun war games for the boys and relaxing conversation for the parents, all while the girls enjoyed playing dress up in my daughter’s room. (The girls came out quite often, though, to show off their latest outfits. 😉 )
How do you keep your parties simple?
My baby girl turned six years old today. And, I have enjoyed planning a party for her with just a few of her friends at a nearby playground. It was going to be my easy, inexpensive way to have a party for her. However, the closer we have come to the day of her party, the higher the percentage of rain on that day has gotten. Yep, AccuWeather is saying that we have a 50-60 percent chance of rain right at the time that her party is due to start. Boo! 🙁
I knew it would be a possibility around this time of the year. So, I knew that we needed to think about a Plan B, but the time has come.
Here are just a few things that we will be adjusting as part of our Plan B.
1. Games. While I was at our local dollar store purchasing paper goods, birthday décor, and balloons, I picked up a “Pin the tail on the donkey” game. I was hoping for something cuter, like “Pin the crown on the princess.” But, that’s okay. I needed an inexpensive game and I got it.
2. Crafts. Tomorrow I’ll head out to pick up an inexpensive craft that will work for girls and boys ages 4 through 11. I’ll be looking for something they can design or create with as few accessories (like scissors, tape, glue, and paint) as possible. It’s a 2-hour party, not an all day art class, after all.
3. Utilize covered patios. Even if it does rain, because it won’t be cold, we plan to use our patio because it’s a covered area. This is a great way to still get outside and to increase space for your guests.
4. Snacks and Cake. Don’t forget that food is the main event. So, we will let them play and then let them eat. That’s our plan! 🙂
What do you think should be included in a Plan B for outdoor parties?
We have little people celebrating birthdays this month and next in our family. It always comes so quickly, doesn’t it? When we celebrate another birthday, I’m always reminded of that saying that “the days go slow, but the years go fast.” Ain’t that the truth?
When they were younger, we could get away with not having much of a production for their birthdays. We have celebrated them fully, yet simply, together as a family. I have a 6 year old now, though. And, she has been to enough parties that she knows that she wants her own. 🙂 Thankfully, we have been to elaborate parties and to simple ones. So, we know that a fun party does not depend on a lot of money being spent.
If you live on a tight budget or simply want to plan a frugal party, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Bake your own cake or cupcakes. You can make your own cake (with ingredients you feel good about!) for a fraction of the cost of a cake you would buy at a bakery or grocery store. We are making healthy coconut flour cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday. They’ll not only be less expensive; they’ll actually be good-for-us! Make your own, and save the money.
2. Utilize the dollar store. Favors and décor can add up quickly. Check out your local dollar store for paper goods and favors. My daughter and I had so much fun picking out the paper goods and the little toys for the party favors. I enjoyed picking it all out and saving the money!
3. Go to a park or playground. So many parties are held at places for the children to play at a price. So, you rent gym space, or a play/bounce area, or some people rent bouncy houses. We are going to have our party at a local playground… for free. Kids don’t care whether you are paying for a place to play. So, why pay?
How do you cut costs while planning parties for your little ones?
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!