Birthdays on a Budget

Your child’s birthday is coming up, and he or she is talking about a party with friends and cake and balloons and presents…and as a parent, you’re wondering how you’re going to afford all this. And if you have more than one child, the cost can get ridiculous. Are there ways to cut back? Can you give your child a nice birthday party without breaking the bank?

It is possible. Here are some tips on how you can give your kids a nice birthday party on a budget.

Make Your Own Cake

Buying specially-made bakery cakes can get very expensive, especially if you want themed cakes or cakes of unusual shapes. But you can make your own cakes in all kinds of themes, without needing a great deal of special skills. And cake mix is generally very inexpensive. Here are some ideas – you can get more detailed instructions for these suggestions online or in cake-making books.

  • Bake several small loaf-shaped cakes and make a train engine and cars.
  • Bake two round layers and cut one of the layers into “petals” to make a flower cake, or surround a round cake with cupcakes.
  • On a sheet cake, use icing to create a road and put toy cars along it. You can make a race track, construction scene, or whatever else you can dream up.
  • Two sheet cakes can be decorated to make a laptop or computer.
  • Sheet cakes and/or round cakes can be cut into the shapes of favorite characters and iced in appropriate colors.

Keep It Small

Kids often get overwhelmed when you have a huge number of guests. Invite just a few close friends and make sure you make a note on the invitation for the kids not to discuss the party with others, especially if your child is in school. You don’t want the uninvited kids to feel bad! If you are inviting grown-up family members, consider asking them to bring a dish or even the cake.

Compromise on Themes

Spending money on party theme kits or buying all the accessories separately are both expensive options. Try compromising – if your child really wants a Garfield party, for instance, just go with Garfield colors (orange and black) and buy only one actual themed thing, like plates. Use what you have for decorations, such as stuffed toys, videos, and books.

Creative themes can be inexpensive and fun, too, such as a “come as you are” party where you call each guest and he or she must show up at the party in the state they were in when they got the call (such as in their pjs).

Location

Rather than renting space for a party, if you can’t use your own home consider a relative’s home or hold the party outdoors. Public parks with picnic tables are great for birthday parties in spring, summer, and fall – while many of these parks charge a fee for reserving a shelter or picnic area, you can just show up and find a vacant place and set up. Guests can be given directions to the park itself, and then they can follow your homemade signs to the specific area. You can put the signs up last-minute. Your house of worship is another option for a free venue.

About the author
Mrs. Hatland is a 30-something married, mom of 7 and the face behind the popular online publication, Motherhood Defined. Known as the Iowa Mom blogger by her local peers and “The Fairy Blogmother” worldwide. She has professional experience in working closely with clients on brand ambassadorships, client outreach services, content creation and creative social media advertising exposure.
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