Monday, January 8, 2018

Birthday Party on a Shoe String budget

We only do birthday parties every other year for our children. Sure you can save the money by never having birthday parties. But I think birthday parties are important childhood memories. I am not an advocate of crazy fancy parties. I think they are too time consuming and costly. Now what I am about to tell you of what I did might think I am being contrary.
1- I start on pinterest. I look for the things that are practical, easy to make, will be an activity or add atmosphere. Above all I look for things that are cheap and easy to make myself. Then I pick 2-3 ideas that I think I can accomplish in the given time and will fulfill my criteria.
2- Of course a theme is decided, not that a theme is needed but it does help direct and limit ideas from getting out of hand. I make a list of possible activities and food. Not everything has to be apart of a theme. No kid is going to care that a cupcake or cookie isn't within the theme. Yes it is fun and if you can do it without adding extra expense then sure do it, but if you are doing it cheap no kid cares if there is a lot sitting on top. 
3- There is a trade off of food verses time. Food takes time. If you need to fill time, feed the kids a meal and treats will fill that time. Food can make the party more expensive. Make treats yourself. Choose foods that kids like and you already buy in your budget.
Make yourself foods:
Mini sandwiches (cut 4 out of one normal sandwich)
Homemade pizza or pizza bites
Cookie bars
Things with dips (pretzels, apples, carrots, celery, peanutbutter, nutella, marshmellow, creamcheese) pick a couple combinations and let the kids dip.
4- If you don't feel the need to feed them stick to cake, ice cream, and water. All you really need is cake.
5- It always makes you feel better when you can cater to food needs/allergies, however remember that if you don't have the budget you should stress about it. Keep it simple. You have every right to ask the parent of the child to bring something for them. They deal with it everyday they know what their child can have. My friend's daughter is deathly allergic to milk, she would much rather bring "safe" food than stress you and have you served her daughter something that puts her life in danger. It is not your job to go way out of your way. Don't feel guilty, if they get offended then they are the ones being pretentious.
6- Keep activities simple and cheap. Your don't need crafts that cost $4 per child to make. Games can be just as fun and memorable as a craft and it won't cost you much or anything at all. Kids love games that they already know (tag, hide and seek, duck duck goose, pin the tail). Use your theme and change the game up to fit your theme. Ie: the person it is a snowball and you've been hit if you get tagged. Kids won't care if it makes less sense they will be happy to run around and play. The options are endless do play the same old traditional games. Also honestly most parents will be happy that one less thing to throw away later is sent home with their child.
7- Bringing stuff home. Goodie bags are NOT required. Sure they are fun the kids like them, but they cost a ton and honestly everything in them are thrown away after 2 days. Alternatively, if you feel that you need to send guests home with something consider some of the following, one single fun item value $1 or less per child (small bottle of bubble bath, bows for girls toy car for boys, grab bag/treasure chest pick a toy out of, tumbler character cup). We have a tradition of doing a pinata. I fill it with candy and give each kid a ziplock bag. When the pinata breaks they run and fill their bag with candy and that is there "take home" gift. Nice thing about pinatas is they can take a long time to break if you have a talented person holding the rope and if your pinata is well made.

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