A big birthday is coming up, and you have a lot of planning to do. You are looking at your budget, and wondering how many months you’ll be paying for the celebration. Instead of breaking the bank, consider creating a fun time on a budget. Whether you are celebrating your partners’, your child’s, or a good friend’s birthday, save money with these tips.
1. Control the invite list. If you’re going to have cake for your party, it is cheaper to plan for 10 than 20. For a kid, invite guests according to age: 4 guests for a 4 year old, etc.
2. Avoid parties at mealtime. This is my favorite tip that will save you a bundle! If you’re feeding guests lunch or dinner, your bill will add up. Schedule parties between meals so that they will be after lunch and wrapping up before dinner.
3. For kids parties, skip the favor bags. While it is cute to send guests home with a thank you, you don’t have to. If you simply must do favors, consider inexpensive crafts the kids can do during playtime.
4. Keep it simple. You do not have to plan a “schedule” for your party. Whether adult or kid, you only need 3 divisions. Have fun. Eat cake/open presents. Have fun. That’s it. Have games handy to keep older kids or adults busy. Otherwise, let the kids entertain themselves. Birthday parties are playdates with cake.
5. Set a realistic birthday budget. Include presents, theme decorations, everything for the birthday. Decide what you can spend for everything, and plan according to your budget. If you have extra money left over, you can save it for next year or do something a little extra for your loved one.
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6. Shop sales and thrift stores ahead of time. A few months ahead of the birthday, do an interest check-in and decide on a few themes to choose from. Shop around sales for items that will fit into your planned themes, and pick based on what you can get cheaply. If your loved one has big fandom tastes, you can often find items on sale after holidays related to that fandom (or that you can relate to it).
7. Do. Not. Spend. Money. On. A. Cake. Ready-made cakes are expensive. Yes, your child will love the cake, but you will not like how it chips out of your budget. Instead, bake it yourself. My favorite way to do birthdays is with cupcakes. I can bake 1 box or several if I have a lot of people to bake for. Plan 2 cupcakes per person (1 – 2 per child depending on age). Tip: If you must have favors, you can shop post-holiday sales and dollar stores for inexpensive cupcake toppers that will match your party theme and serve as favors for the kids.
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