When it comes to throwing any type of party, children's birthday parties included, the time of day can make or break your budget because of one simple little factor: food. If you have your child's party around lunch or dinner time, it's assumed that you'll also be providing a meal. Instead, try having your party just after lunch -- around 2 p.m. You can easily get away with having just birthday cake and something festive to drink, which will help keep you on budget.
The rule of thumb when creating your guest list is that your child can invite one guest for each year old he or she is -- for example, your 5-year-old can invite five friends. This seems to be the magic number, no matter what age they may be.
It's funny how a party for six of your child's friends can suddenly turn into a full-blown bash of forty people once you start to consider those children's parents and siblings attending as well! If your kids are old enough, there's a simple solution to this: the drop-off party. On the invite, note that the party is drop-off only, eliminating lingering parents and siblings that also need food, cake, drinks and favors.
Gasp! No party favors? Stay with us for a minute. Let's talk about those party favor bags -- it may seem like they aren't costing much because each little thing in that bag doesn't break the bank, but when you start to do the math, it's easy to see that party favors are big budget holes.
Instead of filling up goodie bags for favors, stick with one favor for each child -- a new yo-yo or a container of sidewalk chalk -- whatever fits the theme of your party and your child's age best. Wrap it up with a pretty ribbon and your guests are sure to be thrilled. Plus, the other parents will love you for not sending home another bag of little toys that will break in 10 seconds and end up in the garbage.
Think about it for a minute -- what's the only birthday party decoration that your child is really interested in? Balloons! Forget about all the other stuff to help keep this birthday party cheap -- the personalized banners, custom T-shirts and fancy tissue paper pom-poms -- two dozen ballons go a long way when decorating and we promise that your child will never miss the other stuff (even though you might!). Balloons also double as great, inexpensive party favors as your guest are walking out the door.
We certainly realize that all the rage right now with children's birthday parties is finding the coolest venue in town and the appeal to parents is high -- most parents would pay a fortune to not have to clean up after a dozen 12-year-olds eating chocolate cake! However, if you're truly looking to keep birthday party costs low, a party at home is the best option.
Instead of the built-in entertainment of a bouncy house or gym full of trampolines, play some super fun party games or plan a craft that is both age-appropriate and fit to the theme of your party. Plan a pirate's treasure hunt in your backyard or set up a beauty salon in your living room -- even picking up supplies for these activities are sure to cost less than a pricey birthday party venue.
What are your best tips for throwing a cheap birthday party?
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