Kids’ birthday parties can cost next to nothing if you do everything yourself, or hundreds to thousands of dollars if you go big. You may have heard of shows like MTV’s My Super Sweet 16, where parents shell out close to $1 million or more to celebrate their children’s birthdays. How much you spend on your kids’ birthday parties will large depend on you and your own financial situation, but there are easy ways to limit the financial damage.
When your children are very young, you may choose not to have a birthday party at all. Birthday parties for children that young are often more for the parents or family than they are for the kids. If you do have a birthday party every year for all of your children, trying to save money on the parties can be especially important. Read on to learn five ways to save money on birthday parties.
1. Make a budget for all your kids
When your child is really young (probably under 4-years -old), you can get away with smaller parties with just family or a few friends. You also probably will not need as many party favors or decorations. Once they reach 4 or 5 though, most children will want to have a big party, especially children with older siblings. You will save a lot of money by creating a set budget for all children old enough to understand a monetary amount. Even if your children won’t understand how much cupcakes and decorations cost, and so on, they can understand fairness, and if you tell each child over four that their party will cost $100 or less, you won’t have to worry about the children competing. Setting a budget also stops you from getting too excited and spending more money than you intended to because you want your kids to compete with other kids.
2. Don’t compete with other parents
This point goes hand-in-hand with point one. If your kids sense that you feel the need to compete with other parents, they will want to compete with other kids. Once they get to a certain age, your kids will definitely want what their friends have, but if you start talking to them about your budget and how each kid is different when they are younger, you will have an easier time when they get older. There will always be parents who can throw their kids more expensive parties than you can throw your own kids, but that doesn’t mean that their parties will always be better. You can also use other parents to your advantage if you have friends who have specific talents (for example, ask a friend to do a face-painting table at your party or have a family member lead a game.)
3. Pay attention to what your kids like
This is really important, and often overlooked because parents get so competitive about birthday parties. However, even if you have a $50 budget and the parents of your child’s best friend spent $200, you can still make your party special to your child. If your kid likes superheroes, make a superhero party. If your child likes camping, host a daytime tent party in your backyard and toast s’mores over a fire pit.
The best parties are the ones where the birthday boy or girl has the best time, and paying attention to your kid’s interests will play a much more important role in the success of his or her party than how much money you spend. Try searching online for a theme that would interest your kid: You will be shocked at how many ideas are out there. Also, check out Parents‘ theme ideas.
4. Make things yourself
Whether you are a Crafty Catherine or the opposite, you can save money by making party favors, cupcakes, or decorations yourself. Even if you are far from being domestically-inclined, even making one part of the necessary birthday items yourself will save you money. Pinterest is an ideal place to look for birthday ideas. For example, if your child loves angry birds, you could make your own tower for the kids to knock over, angry-bird themed snacks, and even color balloons for an angry bird toss. Some of the ideas on the site are from stores, but many of them could be duplicated easily at home, and doing so would save you a lot of money. Making your own invitations or sending evites will also save you money.
5. Choose a free or affordable location
An earlier point mentioned hosting a camping party in the backyard. If you are able to host a party at your home, you can potentially save the majority of your money for other party essentials. If your child is set on having a birthday party away from home, try to pick an affordable venue. Consider a park with a free or low-cost reservation fee, or a family member’s house if they have an ideal backyard for a party. If you must book a party at a popular kids’ restaurant or entertainment venue, talk to the manager to see if you can get a discount for booking the party on a weekday.
There are many other ways to save money on birthday parties without sacrificing fun. Although kids expect party favors and decorations at most parties, there is no written law that you have to have these things. If you choose to spend your money on a fun venue or a fantastic cake and you need to leave out the party favors, that’s OK. Also, consider keeping the party small. Many parents allow their kids to invite only how many kids as the amount of years they are old (for example, six kids for a six-year-old’s party).
Other parents often suggest that kids who are invited to the party bring a donation item instead of a gift, which can be doubly affective: You teach children that giving to others who are in need is important, and some of the pressure to have an expensive party is removed if the kids are bringing canned food or used books instead of a pricey gift.