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Planning a Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

by SarahD on November 23, 2010

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How to Plan a Birthday Party for Children for Less

Planning your child’s birthday party can be a lot of fun, especially for the mom who loves to decorate, cater, and entertain.  Unfortunately, it can also be pretty expensive and with so many families cutting back due to the recession, you simply may not have the extra cash in your budget to throw the type of shindig your kids are used to.  But you want to make sure your child has a wonderful birthday and gets everything their little heart desires (even if it means you have to dip into the red to do it).  Hold the phone!  You don’t have to party like the Rockefellers to have fun!  You can set a budget and stick to it when you’re planning your child’s birthday party.  There are plenty of areas in which you can engineer a savings and still deliver a fantastic party.

The best way to get started is to set your budget.  That will determine the money you have available to play with.  From there, you should break down the party into different areas of spending (food, entertainment, etc.) so that you can set priorities and allocate funds accordingly.  If you just go out and start buying items without a clearly defined budget and a plan for purchases, you will almost certainly end up overspending.  And there’s just no reason to go into debt over something as short-lived as a birthday party.

Once you have the money set aside for the party, you can begin the fun part: executing your plan.  There are many areas in which you can save and the best place to start is with invitations.  Don’t waste your money on paper when you can simply send out Evites.  This is an easy, cheap, and modern solution for disseminating information.  Have your child get email addresses for his friends (or their parents) and send out a creatively designed electronic invitation.  This will save you time and money and it will give other parents an easy way to RSVP. You also have the option of sending out printable birthday cards that you can find for free online.

You can also save a lot on decorations.  Instead of spending a ton of money at a party store on theme elements for your gathering, check out the options at your local dollar store or discount superstore (like Target or Wal-Mart).  You can likely find similar fare for a lot less.  When you think about it, there’s no reason to lay out the cash for fancy items that are just going to be thrown away (paper plates, plastic utensils, streamers and balloons) when you can get something equally attractive (and disposable) for a fraction of the cost.

As for entertainment, you may be tempted to hire pricey performers, but most kids will be just as happy watching a movie or playing games, so use what you can find around your house to keep your child’s peers amused or go online to get some fun and clever game ideas to keep the party hopping.  And when it’s time to feed everyone, consider making personal pizzas that the kids can choose toppings for.  You can make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it, then have the kids pound out dough, spoon on sauce, and top it as they please before you stick it in the oven.  This cuisine is not only kid-friendly; it also doubles as entertainment and will save you money over catering.  And by cutting back in these many areas, you will have more to spend on presents, which your kids are sure to appreciate.

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