Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.
Kids’ birthday parties have become somewhat of a competition between parents over the past few years. Just a few decades ago, children were perfectly happy with a couple of balloons and a slice of cake, but now elaborate events with unique activities, extravagant cakes, and specific themes are just expected. The trouble is, with a bash like this, the costs can rise pretty quickly, often to more than what you can afford. Thankfully, no matter what your budget, it is possible to plan a birthday party that your little one will love. With that in mind, here are ten vital planning tips.
1. Give Yourself Some Time
Far too many parents leave party planning until a week or two before the big day. They assume that, because they’re only planning for kids, the task will be easy. Unfortunately, this is very rarely the case. There are many elements involved in a birthday party, especially for children, so you should get the ball rolling as early as you can. Most suggest you begin preparations at least two months before the party. This gives you plenty of time to shop around for the very best prices.
2. Keep The Party Small
The more people you invite to your child’s party, the more expensive it is going to become. Because of this, you should resist the urge to send invitations to everyone you know. A good rule of thumb is to allow your little one to invite the same number of guests as the age they will be turning. If your child is turning eight, for example, they could bring eight friends. There will be others that you want to invite to the party, but you should stick to close friends and relatives only.
3. Opt For Digital Invites
Paper invitations may be the norm, especially for kids’ parties, but they’re far from the best option. They’re expensive at the best of times, but then you have to pay extra for personalisation and postage. To save money, you should opt for digital invitations instead. You can send these through social media or email for no cost whatsoever. A digital invite is also near-impossible to lose, so you won’t have to spend hours telling parents details of the party all over again.
4. Use A Free Venue
Location can take up a huge chunk of your party budget. Although renting out a rec centre or bowling alley can save you a lot of work, you have to pay through the nose for that help. Rather than do so, you should use a free or inexpensive location. Most people would host the party at their home, but, if you can’t or don’t want to do that, then there are beaches and local parks that you could use instead. Just make sure that you don’t have to make a reservation or pay a fee.
5. Stick With Simple Activities
Your little one might demand that they have pony rides, clowns, magicians, and many other activities at their party, but, when the time comes, they probably won’t be bothered about even half of those things. Instead of paying for all of those things, therefore, you should choose just one main activity, like a 5-star bouncy castle hire. All other activities could be simple games you run yourself, like hot potato and musical chairs. This means that all of the kids will play together.
6. Party After A Meal
The time of day you host your party can play a huge role in the cost of it. After all, if the event happens to coincide with a meal time, it would be proper birthday party etiquette to provide food for that meal. If your party begins just after a meal and ends just before one, however, no one would expect that of you. For this reason, you should plan a mid-morning or mid-afternoon bash. With parties like this, a few drinks and light snacks are plenty to keep your guests happy and full.
7. DIY What You Can
While it will take you a little longer, you can save a lot of money by doing most of the work for the party yourself. Instead of paying someone else to make the decorations, invitations, food, and birthday cake, you should lean on your own craft skills. A plain balloon and papier mache can become a pinata, while a few streamers and ribbons can turn into table centrepieces. Baking a birthday cake does take skill, but, if you ask your little one to help, no one will expect perfection.
8. Skip The Party Shop
Just like with weddings, when you attach the word “birthday” to any sort of party essential, it immediately bumps up the price. This is especially true when you’re working around a specific theme. Rather than paying markup prices at a party store, you should head to dollar shops and supermarkets. You can usually find what you need in both of those places for just a fraction of the cost. When all else fails, there are also many stores online that you could turn to.
9. Borrow The Main Essentials
Before you start shopping for the party, make a list of all of the essentials that you need. Although you will likely have to purchase certain items, like napkins and paper plates, many of those essentials you will be able to borrow from a friend. If anyone you know has hosted a birthday party recently, ask if they still have their party decorations, tablecloths, and punch bowls. Most people keep these things for their next event, so they would be able to lend them to you for the day.
10. Double Up With Friends
When your child’s birthday is around the same time as one of their friends, you should speak to their parents about merging the parties. Many of the same guests would be attending both events, after all. This would save both families time and money, as you would split the work and cost equally between you. Although most kids are happy to double up like this, some can feel pushed out. To ensure that both children feel special, you should give them their own cakes.
Birthday parties can be pricey events, but, with the tips above, you can create a memorable one for your child, even on a tight budget.