[ THRIFTY BIRTHDAY PARTY ]
Tula has been planning her third birthday party since she was two and a half, and since I love a good party too, we had a lot of fun talking about it. Because of how much I like to plan parties, I know I’m prone to overspending. Did you know that the average amount spent on a child’s birthday party is $200–$400? Unfortunately, it’s not even that uncommon anymore for parents to spend over $500 for a single party. Is it possible to have a creative, fun, party without a big budget? Here’s what we did for Tula:
She wanted a Hello Kitty party. There is a plethora of Hello Kitty birthday supplies available, but I knew we could make just about everything ourselves, and it would be cheaper and cuter. Since I have a 5-year-old who loves projects, making the decorations kept us busy in the afternoons for about a week, while Tula napped. Other than steamers and balloons, the decorations were made out of paper that I purchased at Paper Zone. It’s amazing how much you can make out of colored butcher paper and poster board! The butcher paper was 35¢/yard, and we used it for the sun and clouds, and to cover the tables. Instead of buying birthday hats, we used the poster board to make headbands shaped like Hello Kitty characters.
The favor boxes were 49¢ each, and we cut and glued paper pieces to make them look like different characters. Filling the boxes can get expensive, so we kept it simple by going to a nearby asian market to pick up some Hello Kitty candy and gum. We found rainbow stickers and activity books at the party store, too. I was going to fold some mini paper cranes to add, but there wasn’t enough room. The total for each box came to about $1.50.
The kids helped me bake this rainbow cake, which was a big hit. Homemade cakes are really easy, and save a ton of money. I made Tula’s cake with all organic ingredients, and it probably cost me about $5, though it’s a little hard to calculate since I had all of the ingredients on-hand.
The one thing we splurged on was pizza, but we did have coupons that we used. It’s hard to have a party in the afternoon for kids that still need to nap, and I would feel too guilty feeding them cake and candy before lunch, so we chose to have the party at lunchtime.
The kids all had a great time, and we spent well below the average. If you’ve felt pressured to pull out all the stops for a birthday party, there are a ton of great resources on how to have a low-cost party. My favorite website is Birthdays Without Pressure. I think if the kids and I didn’t have so much fun making all of the decorations, we would opt for a simple cake and balloon event.