My youngest daughter will turn seven this summer, and already she is asking if she can have a birthday party this year with all her friends. I’d love to plan an awesome party for her, but I really don’t want to break the bank doing it. The costs can easily skyrocket if you aren’t careful, but fortunately, I have some experience planning parties on a budget, since I’ve already been through all this with her older brother and sister.
Here are four ways to rein in the cost of a young girl’s birthday party without sacrificing any of the fun.
Reserve a pavilion at the park
Public parks are great places to have birthday parties, because the playgrounds or splash pads provide virtually free entertainment for little kids. Many public parks allow residents to reserve a pavilion or at least a small covered picnic area for a relatively small fee. Weekends during nice weather can be particularly busy, though, so make sure to schedule your party well in advance and make your reservations early.
If your local park doesn’t take reservations, consider enlisting a couple of friends or relatives to get to the park early and claim the spot you want with a banner, some decorations, and of course, their continuous presence until you can arrive with the cake and other party supplies. Or borrow a couple of portable gazebos and bring some folding tables and camp chairs to create the perfect spot wherever you like.
Be creative with theme
One of the best parties I ever threw for my older kids had a luau theme. I chose this because I have twins, a boy and a girl, and it’s hard to come up with a unisex theme that makes everyone happy. But with tropical background music, some festive decorations from the dollar store, and a big box of leis, we had a great luau themed party everyone enjoyed.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to come up with a fun theme everyone will enjoy. Just follow your daughter’s interests and be creative.
Save money on the food
If you’re throwing a birthday party for a little girl, chances are you don’t have to satisfy the most discerning palates. If you asked my daughter what she’d like to have most at her party, she’d probably say apple slices and popcorn, because honestly, that’s just about her favorite snack. It doesn’t get a lot cheaper than that.
When it comes to the cake, though, you might have to think outside the bakery. Bakery cakes are expensive, especially if you want a professionally decorated layer cake. You could just bake your own, but keep in mind that lots of people can decorate beautiful cakes today without the added overhead cost of a bakery. Get on Facebook and ask around. I’ll probably order a cake from one of my friends, who makes gorgeous cakes as Sweet Home Goodies at a substantially lower cost than the local bakery.
Skip store bought treat bags
I won’t be giving out the kind of treat bags I’ve made before, filled with plastic junk from the dollar store. Instead, at my daughter’s party I plan to give kids a homemade treat to take home. Depending on the theme we choose, it may be zombie slime that we make right there at the party, or glittery homemade play dough my daughter and I whip up the night before. Or, if one of her favorite interests holds out, we might actually attach some googly eyes to river rocks with rubber cement and let the kids take home their very own pet rocks.
Whatever we do will likely be cheaper to make, yet a lot more personal than the plastic stuff that always ends up broken and in the trash before a week goes by. And that’s what makes a birthday party special anyway. Following your child’s lead and making things personal will help create great memories to last a lifetime.
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