There was a time when kids’ birthday parties were simple affairs, with cake, punch, a few games and goodie bags. But in the age of Facebook and Instagram, the desire to capture and share those picture-perfect party moments has created the perception that parties need to be over-the-top perfect to be a success. Of course, perfection comes at a steep price, and many parents fall into the trap of overspending for a party kids might not even remember.
Take a look at these easy, practical ways to save on kids’ birthday parties (and still have a great time):
Establish Reasonable Expectations- Kids follow their parents’ lead when it comes to party expectations. Keeping them in check can go a long way to ensure kids are happy with the type of celebration you have. With younger kids, talk about how keeping the party affordable will help allow for other family activities, like vacations or tickets to sporting events. With older kids, you may want to let them choose: have a party or use the money to fund a bigger savings goal, such as saving for a car or college tuition.
Set a Budget (and stick to it!)- Decide on the total amount you want to spend and plan accordingly. Give yourself plenty of lead time to shop around and compare prices to make sure you are getting the best deals. Use coupons, shop warehouse clubs and browse dollar stores to get the most bang for your buck. It can be tempting to overbuy food and drinks to avoid running out.
Create DIY Décor- Kids love theme parties featuring their favorite Disney characters, superheroes, or video games, but buying all that officially licensed merchandise adds up quickly. Instead, purchase less expensive decorations and paper goods in the character’s color scheme and buy only one or two licensed items – such as a cake topper or poster. You will achieve the look you are going for without the expense.
Combine Food and Entertainment- To save time, money and energy, multitasking is the way to go. Kids love to play with their food, so make it the centerpiece of the party. Set up a make your own mini pizza bar, a top your own cupcake bar, a mini pie bar, or let the kids cut out and decorate premed sugar cookie dough. Just be sure you have enough adult hands around to help clean as you go.
Do Yourself a (Party) Favor- Goodie bags don’t have to cost a fortune. Keep them simple, fun and useful. Rather than filling them with cheap plastic toys that fall apart immediately, load them up with yummy snacks and fun basics like granola bars, fruit snacks, bulk candy, crayons, stickers, erasers in fun shapes, cookie cutters and crazy straws.