Throwing a birthday party on a budget is easy with these handy hints.
Is it just me, or is having a birthday party for your child almost a luxury at times (especially if you have two or more children)? But they are also such good fun!
If you're looking for ways to host a party without spending a fortune, or have a strict budget to work with, read on for some inspiration for your child's next birthday.
Have a party at home
This one is pretty obvious if you have the space to host guests. While there are plenty of fantastic places to have a children’s party, such as indoor play centres, halls and child friendly restaurants, home is best because there’s no cost to hire a venue, you can do all of your own catering and it’s not going to set you back hundreds of dollars if extra people don't RSVP, but still show up anyway.
If having a party at home isn't an option why not try a park or playground? Some will incur a fee, but they are generally cheaper than other venues, and little ones can run around and make as much noise as they like.
Check out Etsy for invitations and decorations
Etsy is a goldmine for creatives who can create beautiful invites, decorations and more for a fraction of the price you would pay at a party store. Typically, the seller will design or customise your invite or decoration and send you the file, which you can then print off yourself. You can also find handmade party outfits, unique party favours, cake toppers, party signs….the possibilities are endless. Shipping can be expensive so look for Australian based companies to keep costs down, or even buy second hand using Gumtree or Facebook marketplace if you have something specific in mind.
Buy in bulk and save
If you're lucky enough to live near a bulk goods distributor, such as Costco, consider going there for party supplies such as napkins, paper plates, decorations and food. If you don’t have such a store nearby, you can still buy in bulk at the supermarket - goods such as soft drinks (especially when on sale) plus meat, cheese and crackers, tend to be cheaper when bought in bulk.
Don’t get everything on the week of the party
This will help you avoid spending a lot of money in the week or days leading up to the event. Just add a few extra things, such as napkins, straws, cups, cake mix, party favour bags etc, to your weekly grocery shop over a month or two, and before you know it, you will have everything you need.
If you have an early idea of your birthday party theme, you can start looking out for items that are on special well before the week of the party.
Don’t go overboard on the food
For my daughter’s third birthday last year, my husband thought it would be a good idea to put a whole pig on the spit roast. There were a few adults in attendance, but seriously, we were eating pork for weeks afterwards. Sure, it’s better to over-cater than not have enough, but during the early years in particular, kids just don’t eat a lot because they're too busy playing, so you don’t have to make a tonne of food that’s simply not going to get eaten.
There are plenty of party foods that can be made at home in bulk, and frozen, that are cost effective and enjoyed by both adults and kids, including:
Homemade muffins, cupcakes and biscuits (look up the 100 cookie recipe!)
Then all you need to do is make up a few platters on the day for things like fresh fruit, sandwiches and fairy bread.
Make your own cake
I paid $400 for my daughter’s first birthday cake. $400. It was fantastic but it's the same as what some people pay for a wedding cake. There are some simple cake recipes that you can make at home, as well as the classic recipes in the Women's Weekly kids birthday books that walk you through step by step.
If baking it yourself just isn’t an option, then contact your local supermarket or Cheesecake Shop about a custom-made cake, as these tend to cost a lot less than a baker or catering company.
Find an alternative to the goody bag
Let’s face it, party bags are usually full of naff little toys that break on the way home and super sugary treats that aren't good for kids. So for my girls’ birthdays last year, we had little labels made that said ‘thank you for coming to Emma’s birthday party’ and stuck them to bars of ALDI chocolate (ok yes, also full of sugar) but it sure saved the hassle and cost of dishing out party bags.
You can do the same type of thing with bubble wands, cupcakes in boxes or mini art kits.