Planning a kid’s party on a budget

Gone are the days when a sandwich and a simple bowl of jelly were enough for a kid’s birthday party. With social media photos, Instastories and live video streaming, the pressure to throw elaborate kids birthday parties is high.
However, the truth is that young kids are happy to simply have a good time with friends. These budget-friendly party tips will go a long way in helping you throw a birthday bash that your child will appreciate without breaking the bank.

“Remember that your child’s birthday party is an occasion to celebrate their existence and not to an opportunity to keep up with the Jones’s.”

Plan early

Running around the store at the last minute is stressful and can become a real budget buster. Give yourself time to shop around and compare prices and be on the lookout for any sales.

The timing

The cheapest time to host a party is between 2pm and 5pm. Children will have already eaten lunch and it is too early for dinner, relieving you of the responsibility of providing a full meal. Make this even clearer by noting on your invitation that “some light snacks will be provided”.

Pair up

Does your child have a good friend with a birthday in the same month? You could have a joint birthday party but be sure to have a special cake for each child.

Party invites

There are plenty affordable kids’ party invitations you can pick up at the grocery store. Alternatively, you could go paperless and select a free party invite template online that you can email to guests.

Keep it small

It may sound like a lovely idea to invite your child’s entire class, but this may not be feasible. Unless your child is a social butterfly, a birthday party spent with only their closest friends is often far more enjoyable. Hint: In situations such as these, opting for digital invites instead of printed ones will ensure children in the class who are not invited will not feel excluded.

The venue

Save money by hosting the party at home. If the idea of a bunch of kids running around the house is a little overwhelming for you, consider renting a church hall, as this is relatively inexpensive.

The snacks

Make sandwiches yourself instead of buying a platter. Mini sausage rolls are also an easy and cheap option to make at home that will be enjoyed by both children and parents. Ditch the fizzy drinks and opt for juice concentrate/squash as a little goes a long way. Affordable snack options include popcorn, marshmallows and chips. You can often purchase a bulk supply of these at a wholesaler at a fraction of the price a grocery store will charge.

The cake

Bake the cake yourself or ask a friend or family member who is known to be a ‘master baker’. If you purchase a large cake, be aware that much of it will go to waste – or opt for cupcakes. With this in mind, you could save money on party packs and send kids home with an extra slice of cake instead.

Activities

You don’t need to hire a party entertainer. Enlist the help of a few friends or family members to facilitate some classic (inexpensive) kids party games. These include:

  • Pass the parcel
  • Cookie/cupcake decorating
  • Musical chairs
  • Piñata (See How to make an apple-shaped piñata)
  • Three-legged race
  • Egg and spoon race
  • T-shirt (or any other plain item) decorating/painting. This could double as a party favour instead of a party pack.

Décor

Plain party supplies are cheaper than decorated versions. You could use a hole-puncher to jazz up paper plates and napkins (punch holes around the outer edge of each plate and one corner of each napkin to create a design) or add sticker dots to decorate plain balloons. Buy a few key items to establish the theme, like a special foil balloon, and stick to affordable basics for everything else.

Remember that your child’s birthday party is an occasion to celebrate their existence and not to an opportunity to keep up with the Jones’s. That magical moment of blowing out their candles while their friends gather around and sing Happy Birthday to them is more special than over-the-top party décor. Be careful not to set a trend where every birthday has to be a bigger, more elaborate affair.