Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How to Have a Child's Birthday on a Budget

So next week my daughter Leah will turn 3! I am very excited about this because Leah has been the definition of the terrible twos. I love her to death and she can be the sweetest little angel in the world. But five minutes later she can be biting her sister, throwing food all over the place or toys off the balcony. She is a red head and has the temper to go with it. So I guess I am hoping she will mellow out a bit once the big 3 hits. Probably just wishful thinking on my part. Leah is the middle child and she fights fiercely for attention. So I think we may have our hands full for years to come with little Miss Leah :)

I have tried to budget when it comes to birthdays. So I wanted to share some of my birthday budget ideas with you all.

Let's start with presents. The key is to buy ahead of time. I shop all year round because great deals happen all the time. I wait until items go on sale of clearance. This past Christmas Leah wanted Rock Star Mickey. Every time she saw it in the store she got the gimmes. The problem for me was that Rock Star Mickey was $55 dollars! But there is joy in waiting. This month I scored Rock Star Mickey at Amazon - discounted to $22.49.

I check Daily Deal Sites every day. Many stores offer online deals daily. I also check clearance sections religiously online and in-store.

This past year we had to move very unexpectedly. It was also two weeks before my daughter Makayla's birthday. We had to put a lot of money into this move. The highlight was that I already had all Makayla's birthday gifts. I had been buying them throughout the year. I was able to stock up on Bratz Dolls for half the price because Amazon had lowered their prices on them starting at $8.23.

Decorating and entertaining for a kid's birthday party can really get expensive. This is another opportunity to buy in advance. Party supplies go on sale and clearance all throughout the year. I especially like to buy after a holiday. After the 4th of July for instance, you can snag red and blue paper plates, cups and more at a huge discount. It also doesn't hurt to hit up your local dollar store. Just make sure it's actually a dollar store and not a store that sells items for $1 and up. You can get great steals on napkins, decorations and more!

Entertaining doesn't have to be fancy or expensive. Last year I bought a face painting kit from Amazon for my 7 year olds birthday. I also purchased

temporary color hairspray
temporary tattoos
costume jewelry sets

I did face painting for each guest (you don't have to be an artist. You can print face painting templates here). For boys it would great to do face painting, tattoos and a pirate treasure hunt.

The point is to be creative and make your own entertainment. Save hundreds by not spending money on clowns, magicians, moon bounces and so on. Kids are pretty easy to please. We as parents tend to go overboard. My daughter and her friends had a ton of fun with the face painting, jewelry and tattoos...and I spent about $20 bucks total for entertainment. Score!!

Another great way to save on entertainment is to create your own arcade or fun house. My kids all love Chucke Cheese. This year for Leah's birthday we are creating our own Chucke Cheese. Setting up games we already have around the house like Ring Toss and Pin the Tail on the Donkey. But also making games like fishing. We fill a big laundry bucket with water, add some Lego pieces and make fishing poles with sticks, string and paper clips. You can also have relay races and make obstacle courses out of chairs, old blankets and pillows, hula hoops and more. The ideas are limitless.

For these games we buy tickets and give them out to the kids as they play. The tickets can be redeemed for toys that we buy in bulk. We also have used our vacuum and made our own ticket blaster like at Chucke Cheese. Each kid got a turn to stand in the middle of the room while we blew tickets all over the place as they try to grab them.

Finally let's talk food. You will notice that kids don't eat much at birthday parties. Why? Because they are too busy having fun and they are saving up for the cake and ice cream! So keep it simple. Hot dogs are easy and inexpensive. I always stock up on hot dogs when they are on sale and I have a coupon. Keep them fresh in the freezer and use them for birthday parties. Or check out the pizza deals in your area. I always head over the Little Caesar for their $5 pizza. The food is great and doesn't break the bank.

You can also try making food fun. Stock up on fruit that is on sale and make fruit kebabs. Or try kid friendly sushi - I love this recipe Helen Cavallo does. Check it out and other recipes she does for Disney Junior HERE. She makes simple, fun, nutritious recipes. I love them!

When it comes to cake I actually prefer homemade. Not to say that everyone is a baker. But you can buy cake in a box, throw in some eggs, slap on some icing. Homemade is delicious even if it's out of box. And you can usually make a cake for less than $5 dollars at home. That sure beats the $15-$20 you'd spend at the bakery.

To sum it up - you can have a birthday party for the kiddos at a fraction of the cost. And these parties tend to be more fun. I think because we as parents are less stressed about the cost. We get to spend time with all the kids doing the activities. And you are making memories...which is most important.

And to put my money where my mouth is:

For Leah's party I purchased two Little People sets from Toys R Us a month ago. They were having a BOGO sale and one of the items was on clearance. So I got a huge Little People House set and a Noah's Ark set for $19.98. I did store pickup and saved on shipping.

For her cake, I scored Pillsbury cake mix and frosting on sale at Walgreens for $1.50 each.

For pizza I am buying two large pizzas from Little Caesar's at $5 apiece.

Decorations - I scored plates, napkins, balloons, a banner and some streamer from my local dollar store totaling $7.13.

For games we are heading outside to play with water balloons $1 from the dollar store, the slip and slide (already have, so no cost) and then later doing the ticket blaster. I already have tons of tickets left over from our last party - so no cost at all.

Total expense = $40.11. Now how awesome is that??!!! :)


Post a Comment