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A Birthday on a Budget

Recently my son turned one. And, while I absolutely know that there is no way he will ever remember it or really care, I decided that he needed to have a birthday party to celebrate this momentous occasion. It was only as I sat down with my husband to start making plans for this little birthday fiesta that I realized that birthday parties cost money. In fact, they can potentially cost a LOT of money. After staring down the cost of buying a cake, renting a bouncy house, hiring a clown, putting together goodie bags for the guests, getting balloons, and buying presents, I too, like George Costanza’s dad from Seinfeld, thought, “there’s got to be another way!” So, while I did not create my own birthday-like substitute holiday like Festivus, I did start to put together some ideas on how to have a birthday party that is both memorable and does not cause me to file for bankruptcy. Here are some of those ideas.

Everyone wants to have a birthday party that people will remember, but let’s face it, rocket ship trips to the moon sometimes just aren’t in the budget. Here is where creativity can save your party and help you save a dollar. Think of all your friends and family and make a list of what their careers are. Chances are someone you know has a job that kids long to be when they grow up. Know a fireman? Why not have him arrange a tour of the firehouse. Know a policewoman? Set up a tour of the station. Most people would love to have a group of admiring kids hanging on their every word while they describe what they do everyday for a living. And the best part of all is that most of these types of tours are absolutely free. So, let’s recap: the kids get a memorable party experience, and you get to not take out that second mortgage on your house to give it to them.

If parties are known for one thing it’s food. Everyone likes to eat, especially, little kids. Unfortunately catering costs an arm and a leg and even buying enough pizzas for a small party can blow the budget to smithereens. Why not turn eating into a fun activity and save some money in the process? Buy ingredients for cheap at the supermarket and set up a make-your-own-pizza station. Want a south-of-the-border party? Make a taco bar! Think of all the advantages: picky kids get to customize their own food, everyone eats, everyone has a good time, and you don’t have to take a second job as a semi-legal pharmaceutical distributor to foot the bill.

If you haven’t noticed, the world is going paperless. Apparently this has caused the price of paper to skyrocket! Have you seen the price of custom-made invitations lately? Who knew paper could cost so much? Luckily technology once again holds the answer to our problems. Electronic invitations are not only inexpensive, they are also incredibly stylish and customizable. Plus, everyone has an e-mail address these days so you don’t have to pay postage.

Finally, don’t underestimate the fun and value of classic birthday games. Games of red-rover, pin the tail on the donkey, and musical chairs are not only cheap, they are a lot of fun! (Just make sure you are careful when you play them, my husband broke his arm playing musical chairs at his third birthday party – not the memorable experience he was hoping for.) Remember, kids are young and while these games seem old-fashioned to adults, they are brand new to children.

What do you do for affordable birthday parties? Know any other ways to celebrate on the cheap? If so, sound off below in the comments.

Article publié pour la première fois le 06/08/2012

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