Over the past few months as I’ve perused my “Birth Month Club” on BabyCenter.com, one of the hottest topics was first birthday parties. Most everyone who commented had been pretty much planning the party before their child was born, and were so excited to finally put their plans to action.
And yes, I’ll admit I’m one of those moms. I had the theme for Jack’s birthday party picked out early on, as soon as I noticed a certain affinity he had toward his Very Hungry Caterpillar that his Aunt Meredith gave him.
However, as I read some of these posts, I quickly found myself feeling out of place. One particular thread was about budgets for the birthday party. I was shocked when I saw many mothers talking about a budget of between 500 and 1500 dollars.
Even though our budget was rather tight for birthday celebrations, I knew I still wanted to do something fun. To be honest, I just love throwing and planning parties, so his first birthday was a great reason to! So over the past several months, I’ve found ways to save money, but not skimp on quality. I have definitely spent money, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve kept it under $100 (for presents and party), and I think everything has, and will, turn out just as nicely as if I spent $1500 (Ah. Still can’t get over that!)
Here are a few ways to celebrate a birthday on a budget.
1. Thrifty Shopping
We are big fans of the store Once Upon a Child. They don’t have one in Utah, but whenever we are visiting my family in Colorado, we make at least one or two visits there. Most of Jack’s warddrobe is from there. And I don’t feel one bit guilty that we bad things “second hand.” Because, if you’ve ever tried to sell clothing or toys here (or similar stores), you’ll know that they are super picky.
One thing I loved about Once Upon a Child, is that they actually have quite a few new toys, or things you would never know they were used. And for that reason, this is the perfect place to buy presents. We spotted this toy there this past December, brand new and in the box:
2. Dollar Store Shopping
4. Cheap/Free Venues
5. Don’t Feel Pressure
Hey, there is NO rule saying that kids have to have huge, extravagant parties. There is nothing wrong with having a small party with just family, and maybe a few close friends. In fact, I’m sure that the only big party that we’ll throw for our kids is their first, and probably their sixteenth. Everything else will likely include a small family party on the actual birthday, and small friend party when they are older (if they want!) I mean, we plan on having at least two or three more kids. There’s no way we could afford to throw big parties every year! Keeping a guest list small is a certain way to cut costs.
It can be hard, living in the Pinterest-perfect world that we do. I feel plenty of pressure to throw the party of the year, have yummy food, and perfect decorations. But the best way to save money on birthday parties, is to keep it simple. Don’t feel like you have to have a professionally made cake, or hire a professional caterer. Do whatever you want, regardless of what the Jones’ are doing next door. As I mentioned yesterday, I do feel like birthday’s should be special. But special does not equal expensive.
Do you have any ways that you’ve saved money at birthday time?