A children’s birthday party is an exciting time for the kids and, too often, a stressful time for the parents. There’s always a lot to organise and if you’re not careful, you can end up spending a lot of money.
But an awesome kids’ birthday party doesn’t need a massive price tag. With a little planning and ingenuity, you can throw a party that will be remembered fondly for years to come without breaking the bank.
Start with Party Planning
Before you start sending out the invites, there are a few things you should consider to help keep costs low.
- Pick the right time
Your party’s start and end times can seriously affect your budget, so choose a time that slots between lunch and dinner. This way, you don’t have to worry about catering a full meal for guests. Snacks are far cheaper and easier.
While school holidays might seem like a great time for a party, entertainment and venues can be more expensive during holidays due to increased demand. It’s worth talking to venues and entertainment providers to see if they offer any discounts for off-peak bookings.
- Merge the party with a friend or sibling
To make better use of your budget, you can see if it’s possible to merge the party with a close friend or sibling. Kids can enjoy getting to share their special day with a friend while the parents can make use of a bigger combined budget.
- Choose free or cheap venues
Although ice skating and roller coasters might be appealing for kids, they’re expensive. Instead, pick a venue that is cheaper or free. Parties at home or in the local park can be just as fun, provided you plan the event well.
If your child’s heart is set on a more expensive venue, you can negotiate a compromise. For instance, they may only be able to invite one or two friends to go ice skating, but they can have six if they choose to have the party at home.
- Keep the guest list short
Speaking of guest lists, you don’t need to invite your child’s whole class. Let your child pick a few close friends to celebrate with. If they’d like to do something with their class, they can bring in a cake or cupcakes.
A shorter guest list not only means less people to cater for, but it also makes it easier to supervise all the kids.
Preparing for the Party
As the big day gets closer, you can start getting everything ready. Read 6 Great Social Distancing Birthday Party Ideas
- Avoid party stores and panic buying
When buying decorations avoid party stores in favour for budget department stores. Balloons, streamers and bunting can all be bought for far cheaper at places like The Reject Shop (and the kids won’t notice the difference!).
Don’t forget to have a list of everything you need to get before you start shopping. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and buy more than you need to or make unnecessary impulse purchases.
Write your list early too — at least a week in advance. Doing so will help avoid panic buying and unnecessary stress.
- Make your own cake
As long as there’s a cake with candles to blow out, most kids will be satisfied. A cake made with love by a family member or friend often means far more than a store-bought creation too.
And it doesn’t matter when your child was born, no Aussie kid can resist the allure of the classic Women’s Weekly children’s birthday cakes!
If your baking skills are a little rusty, try a few practice cakes before the big day. You can even get your child involved so you can learn together.
For the real deal, make the cake the day before, just in case something goes wrong. And don’t forget the candles!
At the Party
Now it’s party time, don’t blow the budget!
- Serve simple food
Avoid serving entire meals and instead just go for snacks and finger foods. Have a selection of healthy snacks and some fun treats for kids to munch on throughout the party. Carrot and celery sticks with dip, chunks of cheese, potato chips, pretzels and lollies are all winners. Make sure you don’t over-prepare your food so you end up with a heap of wastage. The beauty of finger foods is that you can prepare them as needed and minimise wasted food.
For drinks, make sure there’s plenty of water and healthy juices available to keep the kids hydrated. You can also mix up some cordial or serve soft drinks, but watch out for the sugar crash.
- Choose craft activity that doubles as a party favour
Goodie bags and party favours are a way for guests to keep the party going once they leave. But elaborate favours or packed goodie bags can also stretch a tight budget.
Choose instead to have guests create their own party favour. Buy craft materials in bulk for less, then host a craft session where kids get to make something together. This way, you can save money and keep the kids busy.
Some good options are creating a popsicle stick house, friendship bracelets, masks or pompom animals.
- Play simple games and activities
Although a jumping castle is an instant drawcard, kids will have just as much fun playing classic games. Think back to your own childhood for games you loved to play that required nothing much at all.
Outside, you can play tag, stuck in the mud or create an obstacle course. Inside, try playing musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey or hide and seek. Ask your kid for suggestions.
Your kid’s birthday shouldn’t make you stressed or worry about money. Instead, follow these tips and have a blast on a budget.