Below I have listed some of the best ways I have found on how to save money on birthday parties. With two teenagers, I’ve had a lot of practice. Birthday parties are so much fun but can get so expensive if we don’t plan ahead or take some steps to reign in the costs.
I have broken down some money saving ideas based on age since different age groups tend to want different things. Let’s get straight in to it and see how much you can save!
This is the BEST age to save money – for the simple reason is that they are too young to even notice and indeed will probably want to play with the box rather than the present!
- Plan the decorations on a coloured theme– this is especially good if your child likes a particular character. Instead of buying the themed items going for the colours instead will save you a fortune. For example, if you are planning an Elmo party, instead of buying those decorations have 1 small Elmo plush and use red balloons, red table covers, etc. Use blue and green balloons, blue table cover, etc. for Thomas the Tank Engine. Planning parties can get expensive if you are doing themed so stick to the colour instead.
- Check the Pound Shopfor all your accessories too!
- Incorporate items you already own.For example if the theme is Thomas the Tank Engine opt for using any trains or tracks you already own or borrow from a friend. Also use YouTube and make a playlist for the music to be running in the background. Or you can make your own playlist on the likes of Spotify.
- Print your own invitations!It’s totally acceptable these days to just print your own invitations online and thanks to the likes of Design Bundles it’s super easy to create your own within minutes. Check out these mock ups where the designs have already been done for you. This saves you a lot of time too!
- Make the cake as easy as can be!When you’re running around with little ones trying to prep the house for the upcoming party the last thing you want to stress about is buying an expensive cake or baking one that requires a lot of work. Opt for something simple. Honestly the children won’t know any different especially if you buy it in from the local supermarket.
- Plates, silverware, cups, napkins – go to the Pound Shop or order from Ebay where you can get great deals.
Primary School-Aged Children
This can be a fund age group and having a themed party especially a character party is very popular. Of course this means this age group it can be a little more expensive and not as easy to get away with just a coloured theme. The trick here is to pre-plan as it makes a huge difference. Another trick is to try and persuade them to have a theme which is based around things you can get cheaply. For example ideas such as a spa party, pet party, sports party, dinosaur party, sports theme, spy theme, etc. A theme without a specific character is SO much cheaper and you have a lot more room for inexpensive creativity!
Here are some ideas:
- PRE-PLAN!I can’t say it enough! About 4 or so months before my kids birthdays rolls around I try to get them to nail down a theme for their birthday. This gives me plenty of time to keep an eye on clearance or discounts. I also find that this allows me several “seasons” of supplies at the Pound Shop and eventually they will carry what I want for the party.
- Make the party favour the party focus.What I mean by this is don’t bother with little bags of candy and trinkets at the end of the party. Instead incorporate something that can use or make AT the party to take home with them. For example at our bug parties we’ve bought £1 bug nets for each child. Centre the party around creating their own jewellry to take home.
- Make your own decorations.Since my kids pick their theme 4 months out it gives me time here and there when I get a chance to put together a few decorations for the party – thank you Design Bundles! In fact my kids have even made some of their own decorations for their parties! It really is fun to make it a whole family ordeal and everyone gets excited about it.
- Don’t serve lunch.This one can get a little tricky on timing but we keep our parties short and sweet. Just enough time that all the kids can come over and have an intensely fun time – but not long enough that they need more than cake to eat! Although I do usually have little buckets of fruit or sweets out to snack on if the kids get hungry.
Post Primary / Secondary School
This is the tricky age isn’t it! Kids this age can want quite the variety of things! The older the kids get the more expensive the requests get….although instead of a full blown party like the younger ones want it’s more a time to hang out than anything.
Since this age group is kind of all over the place in ideas from not even wanting to celebrate to planning big trips and pulling all-nights I’ll just throw out a few ideas for you! If they want an actual party you can use any of the ideas above that I’ve already mentioned! Here are some more inexpensive ideas and tips:
- Groupon: My kids at this age just wanted a way to feel special and celebrate their birthday without a whole party. So we pick a special activity to do as a family (and maybe with a friend or 2). Groupon has saved us a TON of money and really helped give my kids a special day by finding activities half off. Things like horseback riding, zip lining, go-karts, theme parks, paintball, mini golf, the zoo, a concert, painting class, etc.
- Buy something that can be used later! This is more of a practical splurge perhaps! Consider planning a birthday activity where you may need to purchase something but it can be used over and over again. For example invest in a tent for a birthday camping overnighter with friends. Buy some fishing rods and head to the lake – let the birthday kid pick out some lures and gear. It is a gift, expense, and complete activity all wrapped into one purchase.
- Plan a trip! More than likely this will run you a bigger expense than a party will but you can combine all of the birthdays and do something exciting. Last year each of my boys got special nice sleeping bags for their birthdays and we took a mini weekend road trip to get away and celebrate.
- Create a Scavenger Hunt: they won’t forget! This idea certainly requires some pre-planning but can turn into one pretty epic birthday adventure!
I hope the above has given you some ideas of how to save money on birthday parties. Can you think of any more?