5 Ways to Save Money on Kids Birthday Parties. Scroll here for some great tips on ways to save money on your kids birthday parties!
I realize this may be a little counter-intuitive for a cake decorator to be telling you how to save money, especially when I've also said most cake decorators need to be charging more, but here I am anyway... telling you 5 Ways to Save Money on Kids Birthday Parties.
Why? Because I'm cheap and I live on a budget and I have six kids... and I have all kinds of reasons to keep our birthday party expenses as low as possible!
Are you ready? Here are 5 things that I personally do to keep our birthday party expenses low.
1. Save on the cake! One of the most expensive thing at a party can be the cake. To save money, bake it yourself! Obviously, I make my kids cakes myself, but even though I *can* make super fancy cakes... I don't always do that.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of websites with tutorials for easy ways to decorate a cake and still have it turn out beautiful. Do an ombre cake, a roses cake (click here to see how to make them two colors), or even a rustic buttercream with an added toy topper and you're good to go!
Not a baker? Use a doctored cake mix recipe. Here are my most popular ones: vanilla cake, chocolate cake, white almond sour cream cake... click here for more!
Jessica at Life as Mom also has some fun posts up for DIY Birthday Cakes... she's been making her own for years (and she's not a "cake decorator") and her cakes are always fun and cute!
Want something even easier? Do cupcakes. You can watch this video to learn how to decorate cupcakes like a pro!
2. Keep the decorations simple. While it's nice to have really fancy decorations with matching table clothes and a custom birthday banner... it's not necessary. In fact, I almost never decorate anymore other than blowing up a couple of bags of solid colored balloons to match the theme. Little kids especially get more entertainment from the balloons than anything else and at the end of the day, you don't have a ton of expensive decorations to toss out.
3. Don't buy themed paper products. I never, ever buy plates and cups and napkins to match the theme. My favorite thing to do is hit up a dollar store (like Dollar Tree) for solid colored plates and napkins and cups that match the theme. Red for Elmo, Blues for Frozen, Green for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... you get the idea! The plain solid colors are pennies on the dollar cheaper than the character or licensed paper goods!
Don't wanna go to the store? Check out Birthday Express where you can also get solid colored paper products! Birthday in a Box is another great online resource for inexpensive party supplies that come in solid colors or generic designs!
4. Have the party at home or at a park. While I know it's way more thrilling to have a skating party or bowling party or video game party... you can save hundreds by just staying home or reserving a pavilion at a local park. Probably 95% of my kids parties have been at home and they're just as happy to have all their friends at the house as they were when I shucked out a couple of hundred bucks to take 15 kids bowling.
5. Print the invitations yourself or even better - send invitations via social media, texting, or email. I know custom invitations can really be beautiful and personal, but they're also expensive and at the end of the day, they're in the trash. My favorite way recently to invite peeps to parties is to create an "event" on Facebook since almost all of our family and friends are on there. If you'd still prefer to mail an invitation, print them yourself from a free template online or buy a custom design on Etsy and print them yourself.
Tell me, tell me... how do YOU save on your kids birthday parties? Do you have other tips that I didn't mentions? I'd love for you to leave me a comment!
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I make my own decorations from scrapbook paper, ribbon, stickers, etc. that I have around the house or can buy at the dollar stores. Piñatas are an added expense too. You can find tutorials on YouTube for those as well. My son always wants a piñata! Google and Pinterest are wonderful tools for people who like to go all out without spending a ton of money and don't mind making your own party decor.
Oooh, I didn't mention that but my kids love to help make their own pinatas! Great ideas - thank you!
I love this post. The whole reason I got into cake decorating was to be able to make nice cakes for my kids like my mom did for my brothers and me.
I like to make my own decorations that coordinate with the theme. I get tons of low cost ideas from Pinterest. For example, for my daughter's Frozen party, I made 3d snowflakes and the flat ones, too. They were a big hit.
I'll keep the party foods to a few that go with the theme and make my own table cards describing the food. For my son's Star Wars party, I made chocolate dipped pretzel rods and had a sign calling them "light sabers."
My husband doesn't believe in party favors for the guests, but I like to thank people for taking time out of their day to come celebrate with us. For most of my kid's parties, I make cookies and package them up in clear bags as their favor. For our Lalaloopsy party, I colored sugar cookie dough pink and yellow and cut circles out with 2 holes in the middle to make button cookies. For the Frozen party I made your "snowball" cookies. Easy and cute!
Oooh - Pinterest! I need to add that to the post! It's a GREAT resource for inexpensive crafts and decorations that we can make ourselves! Thank you!!
What I've been able to do the last few years to plan ahead and do both kid's themes (I have two, one in May then one in September) with coordinating colors so I can use all the leftover plates, napkins and balloons for the next party. When Micah was four and Judah was one, Micah had a humpty party and I decorated with teal and blue. Then Judah had a nautical theme and I used all of the basics over and added a few things here and there. Then the next year was Mario then Curious George, so I used red and yellow for those. We never end up using all supplies from the first party so I rarely have to buy for the second. =)
Great ideas!! Two of my kids have birthdays in April (10 days apart) so I always try to do a joint party for them and that's also a big money saver. Maybe I'll start doing a "color of the year" and every child has to pick a theme that matches that color so we can use the same decorations/paper goods for the whole year 🙂 Thanks for those ideas Rebecca!! xx
Loooooove this idea!
Edible images for that homemade cake! Its perfect BIG bang for your buck!!!!!
I am not 'big" on baking but enjoy this site and are going to use it a lot for my kids parties I believe Home made is better so I try to do my kids cakes and parties myself.
When I plan parties, I have the theme and colors, but for the plates and napkins, I usually buy 1 set of the theme ones and mix them in with the solid colors. So, for our lego theme birthday, we used yellow and blue ( with red and green other decor too) and had 1 set of lego theme plates. Lego plate, yellow plate, blue plate, lego plate, yellow, blue... it still has the touch of theme, but much cheaper than just buying theme ones!
My kids have always had really fun parties. Maybe not always the cheapest, but if it was a pricier event we usually kept it to about 8 people. Especially with the girls since they usually had a slumber party too.
We always had a craft project for the kids to do and that was their party favor to take home. One of the favs was a fleece pillow. I bought square pillow forms from the fabric store (use those coupons) and fleece fabric with rainbow unicorns on it. (It went with the horseback riding they did.) I cut the fleece and the girls knotted it around the pillows the same way you knot fleece for the popular blankets. A fellow crafty mom loved this one.
Another one was stamped pillow cases. I bought white pillow cases and they used fabric ink pads and butterfly stamps. (Any design/theme works) Their names were added too. My daughter is now 24 and we still have her pillow case. This one I had to do in shifts since it took more space. While the girls watched a movie I ironed the cases to set the ink.
One popular thing for food was a pizza bar. The small Boboli pizza crusts with sauce and toppings. Then they would make their own pizzas for dinner.
Those are the things I can think of from when my kids were younger and pre-Pinterest. We usually didn't bother with colored plates etc. probably because my kids didn't care. Only if it was a big party did I do the colored plate thing.
Wow! I really admire the valuable information you have been able to share us through this post.
We have recently had two birthday parties, and we made our own piñatas. After going to party city and finding out piñatas are very expensive, we decided to see tutorials and both a soccer ball and a unicorn we made came out great, even nicer than the store ones. We also designed our own invitations.
That's awesome! I love DIY to save money!!