Updated: Oct 29
Having a fantastic party on a budget is a lot easier than most people think! Birthdays are a big deal in our household but so is saving money. Find out below the best ways to save on your child's special day.
If you've ever talked to anyone in finance they will tell you the first step in saving money is budgeting. Your birthday party will need the following items and you should decide how much money you are willing to spend in each area before you begin your planning: Decor, Entertainment, Food, and Venue.
Decorating is the first step to saving money for your child's birthday. Fantastic and over-the-top decor is gorgeous and really does make a party look outstanding, however, it is possible to be over-the-top decor and save a few dollars in the meantime. An appropriate amount to spend you might look to spend at a party with 20-30 guests is around $50 for decor. This includes plates, napkins, silverware, tabletop decor, backdrop, and table runner. Take a trip to your local dollar store with the birthday girl (or boy!) they will LOVE getting to choose the colors for their party. Instead of choosing licensed characters - save money but choose a color scheme (3 colors usually gives the best look) and go from there. If you are having a Frozen Themed party I would recommend blue, purple, and white as the color scheme (for Ariel choose purple, green and red). After you have chosen your plates, napkins, and silverware you can think about centerpieces for the table. Centerpieces do not have to be expenses. Check out our "craft ideas" blog for ideas about centerpieces that you and your child can make! Next you will want to think about a fun photo area. You have a couple of options for this: a character licensed backdrop, a generic backdrop, or a pretty spot outside in good lighting with no backdrop. If you take a look at our website, you will notice that all of our characters had their photos taken in my backyard next to my tree line. I love how uniform and simple the background looks. I used to pay hundreds of dollars every year for nice venues for my photos and when I discovered I could do this at home it was a big deal! For a generic backdrop look, try making your own balloon arch. There are lots of Youtube videos for how to create these masterpieces on a budget.
Birthday Cake: Kids love their birthday cakes. One of the first things a child does when we get to their party is run to show us their cake.
Instead of getting an expensive cake - try this instead. Let your child choose a generic cake at your local Walmart, Publix, or Ingles. Let them also choose a Disney Licensed Character set. Allow the birthday girl to place the characters on her own cake where-ever she prefers. She will get to keep the set afterwards and she will feel so involved - and don't kids just want to be involved? I found this entire set on Amazon for under $20.
You found your way to our website, so clearly you are thinking about entertainment and how to do it best. So often when we price out parties for families they decide that they can no longer afford live entertainment - but this is where they are wrong. Families will often ask us the price of a 2-hr. event with 4 characters and when they see the price - they immediately shy away from any type of entertainment. Instead of going for a large party with lots of characters, try this instead - one of two of your child's favorite characters for a 60 minute visit.
60 minutes is plenty of time for your child to get a great interaction and be entertained. Here is how a 2 hr. party often runs:
30 minutes: guests to arrive and children to get comfortable in their new setting
60 minutes: princess entertainment - your guests will be completely entertained with the characters.
30 minutes for cake and presents.
Party is over and you can relax! This is likely where the bulk of your budget will go but you will not be disappointed with the amount of stress this takes off of you when you no longer have to worry about keeping your guests from boredom or making sure everyone around you is happy and having a good time. We take care of that for you!
Having your party right before or after lunch is the best way to save. You will not have to worry about providing a meal for your guests. Instead of a meal, you can have a "snack" table full of wonderful goodies that do not break the bank. Offer juice boxes for kids and water for adults. Have stickers for kids to put on the outside of their cups for added fun (and then they will remember which drink belongs to them!).
Party venues are usually the most stressful and often the most expensive party of birthday parties. If you have a home or backyard area that allows for guests this is going to be your cheapest option.
If you do not here are some places we would suggest reaching out to for a party on a budget: local parks (often they have pavilions for rent), restaurants with "play" areas for kids, community centers (these are usually available for rent and are not expensive), your local church.
The most important thing to remember about budgeting on this special day is that no matter what options you decide to go with - your child will thank you and they will be left with memories to last a lifetime.