Monday, April 20, 2009
The following is a post from my wife:
Nowadays, it’s hard to attend a children’s birthday party where the parents haven’t spent at least $200-$300. Even though it’s a recession, parents seem hard pressed to skimp on spending for their children. The recession, however, provides a great opportunity to teach your children about the value of money and the real purpose of a birthday party: to celebrate the life of the child.
I thought about this over the weekend as I hosted a birthday party for my younger son. My husband and I decided to spend no more than $50 on the party. While initially, we thought this was too little, we didn’t let ourselves be deterred and before long were coming up with creative ideas for how to make this a wonderful birthday celebration for our son.
Believe it or not: we ended up spending only $40 for the party so imagine our delight that we saved a whole $10. So how did we do it? Overall, we kept things simple.
1. Pick a Theme. Pick a theme that will be conducive to a variety of decorations and games. If you do this, you will be able to minimize your cost significantly. The theme we picked with consultation from our son was: Let The Games Begin. This was great because it was a sports them and we decided to play a variety of outdoor games that were similar to what we did and our parents did growing up. The games included a relay race, a tug of war, a sack potato race, Simon Says and many other “old-school” games that many of our kids have never heard of.
2. Decorations. We purchased three rolls of streamers from the dollar store. Luckily, they had just what we needed: a roll of streamers that had a sports theme on it: there were baseballs, footballs, and basketball. We also allowed the kids to make homemade decorations and put them up all over the yard. Total Cost: $5. Now if you have a cartoon character theme, your decorations will increase. However, you can minimize your costs by purchasing merely a centerpiece with the character on it and then get streamers that accent it. For example, if your theme is a Princess Party, you can get a centerpiece of a Princess but then decorate your house, yard or place where you’re holding the event with pink and white streamers.
3. Cake. In lieu of purchasing a cake, my sister baked and beautifully decorated the cupcakes in the design of baseballs. Total Cost: $10
4. Food. Although pizza is the normal staple of food at a children’s birthday party, we celebrated with hotdogs, chips and punch. Total Cost: $15 for hot dogs, buns, chips and punch.
5. Prizes. We spent $10 at the dollar store purchasing prizes for the winners of the games. You will be surprised what types of items you can find at a dollar store. I was able to find kites, waterguns, pirate costumes, jump ropes, pokemon cards and a host of other great prizes. Total Cost; $10.
Although my son’s party was not held at Jungle Java, Pump It Up or Chuck E. Cheese or any of the other places that cost parents an arm and a leg to host a party, our son had a tremendous time. He really enjoyed the racing games and the sack potato race. He will tell you it was probably his best party to date.