Monday, April 23, 2012

Throwing a Frugal Birthday Party

A few days ago, my daughter turned three years old. Three is a great age for birthday parties because you can still do a pretty thrifty party! And we sure did! We were so happy with the outcome of the party but we definitely proved you can party on a budget.

We set a budget of $200 at the beginning of April. We didn't know exactly what we were going to do or where we were going to have it, plus we knew we could possibly have around 40 people coming. So here is our budget breakdown after the whole thing is said and done:

  • Homemade party favors - Less than $3 to make all of them (including the candy inside of them)
  • Bouncy house for the entire day of the party - $125
  • All the food, including two birthday cakes, chips and dip, barbecue meatballs, seven different types of drinks, and mini cherry cheesecakes - around $30
  • paper products - less than $3 (we had leftovers from Hunter's 1st birthday in September, and I got napkins for free from Harris Teeter)

Final total for everything - $165. If we hadn't splurged on the bouncy house we could have done this party for about $1 per person! I say that not to urge you to be cheap when you're throwing a birthday party, but to let you know that it can be done on a budget.

I am really happy that we got to splurge on the bounce house.  One thing our budget has done for us is it's helped us to understand each other and compromise more. For example, Stephen found something he really wants to purchase (and it's totally a "want", not at all something he needs) so he decided for the month of April he was going to save his lunch money and spend that money on this item he wants. That is a compromise for him, because in the past he probably would have just spent that money. After all, it's just $50, it wouldn't break us for him to spend $50 on eating out and $50 on this item, but he knows it's important to me to save as much money as possible, so he chose to save his money. As for me, after setting such a high budget for the birthday party and realizing how thrifty I could be with decorations and cooking, I had the suggestion of splurging on the bounce house. I think a few months ago I wouldn't have dreamed of doing that, thinking that spending that money would break us and it wouldn't be worth it. Seeing the numbers of our budget on paper helps me to see where we can afford to splurge and where we can take shortcuts if we need to. So I was totally comfortable spending the money on something like that, knowing that it was going to be fine financially.

Cute silverware holder - I made this from a formula can, scrapbook paper, and made a bow from some ribbon in my craft bag. Free!

 The bounce house:

Plain chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and TONS of pink sprinkles!

White cake recipe with fondant icing for the rainbow doodle cake:

Homemade party favors:

 My beautiful 3-year old!

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