Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ashton's 6th Birthday!

So as we were scrambling around today trying to get our bills paid it struck me, it's May 17th already!  Ashton's birthday is on the 26th and we haven't prepared anything at all!  So I ran home and looked up some easy and cheap tips and tricks for a child's birthday party!  The more money I save on his party, the more I have to spend on his gift.  This year we don't have a lot to spend so we're going to have to be extra frugal.  Here are just a few of the tips I found to be useful.

1. Decide on a budget ahead of time and don't go over. If you don't set a limit you'll probably end up spending more than you intended, so it's a good idea to plan ahead.  Decide how much you want to spend in each category: food, entertainment, location, gift, etc. 
2. Instead of spending money on invitations, envelopes and postage, help your child make his own invitations!  Glue, markers, gel pens, glitter, construction paper, the possibilities are endless!  If you're not the creative type try using paperless invites online such as Evite which allows you to create and send party invitations online.

3. Who says you need to spend money to have a great party location?  Decorate your house, spend the day at the beach or at the park, volunteer and help out the needy in your community, most of all just be creative.  If you'd like to spend something just not too much, check with the venue for discounts or promotions they may have going on that you don't know about.  Museums have free admission days as do some art galleries and other interesting locations!  

4. Luckily for us, Ashton tends to stick to just a couple close friends instead of being friends with everyone.  Invite your child's closest 3-5 friends to the party instead of the entire class.  

5. Timing is more important than you think!  Try to plan the party around mid afternoon so your guests don't have any expectations for a large meal.  I know friends who have spent hundreds on food that people end up wasting anyway.  Stick to the birthday party basics: cake, ice-cream, chips, soda pop, etc.  

6. Clowns, Magicians and other birthday party entertainment can be pretty costly.  So have an adult, like yourself or other family members, dress up instead!  Go online and watch balloon animal tutorial videos on YouTube, learn a few magic tricks by searching on Google, be creative!  Having a theme party?  Dress up as your child's favorite character! 

7. Wrapping paper is a huge waste of money and paper.  Why not recycle some old newspaper comics, bubble wrap, an old t-shirt, old maps, old children's drawing, just look around your house!  Don't want to wrap it?  Place it in an old, cleaned out Chinese Take-Out box, berry boxes or shoe boxes.  Decorate them with glitter, ribbons, collages, stickers, anything to add some jazz!

8. Save money and bake your own birthday cake!  Or bake cupcakes or cookies and let the children decorate them themselves.  It's a super fun activity, kids love it and it'll save you a few bucks on the cake.  

9. Quite a few companies offer discounts and freebies to everyone that claims them, on their birthday.  Check out Toy's R Us, Dave & Busters, Coldstone Creamery, and other restaurants and entertainment centers and ask them if they have specials on your birthday!

10. Check out the dollar store or stores like Target with a Dollar Section.  There you can find cheap party favors, decorations, treats, and other supplies for the party.  Buy some plain flip flops, fabric paint, glitter and other little decorations and let them design their own flip flops! Make some maps and have a scavenger or treasure hunt!  The possibilities are endless!

Frugal Party Games

Bean Bag Toss - Prepare and decorate different sized boxes ahead of time and fill small bags or even socks with dry beans and knot shut.  Have a child stand behind a line (masking tape usually works best) and have them throw the bean bags into the boxes placed across from them.  Points are awarded for how far away the box is.  For example, a box closest to the child would be worth 1 point while the farthest away would be worth 5.  The child with the most points at the end, wins the game.

Balloon Pop-  On one or more small slips of paper write the name of a prize and slide the piece of paper into the deflated balloon.  Blow up the balloons and place them around the room.  Allow each child to choose one balloon to pop and receive whatever prize the piece of paper says.  This is a good game to do last, before everyone goes home.

Cake Eating Contest- This is better for older children who won't choke. Arrange the children in a circle on the floor, kneeling and have them clap their hands behind their back.  Each child will be given a piece of cake.  Call "Go!" and everyone will dig in, keeping their hands behind their back.  The first person to finish wins a prize!

Egg and Spoon Racing- I'm sure you've done this once or twice when you were young!  Grab a few eggs and a few spoons, separate everyone into two teams and have them walk as quickly as possible to the finish line and back with the egg still on the spoon, once they get back they must pass it on to the next person without dropping it.  If you don't want to use eggs, try potatoes or ping pong balls!

Limbo- Grab a long pole or stick, have two people hold each end and Limbo away!  Begin at children's shoulder level and move downwards as time goes on.

Water Balloon Fight- Fill up some balloons with water and go crazy!  Have some extra water guns?  There's no such thing as getting too wet!

Do you have any other Birthday Party Tips or Tricks?  I can use all the help I can get before next weekend!  

(Sources: 70 Frugal Birthday Party Games,Frugal Birthday Party Planning-


  1. Those are some pretty good tips. It is really nice that your son is willing to stick with just a few close friends, it makes everything a lot easier.

    My tip for a smaller party is to use normal plates, cups, and utensils instead of buying disposable. You may have to wash them, but it saves money and waste!

    Happy Birthday to your little guy!

  2. My favorite thing about birthday parties is the cake. I always make easy but fun cakes. Dinosaurs, ballerina slippers, ships, whatever the theme is. It serves as great decor and obviously to eat! follow me

  3. Great tips! Stopping by from the Alexa hop :)

  4. I like the no wrapping paper tip - good one! Stopping by from the Alexa hop.

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