|Money saving hack: Forgo the expensive birthday cake by stacking donuts... it's both pretty and costs a fraction of the price! |
|The curio cabinet in our dining room doubled as our concession stand, which we stocked full of boxes of popcorn, various candy (all from Dollar Tree), pretty straws (Dollar Trees), and bottles of water (Target). |
|These boxes were super cheap on Amazon and added so much to the party!|
For Jackson’s movie theater party, we invited several of his best friends (and their families!), stocked up on all kinds of treats from Dollar Tree (and bags of pre-popped popcorn from Costco), dimmed the lights in the basement, turned on Finding Dory, and voila — we had a simple, yet fun birthday party for around $50 that both the parents and kids enjoyed.
I’m not necessarily saying you HAVE to have a movie theater birthday party in order to stay under $50 (though it is a theme I highly recommend and will probably use again), so I will share a few tips that I have picked up along the way in order to keep the party cost low and the entertainment factor high:
Opt for FREE invites
While I love snail mail and enjoy receiving paper invitations in the mail, it is completely unnecessary for a child’s birthday party (as — let’s face it — the invite will maybe hang on the refrigerator for a week or two before being tossed), which is why I use Evite. If you aren’t familiar with Evite, it is super easy to navigate, easy to customize, and FREE to use, which are all wins in my book!
Use what you have
Yes, bounce houses and balloon-animal-making clowns can be fun, but they can also be extremely costly and — quite frankly — unnecessary (since most kids are happy with just playing with their friends and eating snacks). If you are on a budget, work with what you have! Do you own a TV? Take my advice and host a movie theater party! Do you live by a park? Let the younger kids run and play on the playground or plan a fun scavenger hunt for the older kids (which my dad did for my 9th birthday and was enjoyed by all!). Summer baby? Water balloons and sprinklers in the backyard! Do you see where I’m going with this?
Remember: you don’t have to serve an entire meal
An easy way to keep party costs low is by planning around meal times. Remember: you do NOT have to serve your guests an entire meal (which I can almost guarantee the kid’s parents are not expecting); cake and ice cream is perfectly acceptable!
Don’t get sucked in by expensive party store decor
While colorful decor can be fun and can add value to a theme party, it is not necessary… However, if you do decide to add a little more pizzazz to your party with streamers, pastel-colored plates and cups, or balloons, do NOT buy them from a flashy and over-priced party store. Instead, I recommend checking out Oriental Trading (for cute bulk items), Dollar Tree, or even a big box store (a la Target or Walmart) for any decor or party ware.
Favors are OPTIONAL
Okay, so I will admit that I did small favors for Jackson’s party (which consisted of Finding Dory gummies and graham crackers, plus a bag of microwave popcorn), but they honestly wouldn’t have been missed had we not given them out. That being said, don’t think that you need to spend extra money on parting gifts for the kids — their memories will last WAY longer than any candy bar or small bottle of bubbles ever will.