Frugal Friday....

It's been a while since I have participated in Life as Mom's Frugal Friday so I am linking up today. Since we just threw a birthday party for LM I thought I would pass on some of my money saving ideas. Hopefully they will be useful to someone some day.

My first money saving tip is to have a party at home. You will save a TON of money if you don't have to plunk down money on renting space. The kids don't care how big your house or yard is. They care about cake.

Which leads me to money saving tip number 2. Make the cake. Bakery cakes are outrageous. Good but outrageous. If you aren't much of a baker you can still make a pretty darn good boxed cake with store bought frosting. If the birthday child is old enough, have them help with the baking. Boxed mixes are often on sale for less that $1 per box and there are always coupons available. Stock up when they are on sale. Premade frosting comes in tons of flavors and there's always a brand on sale. Most mixes show fun recipes on the back of the box so you can "Sandra Lee" your cake if you want to. There are tons of fun, easy ideas for decorating your cakes on line. Make yourself a copy cat here! LM's party was a cupcake decorating event so I made 48 cupcakes ahead of time for the kids to decorate & take home as well as cupcakes to eat at the party. I used 3 boxes of mix. All purchased on sale, of course.

Third, don't serve a meal. Serve cake and ice cream (buy that on sale too!) and a few light snacks (a veggie tray that you make, pretzels, popcorn). Have your party at a non-meal time so there's no question about whether your guests will have eaten. I like the 2pm-5pm time range. The kids will have eaten lunch but not dinner.

Serve water or koolaid to drink. Skip the juice boxes or (gasp!) sodas. Buy small plastic cups (on sale if possible) and put out pitchers of water and koolaid. Get a couple of packets of koolaid for less than $1 and make your own. You can control the sugar that way, too. I actually bought small water bottles this year since they were on sale and made fun little labels on the computer using typing paper.

Skip the goody bags. Skip them totally or make them smaller & filled with less stuff. I was able to find some cute bags @ Michaels for $1 each but I did buy 9 of them so that adds up. If your budget doesn't include something like that you can use brown lunch sacks and decorate them or have the kids decorate them. We all have tons of crayons, markers and stickers so there's no need to buy anything. I bought blow pops for the goody bags and bagged up extra candy from the cupcake decorating to put in the goody bags. I also made chocolate covered pretzels using the rod pretzels and melted white chocolate chips rolled in sprinkles I had for the cupcake decorating. Again, use what you have. If you decide to get non candy fillers check Michaels and Walmart for some fun things.

Make your own games. This year we put jelly beans (which were later put in the goody bags) in a jar and had the kids guess the # in the jar. The winner's prize was markers bought on sale for $3. We also played Bingo using cards I made. I found them at this web site. I printed them on card stock but regular paper works too. Prizes were big rainbow lollipops (I know the parents appreciated all the sugar at this party!) I bought for $1 each. In the past I have made my own Pin the Backpack on Dora & Pin the tale on Gloria (from Madagascar) games using poster board, markers and construction paper.

Even with the few splurges - the bags from Michaels, cupcake boxes to take home cupcakes and some extra sprinkles- I spent well under $100 for the party. You can do it for less if you plan ahead. There's no need to spend a ton of money on a kid's party.


The Mrs. said…
You don't want to see the cake I would make!!! LOL

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