Most parents see birthday parties as an opportunity to show their kids just how special they are – and that means that it can be tempting to “go big.” That’s because, of course, our kids do mean a lot to us, so it’s no surprise that we like to go the extra mile when it comes to birthday party planning. However, despite all the love you have, and as much as you might like to make your kid’s birthday party as extravagant as possible, you might find yourself working on a tight budget. But limited money shouldn’t make you feel like you can’t still hold a fantastic party.
There are a number of ways you can plan a birthday party that is both fun and affordable – even on a tight budget. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Choose the venue wisely
Many parents choose to rent spaces to host their kid’s party because of the convenience that comes with renting. When you do this, you will not have to worry about the setup and clean up after the party. However, that comes at a significant cost. If you’re working with a tight budget, as opposed to renting a space, host your kid’s party at home or in the backyard (especially in the summer months) at no cost. Throwing a birthday party at home allows you to keep the costs at a bare minimum because you can decide what to outsource and what you can do by yourself. Also, it lets you spend money on the most critical aspects of your kid’s birthday party.
If you don’t have space at home, you might even want to try a local park, many of which offer picnic shelters for minimal rental fees or open spaces that you can use at no cost. To see some of the amazing parks available throughout the Greater Richmond area, visit Richmond Mom’s guide to the Richmond’s Best Parks and Playgrounds.
Look for affordable birthday party entertainment
Your fancier birthday parties might feature entertainers who dress as the characters in kids’ favorite movies, storybook, and TV programs. The characters will often oversee various activities like dancing, skits, or special interaction with guests. Many parents also choose to hire magicians and clowns as part of the entertainment. The costs for this type of entertainment can vary depending on the person you hire, as well as the location and the day of the event. While more elaborate entertainment may be out of your budget, there are still several ways you can save on your kid’s party entertainment plans while offering great fun.
As opposed to hiring an outside person or company, consider asking a relative or a friend to play the role of your child’s favorite character. You can also provide your own entertainment. If you are hosting the party outdoors, you can organize events like fun relay races, tug-of-war, or water play. If the party is indoors, you can keep guests entertained by holding activities like treasure hunts, movie screenings, talent shows, and crafts.
If you do decide to hire a kids’ entertainer, ensure you do your research and choose the one who will fulfill your needs and complement your budget at the same time.
Serve snacks instead of meals
The convenient way to hold a birthday party is to buy catered food and desserts. However, it is worth noting that holding an at-home birthday party can be as expensive as renting space if proper attention and detail is not given to the food budget. The best way to save money on food is to avoid serving a meal like lunch or dinner. Feeding a room full of kids can be a big challenge, not to mention the inconvenience that comes with it. But there are ways to simplify. Instead of serving a meal, you can strategically host the party between 2pm and 4pm when there is no expectation of lunch or dinner. During these hours, you can easily serve snacks and cake, all of which can be found in local grocery stores in a variety of price ranges.
Set your budget and time, then plan according
If you don’t have a budget set, then it’s easy to watch the costs pile up. Even little things like party favors and snacks can add up quickly. Decide from the start what you are able and willing to spend, then go from there. For instance, a major factor that will determine the total cost of your kid’s birthday party is the number of guests. An effective way to host a budget-friendly party is to focus on a short guest list. While it might be tempting to invite your kids’ entire school class or you might feel obligated to invite everyone in the neighborhood, the simple fact is that feeding 20 guests is more expensive than feeding ten guests, and thus, the best way to prepare a budget-friendly kid’s party is to invite only a few selected people who are close to your child. Talk to your child beforehand and let him or her be part of the process.
It is also worth noting proper timing is important. In addition to hosting the party between meals to help you avoid serving meals on your kid’s party, you should plan according to the weather. If you are planning to host an outdoor party, you should also have a backup plan in case it rains, which might mean having an indoor space prepared or setting a “rain date” in advance. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard and feel that you have to make last-minute decisions or changes to your plan that might force you to go over-budget.
There’s no doubt that hosting a birthday party for your child can dent your budget, but with proper planning, it’s easy to plan a party that is special for your kids and fun for you. Just remember that spending a ton of money on a birthday party does not guarantee that your child will be happier or more satisfied. Instead, focus on making your child’s special day one that is memorable, but at a cost that you can afford.
About the author: Rachel Merashi is a Content Manager with Yabadoo. They provide top quality kids party entertainment at affordable prices and have hosted thousands of children parties and special events.