Saturday, November 20, 2010

Home Birthday Parties

If we're not careful, birthday parties can cost a small fortune. Case in point: my youngest daughter's recent party at a party venue ran me $250 for the venue, $40 for the cake, $60 for the present, and $30 for the goodie bags. And it was a pretty simple party as far as parties go.

My oldest daughter is turning 12 and wants a simple sleepover party. You can imagine my inner joy when she said that. Home parties can cost so much less. Note, I say CAN, not DO, because it's easy to go overboard with a home party.

I thought I'd share with you my plans for our home birthday party.

Bayberry is having a slumber party. We took into consideration her age and interests in planning her party. We did not have the most frugal party possible. There are places we could have cut corners and costs. I'll talk about that later. We did manage to save a lot of money anyway!

Here's our plan and what it's costing us:

  • Twilight series movies -- already owned Cost = $0
  • facials and nail painting -- homemade facials and we already own the nail polish Cost = $0
  • Disney Sing It --already owned Cost = $0

  • popcorn, oil, salt -- Cost = $3.00
  • 2 bags of chips -- Cost = $3.00
  • bag of m&m candies -- Cost = $1.50
  • Ice cream cake -- Cost = $12.00

  • Homemade cupcakes -- Cost = $4.00
  • Hawaiian Punch, 2 bottles -- Cost = $4.00
  • Tombstone Pizzas (3) -- Cost = $6.00
  • Breakfast (Pancakes, Bacon, Sausage, Syrup, Orange Juice, Breakfast Casserole) -- Cost = $15.00
Goodie Bags
  • heart-shaped white boxes (6) -- Cost = $6.00
  • bath poufs (6) -- Cost = $1.16
  • Shower Gel (6) -- Cost = $10.00
  • Nail Polish (6) -- Cost = $6.00
  • Lip Gloss (12) -- Cost = $2.40
  • Rose Petal soaps (12) -- Cost = $1.33
  • 6 invitations -- Cost = $3.37

  • wallet with cash inside -- Cost = $55.00
  • zhu zhu pet with accessories -- Cost = $20.00 est.

Previous Venue Party Cost = $380.00

Home Party Savings = $226.24 --In other words, my family's large cell phone bill for a month. WOW.

We could have saved more. Here's how:

  1. Ditch the chips. They already have access to pretty much unlimited popcorn. Savings = $3.00
  2. Make a cake. Skip Carvel and cupcakes. Savings = about $12.00
  3. Go with store-brand soda/iced tea/KoolAid for drinks. Savings = $2.00
  4. Make pizzas from scratch. Savings = about $3.00
  5. Smaller breakfast. Ditch the bacon and casserole. Savings = about $6.00
  6. Skip the goodie bags altogether. Savings = $26.89
  7. Print our own invitations. Savings = $3.00
  8. Less cash in the wallet. $50 is standard present cost for us, but we could have halved it to save. $25.00
Cost of this party with the reductions = $72.87

More ways to save on home parties:
  • Use what you have for decorating. Chances are good that you already have streamers, balloons, and confetti hanging around from years prior. Mix and match for a new look.
  • Negotiate prices. Or barter. Maybe Jo Jo the clown would be willing to take hedge trimming or gutter cleaning in exchange for an hour with the kids.
  • Use your dishes rather than buying paper/plastic disposables.
  • Shop sales for party food. Publix had my chips buy one, get one free last week.
  • For entertainment, choose a movie you own, or set out a bunch of craft supplies you have on hand and let the kids create what they want to create.
  • Another entertainment option that also cuts food costs: Have the kids prepare their own food. Whether they make individual pizzas, tacos, or cupcakes, making it at home costs less than buying premade. And letting the kids create their own provides food and entertainment. A double whammy.


StephenC said...

Hurray for you. I've never thrown a birthday party (my dog doesn't seem to mind). By being creative and inventive it sounds as if you gave your daughter a very special event.

Jenn said...

Great tips on how to save but yet have a fantastic party for the kids! I love your ideas...they are perfect!

SharleneT said...

Having raised my family during a time when outsourcing b'day parties just wasn't done, it has always been very hard for me to understand why you would even start to do it; but, we specifically did it that way because of the incredible savings. Hope you've started a great trend amongst her peers and will help others save money. Going to blog about this, further. Thanks for the tickler!

heather said...

so far we have gotten away with not having parties anywhere but home. well i had rented a center one yr but that was only $75. i don't do much for decorations and b/c my oldest bday is after halloween the goodie bags are usually filled with cheap-o toys that i got 50% off the day after!

then we shop at the dollar store for plates, cups, etc. ALWAYS make my own cake b/c store bought doesnt' compare. we keep it simple, cake and ice cream, then i don't have to worry about food for people or stress about making it!

Frugal in Florida said...

I've always been amazed at the cost to have a birthday party outside the home ... being that both kids have early december birthdays within days of each other, we've always opted for a "birthday gathering" and almost always it's the same thing, taco bar, decorate your own cupcakes and water balloon fights. Amazing, they are going to be 18 and 20 and have the NERVE to ask if we can do it again this year :) I think it's just a novelty for a lot of the kids that come to the house that this kind of stuff really does happen? :)

ginger-n-wyo said...

Home parties are so much fun. We have done lots of them over the years. Last year my son's 10th birthday was Guitar Hero themed, with invitations that looked like backstage passes and everyone came dressed up like their favorite rock star. Hope your kids enjoy them as much as mine do.

Samara Link said...

How fun ... and affordable! Happy birthday wishes to the birthday girl!

Deborah said...

Cupcakes look yummy! Thanks for the great tips on how to have a great party on a budget!

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