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  1. #1
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    Star Birthday Parties on a budget

    This is great when your funds are tight:

    It's your little one's big day. Are you afraid that you will have to spend a fortune to make it special? If so, here is some good news for you. You can plan a magnificent party for your child's birthday without breaking the bank. Friends, food and fun. Your child can have it all. And you can rest easy because you won't have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it all.

    Planning a birthday bash on a budget generally requires two things: creativity and a little extra effort in pulling it all together. Try these suggestions for combining the two.

    Plan party activities that are multifunctional. Plan a craft for guests to make; this serves as both a party activity and a party favor. Or provide all the fixings and allow guests to make individual pizzas, sub sandwiches or banana splits. This will keep the kids busy and take care of a majority of the party food.


    In the months following a holiday, watch store clearance tables for items that can be used for birthday parties. Candy, colorful gift bags, and small novelty items can be used in making party loot bags. Watch also for useable decorations such as streamers and balloons, as well as colored napkins, cups and plates.


    Use photos as party favors. At the beginning of the party, take a digital group photo of the birthday child and guests. Arrange in advance to have a helper sneak away to the computer and print out the pictures before the party is over. Then slide copies of the photo into inexpensive paper frames for guests to take home as a party favor.


    Hiring a professional clown or magician may be out of your price range, but do you know an aspiring entertainer who would provide the entertainment at a reasonable price? Another entertainment idea is to ask a friend with a special talent (a potter, gourmet cook or musician) to do demonstrations or lead the kids in fun learning activities.


    If you want to keep the party food simple and low-cost, mid-afternoon is a great time to plan your child's party. Serving only cake and ice cream is a practical solution since the kids have already eaten lunch and it is too early for dinner. If you want to serve more, light fingerfoods (pretzels, popcorn, fruit slices) should suffice.


    Look for free or low-cost activities that could serve as the theme and entertainment for the party. Does your area have a children's museum? Coordinate your child's party to take advantage of any special museum programs. Is a local library hosting a free puppet show or craft class? Take the group to participate in it and then go to a local park for a picnic lunch and birthday cake afterward.


    When funds are low, use bartering to get what you need for the party. Work with other parents to swap skills and services you can provide (babysitting, housecleaning, or housesitting) for services they can provide for your party (cake decorating, entertainment, use of their pool, etc.).


    While we're on the topic of saving on birthday parties, don't forget that your child will also be invited to other children's parties throughout the year. Watch clearance sales for items that can be used as birthday gifts. Maintaining a stockpile of bargain-priced gifts is a great way to save money on presents for parties your child will attend.
    Tragedy, sadness, loneliness and despair taught me that life is really a beautiful thing; if it wasn't I wouldn't be able to recognize that anything was wrong - Lynn in Virginia

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  3. #2
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    Also, if you buy party goods or gift wrapping supplies, get colors that can be used year round and for both sexes like Red, Yellow, or Green. The dollar store is also a great place for party goods and gift wrapping supplies on the cheap. I frequently see party supplies listed on Craigslist and Freecycle either free or really cheap.

    Cupcakes are a great idea instead of doing cake. They are easier to serve, clean up, decorate, etc. You can also do a fun cookie pizza with ice cream for something different.

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  5. #3
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    This is timely advice, because my daughter has a party in less than two weeks. We decided to do an art party. She will be 10 years old and really into art. My sister designed the invitations, which I had printed at Office Depot on cardstock for under $5 total. My party buget is only fifty bucks.
    Here's what I have planned...
    1. Newsprint on the wall. Markers, crayons, paint markers, stickers, stamps, and stencils. Let the kids draw at will somewhere they don't normally draw: on the wall! My local paper gives away newsprint roll ends for free. I have the rest of the supplies on hand. Cost = FREE

    2. Homemade pinata: I found an easy pattern for a hot-air balloon pinata using the bottom of a yogurt carton, a round balloon, newspaper, and streamers. I have ALL of those on hand. Candy? Clearance Halloween candy!! Cost = $2

    3. This one is a toss up, and depends on what we find on sale. We will either puffy paint small tote bags, which will double as goodie bags, or we will tie die tee shirts, pillow cases, etc that we find at the thrift store and wash. Each kid can take a piece and go home with a tie died item. Cost = cost of die and cost of white items

    4. Decorate cupcakes. Home-baked cupcakes made from scratch, along with home-made frosting. I already have all of the ingredients AND paper liners, so that's "free." I do need to buy some decorations for the cupcakes, like small candies. I can make colored sugar for "free." Also a small (8" round) home-made birthday cake for the traditional candle-blowing.

    5. Kitchen counter art. Various "centers" that the kids can do at will, including beading, card making, and mask-making. No pressure. Just there if the kids want it.

    6. Face painting a la me. Home-made natural face paints and my time and "talent."

    7. A movie as a back-up plan. I have my daugher recording several on DVR in case the kids decide a movie and popcorn is the way to go. I have a hot-air popper, too.

    8. Decorations from previous years, eclectic style. After all, it is an art party. (Free)

    9. Goodie bags = small art supplies

    I hope it turns out nicely. I am looking forward to it and so is my kiddo.

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  7. #4
    Deal GURU
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    Thumbs up

    What a well planned party. And all within budget...You Go Mom!!!!.
    JoAnn
    "Joy is not in things. It is within us"

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  9. #5
    Frugal Goddess
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    Excellent ideas DohDoh!!! Thanks!!
    Tragedy, sadness, loneliness and despair taught me that life is really a beautiful thing; if it wasn't I wouldn't be able to recognize that anything was wrong - Lynn in Virginia

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