Being a mother of four, I know all too well that allowing my kids to go to birthday parties adds up—quickly. And, if we assume you’re a “yes” person like me and, if there is nothing else on the calendar, you let your children (or yourself) attend (or throw) any and all parties that come up.
That gets pretty expensive.
Here’s my tips on how to save money when it comes to throwing a party or sending your children off to their friends’ next big shindig:
Do you have a sense of how many birthday parties you or your kids will be invited to each year? Scope out the after Christmas, Thanksgiving or any other holiday-type sales and stock up. Buy gifts ahead of time and keep them in the same area you store your wrapping paper, etc. You’ll always have something on hand and won’t end up spending a fortune on full-priced gifts. Another thought? Use Amazon wish lists to set up lists for each member of your family. You can have notifications sent your way when items go on sale and often can score free shipping. (You mean, I don’t have to leave my house or pay extra for someone to deliver the gift to me? Yes, please!)
Recycling wrapping paper
Do you buy new bags and tissue each time you need to wrap a gift? If you’re not picky about your gifts being wrapped a particular way, there is no harm in recycling the tissue paper from gifts you’ve gotten or saving the gift bags as they come in for your own parties. Use a large plastic bin or paper bag to store your own tissue paper, ribbons, bows, etc. Or, go old-school and wrap up your gifts in pieces of last week’s newspaper or the comics. Your recipient is going to tear it apart anyway, right?
Pinterest is an awesome tool to use for cheap, do-it-yourself party decorations, food items and invitations. I was all over Pinterest when it came time to plan my 5-year old daughter’s “fiesta” birthday party. We made all our own food (even the salsa!) and decorations. And the best part? She’ll remember that birthday as being a la Mom and Dad. We worked hard to make it look and feel special—on the cheap!
BYO (add item here)
When you throw a party, ask your guests to chip in with anything from food to beverages or napkins. We love to entertain at our house (and let’s face it, with four kids, it’s much easier to stay on home base than transport everyone somewhere else). A method we use a lot is to provide a “main” meal or course and ask our guests to bring an appetizer or dessert. And a good percentage of the time our guests also bring their own beer or wine (we typically have water and juice/pop on hand).
Those are my tips for cheap party planning and gift-giving. What are yours?