Ah, it’s that time of year again. Your child’s birthday is just over the horizon, and you’ve entered the typical panicking routine. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it. Most importantly, however, there’s so much that you fear could go wrong. You don’t have a huge amount of money sitting around, so you can’t throw a lavish and awe-inspiring spectacle for all the kids and parents. Yet, at the same time, you feel you need to leave your child awestruck on their big day.
It isn’t impossible to put together a birthday event that blows your kid’s mind without blowing your bank account. The key is to simply put in a little extra effort with regards to the pampering, partying and gift-giving on this important day. It’s time to take a DIY approach to your child’s birthday, and you might find that the event feels all the more special for your additional effort. Here are some top tips to give your kid a brilliant birthday without destroying your savings.
Don’t overdo it.
The first piece of advice to put your mind at ease, as mentioned over at netmums.com, is to simply keep your child’s birthday party simple. Kids don’t always want big, lavish and expensive affairs, though we may worry that they do. We were all children ourselves at one time, and you might remember that the important things were always the simplest things. You wanted all your friends to be there, and you all wanted to play some fun games. Neither of those things needs to be expensive, as musical chairs and pass the parcel won’t require too many materials.
A home-based party.
Rather than scouring the earth for the ideal venue, I think you know where the best place to hold your child’s party might be. You don’t have to feel cheap or as if you’ve settled for second best when you throw a birthday party in your back garden or the living room and kitchen of your home. In fact, throwing a party for your child in your own home rather than a private venue means you can create a better event because you have creative freedom.
You can always spill the party out into the garden if you have too many guests, and throwing a birthday gathering in your house also gives your child the freedom to have a party which lasts as long as they want without it costing mom or dad extra money. You can encourage your child’s friends to stay for longer if they want to, and you’ll seem the hero for doing so; in reality, you’ll have put in so much effort to getting the house birthday-ready that you’ll probably just want to get as much use out of it as possible.
Get the timing just right.
This is a crafty way to throw an amazing birthday party without spending an absolute fortune on all the kids. Maybe your child has invited five friends, or maybe they’ve invited fifty. Whatever the case, feeding more than one mouth is expensive. As suggested over at parents.com, the ideal time at which to throw a party is during that sweet spot between 2 pm and 5 pm. You’ve missed lunch time, but it’s still far too early to be deemed dinner time.
This should work a treat, as none of the parents will expect you to feed their children a full meal, and you’ll save an astronomical amount of money. Think of how much it costs you to prepare an average dinner for your child. Now multiply that by however many guests are coming to the party. It could be the equivalent of two weeks or two month’s worth of dinners, and that’s probably far too much for your budget to handle.
Get creative with gift-buying.
The party isn’t the only important thing on your child’s big days, as their impatient and over-excitable attitude has probably made all too clear to you by this point. Even children who aren’t spoilt can’t help but feel that sense of insatiable glee when they see neatly gift-wrapped presents waiting for them on their birthday. In a sense, that feeling never goes away, no matter how old we get. Still, gift-buying seems to be a particularly stressful experience when you’re buying for your child. You don’t want to disappoint them, but that seems all too easy to do when they have a very particular idea of what they like or dislike.
The fear that you’ll have to compromise in some way has likely crossed your mind. You feel you either have to choose a cheap toy which is a poor quality or a high-quality toy that is far too expensive. You’ll either feel the pinch in your pocket or your heart if your child is disappointed. Of course, a low budget doesn’t have to mean bad presents. You could check out sites such as couponsherpa.com for money off children’s toys, and there are plenty of charity shops in which you can sometimes find absolute gems for next to nothing.
Get the kids to help.
No, I don’t mean hiring your children’s friends to help you set up the decorations and other things for the big party. I mean that the party itself can be made great by the children. As suggested over at huffingtonpost.com, rather than going to a huge expense to spruce up your house, you could throw a themed party centered around superheroes, Harry Potter, Frozen or any other popular fiction that is relevant to the age of the guests at the party.
The point is that your kid’s birthday party could center around the crazy and exciting costumes worn by all the guests and the funny photos that would surely be taken of them. The only thing you’d need to buy is your child’s costume and all the other little party-related things, but you’d essentially be spending nothing on the main focus of the event. It’s the guests who would make the party special.
Use low funds as an opportunity to do something unique.
Having a strict budget might be very frustrating if you’re a mom who simply wants to put together an amazing day for her child, but it doesn’t have to get you all worked up. Instead of worrying about the things you could have bought with a lot of money, view this as a passion project in order to discover the things you can do for the party without a lot of money. This is a chance for your creativity to run wild, and some of the ideas on adventuresfrugalmom.com make it abundantly clear that a low budget can make birthday parties far more exciting.
You could buy some cheap glow in the dark decorations to blow the minds of your guests and the birthday boy or girl when you turn the lights off to bring the cake into the room. You could build a makeshift stage on which the kids can perform their crazy little plays or even karaoke sessions (which could easily be arranged with your laptop and a YouTube playlist). There are so many ideas out there, and most of them haven’t even been discovered. Use your brain power, and see what you come up with.
Don’t feel pressured into inviting everyone.
School politics can become a little overwhelming for parents. Fellow moms and dads can become a little competitive and passive aggressive, especially with regards to an important event such as a birthday party. However, rather than letting the pressure get to you and feeling as if you have to invite every single person in your child’s class to their birthday party and treat each of them like a prince or a princess in order to avoid upsetting their parents, perhaps you should simply talk to your child and ask them who they’d like to invite to their party.
This is their big day, after all, and rather than you wasting excessive money on children whom your child doesn’t even want at their party, you could cut back on the expense and give your kid the birthday they want simply by ensuring that they choose the guest list. There’s still a big chance that your child is friends with everyone in their class and this will change nothing, but it’s worth checking anyway.
Just get the cake right.
You can forget everything else. You can forget party poppers, a full meal, a bouncy castle and even a party bag for each guest. The thing you cannot ever get wrong, however, is the cake. I’m not suggesting you’d forget the cake, but you have to get it right. There needs to be enough for everyone, and there’s always a chance you’ll need a second cake if that’s the case. It all depends on the number of guests attending your party; if it’s a small gathering, you could save money by creating a handmade cake. They always taste better, anyway.