May 06, 2013

How To Plan Your Preschooler's Birthday Party On A Budget

My four-almost-five-year-old has been talking about his birthday party coming up for the past two months, and it is still two months away! This age is so much fun because they really get excited about their friends they want to invite and what they want to do. But if they go to all their friend's birthday parties at The Little Gym, they will think that is the coolest thing since sliced bread. That is great if you want to spend $250 just on the birthday location, but I want to spend my money elsewhere on his birthday party and not just the location. So here are a few tips to give your preschooler an awesome birthday party without breaking the budget.

Choose A Free Location

This is the easiest way to save money on a birthday party. There are many locations you can have your birthday party that are completely free. Local city parks are always a great place if the weather is decent (if you choose this option, always have a backup indoor location ready to go like your home). Think outside of the box though - do you have a good friend that lives outside of the city on at least an acre? You can set up unlimited numbers of activities in that much space, and it will probably be fenced in which is always a plus (even though this option is free, it would be an ideal gesture to get them a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant for letting you use their backyard). You can always have the birthday party at your home too. Our friends just threw their four year old's birthday in their backyard, but had the inside of their house ready to go in case of inclement weather (they live in a 1200 square foot home with a small backyard and it was so much fun - if they can do it, you can too!).

Provide Snacks, Not A Full-Fledged Meal

The critical element here is timing. You obviously cannot have a party from 5:00-7:00 and not expect to serve a meal - your guests would be very disappointed! A great time is either 10:00-12:00, 4:00-6:00, or 6:30-8:30. These times allow your guests to have their naps if needed and eat either before or after the party, but be sure and note in the invitation that you will be serving cake and light snacks so they do not expect a full meal. For snacks, an example might be some bananas, fruit pouches like Buddy Fruits, goldfish, and 100% Juice Capri Suns. The cake will have enough sugar to keep them energized, and you don't want to ruin the next meal.

Make Your Own Cake (Or Better Yet, Cupcakes)

Unless you have a professional baker in the family, your choices are either cheap supermarket cakes or outrageously priced bakery cakes. I am anything but a professional cake maker, but with Pinterest and all the other resources online, I was able to make some really cute cupcake cakes the past few years for my kids. With all your supplies and Wilton gel food coloring, you can easily make enough cupcakes for all of your guests and their parents for well under $20, but will taste and look like you spent a lot more on a local bakery cupcake cake! Here are my personal favorite vanilla cupcake and butter-cream icing recipes I found on pinterest - and I have made a ton of recipes over the years! You can color these any color you want, and they are beautiful and the most delicious cupcakes you will ever taste! Just search "kids cupcake cake" on pinterest and you will find plenty of easy ideas!

There are definitely more ways you can save money on your preschooler's birthday party, but these are the three ways people spend large amounts at a time. If you can save big in these areas and then just be conscious on all the little things you spend, you will have a very fun memorable party that was easy on your wallet. No more spending one month's salary on birthday parties!!

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