Birthday Bashes on a Budget
That will be one arm and one leg, please... Want to host the perfect birthday party for your little one and keep all your body parts intact? Here are some helpful tips for managing a great birthday bash without breaking the bank!
Host at Home
It may seem tempting to cart kids over to that pizza parlor with the life-size mouse or another one-stop site, but pulling everything together yourself can help you control the cost. Being at home also has the added bonus of being a familiar place for your child.
Party at the Park
Consider throwing it at a local park. Check to see whether reservations are accepted for pavilions or picnic tables. If not, make sure that someone arrives early to save it. Just bring a few games like a Frisbee and some balls and serve cake and ice cream.
Bring on the Sitter
Feel like you could use some extra help? Hire a preteen or teen who is good with kids to come over to assist you in keeping things under control. And an extra set of hands to serve cake and corral little ones is always welcome.
If your little one favors a furry monster from Sesame Street or a much-loved cartoon character, purchase one main item emblazoned with the theme (helium balloons, cake plates, or napkins). For the other paper items, purchase coordinating colors.
Keep the Menu Simple
Instead of going over the top in your food preparation, rely on the old standbys that most kids love and limit the options. In other words, you don’t need to prepare mac and cheese, potato salad, and pasta salad.
Skip the Platters
Walk right past the prepared party trays, Mama. Instead, head to the deli or lunchmeat aisle and produce department. Buy a pound or two of turkey and ham, some cheese, and rolls. Want a healthy fruit or veggie tray? Cut the produce up yourself.
Bake That Cake!
Betty Crocker hasn’t been around forever because her cakes suck. Bake a sheet cake and decorate to fit your theme—whether you incorporate the character or just the colors. Nervous about baking a cake? Go for cupcakes. Get creative!
Keep the Guest List Short
We’ve all heard this rule: match the number of guests to the number of candles on your child’s cake. The key is figuring out what your child will be comfortable with and what your budget will allow. Remember that for each additional guest you have to purchase more.
Avoid Mealtime Parties
One way to be able to invite more guests at a lower cost is to schedule the party for a time of day when you won’t be expected to provide a meal. Pick a two-hour time slot, like 10 AM to noon or 2 to 4 PM. That way, the little guests should have eaten before coming.
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