Top News

EAST COAST MOMMY: Party planning on a budget

This homemade guessing booth, for an upcoming carnival-themed birthday party, is an inexpensive way to make a big impact.
This homemade guessing booth, for an upcoming carnival-themed birthday party, is an inexpensive way to make a big impact. - Gina Bell

For children, every birthday is a huge and important milestone. I have always made it a priority to make my three sons feel special on their birthdays… without spending large sums of money on lavish parties.

When it comes to party planning for my children, my goals are always to ensure my boys and their guests have fun; make the party memorable; and stay within a modest budget. Today, I am sharing my best tips and tricks for hosting fantastic parties on small budgets.

Having a plan is key. Decide how many people you will be inviting and where you will host the party. Home parties are great and inexpensive, but other venues that include food and activities can be budget-friendly too. Take some time to price out both options, and go with what works best for you.

You’ll also want to pick a theme that means something to the birthday boy/girl. A theme can revolve around a character from a book or TV show, a movie, a sport, an activity, or a colour scheme. The chosen theme will influence the invitations, the decorations, and the party activities. Having a theme that reflects a child’s personal interests makes them feel special and it ties all the elements of the party together.

Adding personal touches is another great way to make a party special without breaking the bank. You can bake a homemade cake, craft your own decorations, design your own photo booth, or cook your signature dish to serve to guests. The unique DIY details are what most guests will remember.

The guests will also remember whether or not they had fun, so party activities should be carefully considered. I like to focus on activities and games that are simple, age-appropriate, and fit with the party theme. You can play games, decorate cupcakes, or do a craft. I’m currently planning a joint party for two of boys with a carnival theme. We plan to fill our yard with carnival games that we are making ourselves. For example, we made a “Guessing Booth” using an old box, red duct tape, and jars of dollar store candy. It’s not fancy, but I know it will be a hit with my boys’ friends.

Of course, food is a party necessity, and it can be very expensive to feed a crowd. Try to prep as much as you can yourself to save costs. For example, cut up fruit instead of buying a pre-made fruit tray. Opting for simple (and inexpensive) staples like pizza and hot dogs works too.

Finally, sending kids home with loot bags/party favours doesn’t need to be a costly endeavour, but it’s a wonderful way to show guests that you appreciate them celebrating with you. Packaging inexpensive items in a memorable way is a great way to provide guests with little gifts while keeping costs low. For my boys’ carnival party, we are sending home bags of microwave popcorn with tags that say, “Thanks for POPPING by our party!” It’s a simple idea, but it’s fun, it’s something they can use, and it fits well with our party theme.

When it comes to children’s parties, it is important to remember that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make your child feel special. Little ones are surprisingly easy to please. Kids will be happy as long as they are surrounded by good friends, music, balloons, and cake!

Gina Bell writes the East Coast Mommy column, which runs every second week. Follow her blog at www.EastCoastMommy.com or contact her at eastcoastmommy@gmail.com.

Recent Stories