By 10 am tomorrow morning, I will have a 5-year-old. Sometimes I really can’t believe it. Time just goes by too fast.
Saturday we celebrated with a “Minion” themed birthday party. If you’re not familiar, Minions are those silly little creatures from Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2. I have seen both movies about a billion times thanks to the birthday boy. There actually pretty cute movies, and I thought it would make for a fun party. Plus, I LOVE a good theme birthday party, as you know.
What I do NOT love, however, is spending a ton of money for a party. I want my birthday boy, or boys, to have fun, and my guests to have a good time, but I need to make sure I keep to a budget. After all, I work on occasion, but basically we’re a one income family. Luckily, I like the challenge of saving money, and I also love to make things myself.
So, how do I do it? Here are a few of my tips:
1. Always be on the lookout for future parties.
I have a couple boxes in the basement filled with things I’ve found for 70% to 90% off from Target’s Dollar Spot. Since my kids are pretty young, they are pretty flexible on what their birthday theme will be. As they get older, I’m sure they will have more input, but for now, I’m stocking up.
2. Be willing to make a few stops
Not only did I shop at Target, but I went to Walmart, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, The Dollar Tree, Boston Store, Michael’s, Joanne Fabrics, Party City, and even Pick ‘N Save to find things. I compared prices online, looked in every clearance bin, and sometimes waited for things to go on sale before buying them. I also used Amazon (We have Prime so I have free shipping,) and Walmart’s site-to-store option so I didn’t have to pay for shipping. If you want to get the cheapest items, you need to give yourself enough shopping time to make it happen.
3. Be willing to get creative and think out of the treat bag…I mean box
I found a lot of cute things to go inside a treat bag for the guests, but couldn’t find any cheap bags that would fit the items. As I was browsing Michael’s summer clearance, I found yellow sand buckets and water bottles. At $0.29/piece, I was going to make them work. I think they turned out pretty good, plus they double as something the kids can actually use again.
I filled the buckets with a $1 coloring book, and split up packs of graham crackers, cheese crackers, fruit snacks, stickers, and bouncy balls. I also made all of the birthday banners, signs, etc. I used yellow place mats that were 70% off at Target for one banner, then sticky foam paper combined with the kid’s pictures for some other ones.
4. Buy things you can reuse or use things you already have.
Instead of balloons (which scare me around little children,) I bought some purple and yellow beach balls. They were really cheap from Amazon, plus I can use them at parties in the future.
We also wanted to hide…I mean decorate our living room carpet. We took foam tiles that we had from the kid’s playroom, and made a pattern of grey and yellow to match the colors of the party. We just flipped the green, red, and blue tiles upside down.
5. Food can be simple
Kids don’t really care about eating at parties, with the exception of cake. So, we made the party in the middle of the afternoon, not during a mealtime, then just had snacks and cake. I had some family members offer to bring stuff, which also cut down on the budget. I also just bought plain yellow plates, napkins, and plastic ware. They still matched the party, and were a lot cheaper than the licensed party stuff.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
We enlisted the help of our parents for childcare. I needed to head to the store by myself a few times, and we also needed to clean up for the guests without interruption. I am really blessed to have family near by that’s willing to help, but if you don’t, try asking friends to help out. You can always return the favor.
And speaking of help, if you ever need mine in planning, decorating, or shopping for a party…you know where to find me.