Simple and Frugal Birthday Party Tips

frugal birthday ideasHaving a fun lifestyle while raising a family can often be a challenge. With children to care for and homes to tend to, coming up with a fun birthday party for your youngsters or not-so-youngsters can take up precious time that you may not feel you have. With the following ideas, you'll see that simple and affordable can still equal fun.

The Lucky Birthday Person

Knowing who the party is for is half the battle. Adults and older children may not want a party. Perhaps you could throw them a surprise dinner party or a backyard BBQ bash. Younger children often enjoy theme parties with a few friends allowed to attend. A pool party is another option for children of all ages, teens included.

Come up with a Theme

Theme parties are perfect for children aged 1-12. A theme party could be based on an activity your child enjoys, a famous movie or book character they like, a type of toy they love, or any number of other things. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Activities: biking, hiking, running, gymnastics, dance, ball, martial arts, painting, sports in general, music… Just think about what your child likes to do.
  • Characters: Finding Nemo, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob Square Pants… This list is endless!
  • Toys: Legos, Nerf guns, jewelry beading, army men, princess stuff, dress-up, stuffed animals… Just be imaginative!
  • Other: Pool party, water party, food creation party, video game party… The list goes on and on!

A biking party could be as simple as having three friends bring their bikes over and ride around the neighborhood. A Nerf gun party would work if there were enough guns to let everyone play with them and have a good battle. A stuffed animal party could be a "tea" party with a couple close friends who each bring a couple of their own favorite animals. A cooking party could be to make pizza together, or cookies, or tacos, or spaghetti. A service party could be great for teenagers who like to help others; plan a project that everyone could help with such as painting the neighbor's fence.

Invitations and Decorations

Invitations can be expensive, cheap, or cost-free. Since you're trying to save money, we won't discuss expensive options. Low-cost options include buying inexpensive invitations from a dollar store or discount store or making your own. Invitations can be made by hand, small or large, or on the computer with matching graphics to go along with your theme. Kids can even draw pictures. Pictures can also be scanned to go on a birthday cake, especially cute when drawn by the birthday boy or girl. Cost-free invitations would be technology invites by utilizing Facebook, e-mail, or cell-phone texts.

Decorations don't have to break the bank to add a little color. A bit of crepe paper, a poster or two, candles, centerpieces, or goody bags are easy enough to find and quickly throw together. Simple and affordable is the key. Decorate your own house. Don't pay to go somewhere else. Don't rent a party hall. The decorations should match the theme in some way.

The Food

A home-thrown party is about as simple and affordable as it gets. People come over. Kids play. You eat. You open presents. Kids play some more and everyone goes home. The food is probably the most important and most expensive aspect of the entire event. How much food you'll need depends on two things: how many people are invited, and what time the party will be held. A between-meal party can get away with finger foods, snacks, cake and ice cream. A meal-time party needs to have more food. The simplest and most affordable idea is to order takeout pizza. Most kids and adults love pepperoni or plain cheese pizza. It may not be the cheapest, but it sure is simple! If you're after healthier options and more options in general, it may be less expensive, but it won't be as simple. One idea might include nuts, candies, cheese and crackers, chips, fruits and dip, veggies and dip, tortilla chips and salsa, boneless chicken tenders, chicken wings, meatballs, or mini sandwiches.

No matter what type of party you'd like to have, or who it's for, you can always do something to make it simpler and more affordable. With less effort going into the party, you can focus all your efforts to having a great time during the party!

Renee Varney is a freelance blogger and occasionally writes for a site she loves using to find local Chinese Take Out using their Delivery New York directory.

Karla Urwitz
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