There is a lot of information out there on how to save money when planning a child’s birthday party. In fact, there is a TON of it available. But, what about your tweens and teens? If they want a party, you will handle things a bit differently. Check out these ideas to plan your next party (and stay on budget).
VENUE: As kids get older, they may not want a traditional party. That may mean you need to pay more to host it. Why not opt for a larger party every other year? That way, one year is smaller and you can save and afford something bigger the following year!
Here are some ideas you might consider for your next party:
- Video Game Tournament. Move TVs from other areas of the house into the family room. Borrow additional game platforms and games from friends. Then, create your own bracket and have a tourney at home – with a grand prize for the winner (maybe a gift card to the game store).
- Go Bowling! What is great about bowling is that you can usually get a package deal with food and drink all rolled into one price (which covers those costs and eliminates decorations all together). It is a easy for parents to drop teens off at the alley and then pick them up a few hours later (keeping the mess out of your home).
- Pamper party for the girls. Pick up nail polish and supplies and have a pamper party. They can all do get manicures and pedicures – and even facials! If you have a bit more in your budget you might consider visiting a local beauty school for a pedicure (where you pay less than larger salons).
- Roller Skating. Have the kids meet at the local rink and pick up the tab for the rental of skates and even food. Just a few hours of hanging with the friends is what most teens and tweens want anyhow!
- Paint Ball. If your kids are into this fun activity, it can be another way to get them together to celebrate. Pay for a few sessions and call it a party!
Whatever you decide, make sure you know your budget and stick within it. Don’t allow your kids desires for an incredible day cloud your judgment and result in overpaying.
If the event/venue is more costly, your teen may just want to invite one or two close friends, instead of a larger group. Try to keep that number in check so you know how much it will cost before you get ready to pay.
INVITATIONS: Ditch the paper and go for evites! They are usually free and can save a lot of money. Not on that, they are much easier for your guests to remember to respond, which can give you a better headcount when determining how many to count on attending.
If your child is much older and is on Facebook or another social media site, you could even use those to invite people to the party.
DECORATIONS: Teens more than likely aren’t interested in balloons and streamers for decorations. If you are hosting the party at home, you could pull out the christmas lights and set up a dance party layout. Set up tables and chairs around the perimeter of the room and string lights from the ceiling.
Another idea is to ask your teen about his/her favorite colors and find items such as linens, vases or other items. Dollar stores offer amazing deals on vases and dishes. You could add some personalization with some spray paint. Even with just a few splashes of color, you can turn a regular room into something amazing!
When it comes to paper goods, you can find deals on the colored items at Dollar Stores. You might even skip the color and go with white or clear. Stick with plain paper plates and cups — the colored items are the same.
MUSIC: If you really can’t afford a DJ, why not download your teens’ favorite songs onto your phone or device and pipe it through your TV or speaker system? That provides FREE music! You might even flip your TV onto your teen’s favorite music TV station.
If you really want a DJ, but can’t afford one, see if you can’t find a friend to help. Now, if you must hire a professional DJ, just make sure you read the contract terms as you may pay less if they play for a shorter period of time (say 8 – 10 vs. 7 – 11).
FOOD / DRINK: Most teens seem to love pizza. It is easy and can be quite affordable. Sign up for all of your local pizza parlor’s emails and/or coupon mailings. Ask family and friends to to do the same. Then, as you get closer to the day of your event, you can collect the coupons you will need to save money. If you can’t combine coupons on your purchase, ask friends to place orders too so you can save.
If you know someone who works at a bakery or grocery store, see if they can purchase items for you, utilizing their employee discount. They might be able to help you stretch your food budget.
If you must go it alone, then start watching for sales a few weeks before your party and stock up when you can on items such as soda, chips and other party snacks. Of course, make sure you pay close attention to expiration dates so that you don’t end up serving stale or flat items to your party guests.
You may want to go with cupcakes instead of a sheet cake as well. These often cost less then a 1/2 sheet of cake at your baker. If you on a very tight budget, you can even go with homemade options as well – such as cake pops, pie, cake and more! Just ask your teen what he or she wants.
SUPERVISION: Remember that these are teens and tweens and they do need to have adults on site. While you don’t want to “crash” your child’s party, you do need to make sure you are there and that nothing happens you don’t want to — you know what I mean! You aren’t trying to ruin your child’s day, you just want to make sure everyone gets home safely and that nothing happens which could endager any kids.
Keep this in mind when hosting and when they are attending a party. Ask those questions. If they don’t know if an adult will be present, you may not want to allow them to attend and as a parent, that is absolutely your right. I remind my kids all of the time that right now, I am their Mom and not their friend.
Remember that while you want your day to be perfect for your teenage, you certainly don’t want to still be paying for it at their next party!