HOST / HOSTESS SAVINGS
Balloons/Streamers/Signs. I agree that these are a lot of fun! However, the costs can add up quickly. If you opt not to decorate, the kids will probably not even notice and you can pocket $10, $15 or even more! I will admit that we do usually pick up a colored table cloth (which is disposable) so that clean up is simpler.
Venue. It seems that more and more people are planning parties away from home. These can be very costly. Why not plan your party at your house? We have done this many times and plan 2 or 3 games, the kids eat cake, open presents and play together. It isn’t where you have the party that matters, it is the event that does.
Last year, we actually created my son a Fix It Felix birthday party — right down to the games. I actually came up with all of the game ideas myself and the boys had the BEST time! I spoke with some of the mom’s a couple of months after the party and their boy’s were still talking about how much fun they had.
Party Ware. This is an area where your costs can add up quickly. There is really not any reason to have the fancy plates or cups. After all, no one really notices them. They gobble up the cake, swallow the punch and immediately throw it into the trash. Why not just stick with plain white? Or, if you want something more fun, pick up colored items rather than themed plates and napkins.
Party Favors/Hats. I have been dealing with goodie bags for years. My kids bring them home, I pull out one piece of candy or a pencil (if I am lucky), they look at and play with the things inside for about 30 seconds and it all goes into the trash. I have wondered why is it that parents feel that you must give out goodie bags? Isn’t the party for the child and not the guests?
I know that many people still want to give them out. If you do decide to have goodie bags, just keep a few things in mind. Pick up inexpensive items such as stickers, lollipops, sunglasses or things that are inexpensive. If you can, try to avoid the “2 second toys”….the ones that mom will pick up for 2 seconds before she throws them in the trash.
One thing we have done for our kids is to go ahead and decorate with balloons – and those are in turn the party favors! We just give one to each child as they leave the party. They are thrilled that they got a balloon and I didn’t shell out additional money for decorations and party favors!
Invitations. The main point of the invitation is to let your guests know the Five “Ws”: Who, What, Where, When & Why. You can get a simple, more plain invitation for about a third to one-half of the cost of fancy invitations. You’ll save even more if you bypass the customized, printed invitations. However, if you really want something personalized, check out Vistaprint – they always have great deals on printed items.
Cake. While professionally decorated cakes are fun, why not try your hand at doing it yourself? Use some fun icings, candles and candy decorations and your child will probably not even know that he or she is missing out. There are lots of great photos and ideas out there to help you decorate your own. I’ve actually created a dinosaur cake, construction cake, Lightning McQueen cake and even a caterpillar cake. I am FAR from an artist, but these were a huge success. Here are a few samples of my cakes:
Dinner/Lunch. I have been to many parties where there are snacks and then cake. My kids do not eat the snacks. They really only want the cake. Why not opt out of serving additional food? If you plan your party for the right time of day, there is not any need to feed the kids anything other than some cake and/or ice cream. I’ve watched the kids at every party we’ve been too and honestly, the kids skip the snacks and go right for the cake!
So, now you know what you can do to save money when throwing a party. But, what if you aren’t throwing a party – but attending instead. Can you save money? You bet – here’s how:
R.S.V.P. You might be thinking how does this save me money? Quite frankly, it doesn’t. This saves the host/hostess money.
It seems that so many people have forgotten what this means. It is a French phrase: Répondez s’il vous plaît. Not sure of the translation? It simply means – Respond if you please.
If you or your children are invited to a party, you should have the courtesy to call and let the host/hostess know whether you will be attending or not. This is not option. It is respectful – plain and simple.
Think of it like this – if someone invites 20 people and purchases food, etc and plans on that many and only 4 show up – look at the wasted money. On the flip side, if you plan on 20 and 25 show up, you don’t have enough to feed your guests.
In addition, many parties are held in locations where the family pays per child. If you do not show up or, if you even show up without letting them know, can cost the family more than expected (Oh – and whatever you do – don’t bring siblings to parties when they are not invited – unless YOU are paying for them to participate).
By taking the time to call the host or hostess, you can essentially save them money so that they can do proper planning/spending. I know as a mom I GREATLY appreciate this more than my guests know.
Gifts. You don’t have to spend a lot to give a child a great gift. Books, coloring books, crayons, puzzles, games – these are all gifts that seem to have gone to the wayside, but can be found at a really great price. Try to buy gifts when they are on clearance off season and stock a gift closet. That way, when it is time for a gift, you have one handy.
Gift Wrap/Cards/Bows. Why not stop by the dollar store and pick up a roll of paper and card ? They always are just ripped apart in minutes and no child really cares how the package looks – they just love opening packages. After all, it is the gift that matters and not the packaging. You can even find plain colored paper and bows after Christmas and stock up to cover your party needs throughout the year.
One final thing that I want to share is what we are doing with our kids. Every two or three years they get a BIG party — otherwise, it is low key. Sure, we invite friends, but we keep the costs low and then can save so we can do something extra special for those years with the big “to-do”. We might pick up a balloon or two during the off years, but most things are kept simple and inexpensive. My kids learned this very young. We still celebrate. They still invite friends over. However, we don’t blow the budget for 2 hours of fun.
I also don’t compare myself to other parents and what they do (or do not do). Everyone has their own budget and own ideas. It is not for me to judge what they have done or not done at their child’s party. As long as my children have fun and more importantly the birthday boy or girl has fun, then that is all that matters.
Whether throwing or attending a party, there are ways to save. The most important thing is to celebrate how much that person means to you. Do you have any great party money saving tips? If so, please share!