Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase.
Birthdays are a milestone worth celebrating year after year, but all of those celebrations can make a serious dent in your budget. Gifts, parties, party favors, and birthday treats for the class can add up. Multiply those costs by the number of children you have, and you’ll suddenly realize that birthdays can be expensive.
Fortunately, they don’t have to be. Smart savings strategies can help you celebrate your child without breaking the bank. Follow these tips to save money without sacrificing this important celebration.
1. Choose Your Party Location Carefully
When you’re planning your child’s birthday party, consider the cost of the location. Kid-friendly attractions like trampoline parks, play places, and zoos come with a high price tag. You’ll either pay per guest or pay a flat party fee set at several hundred dollars. While that alone might not seem too expensive, keep in mind that payment usually just gets your guests in the door. You still need to purchase food, provide entertainment, and give favors. Suddenly, that birthday party costs a lot more.
Instead, consider a more inexpensive, budget-friendly party location. Local parks often rent out pavilions for a modest fee. Others offer them for free. Or, throw the party in your backyard, which comes with no fee and leaves you with more money for other party activities.
2. Shop for Gifts Throughout the Year
Don’t let your child’s birthday sneak up on you. Instead, keep a running list of gift ideas so that you can buy when the price is right. Deals are always out there––you just have to look. If you’re shopping last minute, chances are you aren’t going to snag the best deal. You can add an extension to your web browser that lets you track prices of products like an outdoor playhouse or croquet set. You’ll get a notice when the online price is low so that you can buy at the right time. Shop postseason sales, including those after the holidays and summertime toy clearances at big box stores.
3. Keep Celebrations Small
While your child might want to invite your entire class to their birthday party, you’ll end up paying significantly more with a lengthy guest list. Instead, encourage a smaller celebration with close friends. Often, these parties end up being more fun because your child won’t be overwhelmed by so many kids vying for their attention. Instead, they’ll enjoy some time with their best buddies. Plus, you’ll enjoy some serious savings if you only have to buy pizza and favors for six instead of 26.
4. Get Creative With Decorations
Let your creativity inspire your birthday party decorations. While you might see high-priced decorations sold online, chances are you can replicate these decorations with a trip to the craft store and your own creativity. Check out discount stores and dollar stores to find low-priced paper products, including plastic tablecloths, paper plates, plasticware, crepe paper, balloons and candles.
5. Plan Food Carefully
Food costs can add up quickly at a birthday party. If you time your party right, you can minimize these costs while keeping your guests well fed. Don’t schedule your party around a meal time. Instead, plan it in between meals so that guests will just need a snack instead of a full meal. If a meal-time party is a must, don’t complicate your menu. Kids don’t need an elaborate spread and are always happy for something as simple as pizza and cake.
Speaking of cake, make baking the birthday cake a family tradition. Not only does this activity offer a memorable birthday moment every year. It also saves money. Whether you want to dive into a homemade cake recipe or opt for your favorite boxed mix, you can create a birthday cake that your child will love. Let them choose the flavors and icing colors for a personalized touch. You can even accent the cake with new, clean small toys to keep the cake on theme.
Kids’ birthdays don’t have to break the bank. Your child is going to remember the special moments from their birthday, not how much money you spent. So, focus on building memories in an unforgettable, budget-friendly way.