Children’s birthday parties can be super expensive. When you add up the cost of an entertainer, a venue, food, a birthday cake and party bags, you’ll soon be forking out hundreds of pounds. The days of simple birthday parties seem to be gone. These days, parents seem to be trying to outdo each other, throwing a better party than the last one they went to. It doesn’t have to be that way though. It is possible to throw a party for your little one and not break the bank. It’s just a case of reeling things in and keeping the whole bash simple.
Think About Your ChildRemember this party isn’t for you, it’s for your child. Children can usually entertain themselves quite easily. They don't need lavish parties thrown for them. When children are very young, they don't need parties at all. Have a family meal together and skip a birthday party altogether. As they get a little older, you can invite friends, but that doesn't mean you need to go crazy. Ask your child what they want to do. You might find that their wants are pretty simple compared to the extravagant party that you have in mind.
Hold a Children's Party at HomeThe best way to cut costs is to have the party in your own home. You don't need to have a huge guest list. Don't feel obliged to invite your child's entire class from school. Don't waste money on paper invitations. Emails or any other kind of electronic invitations are fine. If the weather's fine and you have a garden, make the most of that. Kids are perfectly happy running around outside. If space is an issue, check out a church hall or village hall. If your child has a friend with a birthday close by, you can cut costs by sharing a venue and having a joint party.
Play Simple GamesEntertainment needn't cost an arm and a leg. There are lots of expensive options available, of course. These days there are all kinds of children's entertainers available for parties. For younger children, you can organise traditional party games: pass the parcel, musical statues, musical chairs, simon says. With older children, you could easily keep them happy with a DVD and a pizza. Maybe even a sleepover, depending on numbers.
Keep Food SimpleThe best time to have your children's party on the cheap is between 2pm and 4pm. It's after lunch and before dinner so nobody is expecting a big meal. You can just have a few snacks for the little ones to munch in between the party fun. If you do prepare a lunch, you don't have to do anything fancy. Children just need some fuel to get them going, but aren't expecting posh nosh.
Buy Party Bag Goodies OnlineThe cost of party bags can soon add up if you have a lot of guests. You could keep it simple and just fill a cellophone bag with sweets. If you do want to fill the bags with a few little toys, it pays to keep an eye out for bargains well in advance. If you've got your eyes peeled a few months before hand, you'll have time to compare prices. Shopping online usually helps you keep the price down. There's a good selection of reasonably priced stuff at Hawkins Bazaar.
Picture: Luci Correia via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0