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Birthday cake that says Happy Birthday

How to Plan Your Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Kids’ birthday parties can be some of the most memorable childhood events, but there is a lot of time and money that goes into planning the perfect party. From themed decorations to party favor packaging, the expenses can add up quickly.

Check out our tips for planning a party on a budget and being known as the parent who sets the bar for birthday parties.

Before searching for a venue, determine how much you want to spend on the party, set a budget and start tracking party expenses. This allows you to monitor the costs of your child’s party and highlights where you may have some money to spare.

Choosing a location

Kids’ birthday party locations can vary, but don’t break the bank trying to keep up with the Joneses. If you have the space, why not host the party at home? There are dozens of themes and games you can create that can be more exciting than going to a venue your guests have visited many times.

Weather permitting, a backyard party provides room for kids to actively burn off their cake-induced sugar high. Community centers and neighborhood parks can serve as great venues, providing a much larger space for guests, often at free or reasonable rates.

If you use a commercial venue for the party, be sure to price it ahead of time so you can factor it into your budget. Factor their food policies into your plan. Some venues don’t allow you to bring your own food. Some party packages include food or snacks, so find out the details before booking.

Deciding on food

If you plan on catering the party yourself, you should be pleased to know that most kids’ birthday party food ideas are easy to make. If the weather is nice, planning a picnic or backyard BBQ will keep costs down and prevent sticky fingers from making a mess in your home.

Remember, kids may not want to stop and eat if they’re having fun! Depending on the age group, you may be stuck with a heap of leftovers if you assume every child will want a full meal. To avoid wasting food (and money), don’t overdo the food budget. Keep it simple. The kids will be happy, and you can apply your party budget to other areas.

If you use a caterer, determine the cost and add it to your budget. Plan how many children will be attending and whether you’ll be catering to parents.

Providing entertainment

A dancing elephant might be a bit overboard, but bouncy castles, inflatable toys and face painting are all common forms of birthday party entertainment. Entertainment may be considered part of the package at some venues. If not, there are plenty of local suppliers to inspire you.

Feeling crafty? Pinterest is the place to find an on-theme DIY activity to save costs in the entertainment department. For example, allow children to make their own goody bags from a collection of chocolates, sweets and games each child selects for themselves.

Another idea for entertainment at a kids’ birthday party is to have a sleepover. You can arrange a movie marathon, supply snacks, and let them create their own fun. Games, plenty of snacks and dance-offs will mean it’ll be a birthday worth remembering — and the cost is minimal.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t bankrupt yourself. Run a few ideas past your little one and get an idea of what they want. Letting them help decide how to spend the party budget gives them practice in the valuable skill of making choices with money.

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