Updated: Feb 20, 2020
Birthdays don't have to be extravagant or expensive to mean something to your child. Our list will help you do just that, save some money.
As a child growing up in the 70s my birthdays were not complicated or extravagant. A birthday at our house meant it was our special day. In grade school I took a treat to hand out to the kids in my class (Bub's Daddy was a big hit back then, the largest selling 5 cent bubblegum stick). I could walk home for lunch (yep! we had time to do that) and my mom had a Dairy Queen foot long chili dog, fries and a chocolate milk shake waiting for me. My gifts were record albums, books and money. I spent the evening with my grandparents who came to visit with more gifts of money or something I asked for. My mom served her homemade chocolate cake and Stroh's ice cream on the side. No dinner, no games, no friends. I appreciated those days. My mom wasn't stressed and everyone just focused on me and my day. My favorite part was kicking back and being waited on and enjoying all my gifts and food. If we played games at parties, they were traditional things like Hot Potato, Musical Chairs and Duck, Duck Goose! We decorated rooms with streamers, balloons and favors with little cups filled with candy.
“A birthday at our house meant it was our special day with no stress, just good food, gifts we wanted and family focusing on us.”
Birthday Parties don't have to be complicated. Going back to the basics is just as special if you start conditioning your family to do that now. It's wonderful to dream big with Pinterest Boards filled with amazing party blogs, I have been there. However, for me when I was planning birthdays for my twins it meant scouring Martha Stewart and Family Fun magazines. I wanted things to leap off the pages and make my kids dreams come true!
Now that I've had years to ponder my silly decisions I can pass on what I know and what I learned to make it easier for others and let you know you're off the hook. Below I've listed 10 tips for a DIY Birthday Party that will keep you on track, having fun and still keep your event memorable.
1. Start with a Budget
Think about the things you will need, write them down and put a price next to them. What can you afford? What things can you DIY instead? Do both if your pocket book can handle it.
2. Smaller Guest List / Party Invitations
Although it sounds tempting to treat your kid's entire class to an amazing day it comes down to how you can do that. Most of us can't have everyone and allowing your kids to have two friends come to a family party might be the solution. Hand out a simple treat of pencils and an allergy-friendly treat to the class during school time if you want to have your child celebrate with everyone. Keep your list small even with family. There's no rule on who you have to invite. Immediate family is all you have to do. If it bothers you that you are leaving people out then maybe it's time to rethink the whole big party thing.
Invitations or Texting an Invite? Depending on whether or not you want a physical item for guests to remember the party announcement with will determine what you want to do. Of course you'll save on stamps but will you have to repeat yourself when you ask for an RSVP? Printable Invites can provide you with a budget-friendly alternative and you can do both with those. Our shop Edits and you download and print from home or an office supply. We provide jpegs for texting and emails so you can decide how you want to announce your party. Texting and emailing will definitely save you the money and you can still have a cute invite for all to see. Shop here.
3. Bake Your Own Cake
Baking a cake is so easy to do. Let your child go to the grocery store and pick out his/her favorite mix and frosting. If you don't like assembling a cake then how about cupcakes and let the family decorate them as an activity. If you have some money then save buying a cake or cupcakes at your local grocer is a solution. You don't need a themed cake, just one that's already iced and that you can bring home and add a name yourself.
4. Printable Games
I am partial to this budget saver! Printing games from home or buying printables from our Etsy shop at Grinandprint is certainly a money saver and simple to set up. If you don't want to print at home then head to your local Office Supply store to get them printed after you purchase. Our games are unique too! You can't find our Scavenger Hunts or our Dice Games in your local party store. We have quite a few that match trending themes too.
Decorations can also be printed from home if you want to save money. Our Party Supply Bundles include everything you need to decorate a small area of your home before everyone arrives. Purchasing this way allows you to set up a colorful party table on a budget. You also don't need to have a theme. Pick your child's favorite color and go with that. Use Streamers and dollar tree balloons as back drops for photos and so on.
When my kid's parties were approaching I thought ahead. I scoured holiday clearance aisles for stuffed animals, books, toys etc. and purchased one nice item for favors or prizes. If you don't want to provide favors then think about an activity that can double as a favor like making Popsicle Stick Frames and taking pics of the kids and their friends to put inside of them. Favors can also be candy. Remember that 70's kid? Most favors are just going to be thrown away after a few days so think about things that will last for awhile if you do plan on having them.
7. No Cost Activities
Looking for activities to keep the crowd from getting bored? Here is a quick list to get you thinking about the possibilities:
1. Library Books and DVDs to match a theme
2. Science Experiments with kitchen items
3. A Baking Lesson at home
4. A Movie Party complete with popcorn and a Netflix movie
5. A Dance Party with homemade playlist, different lighting, neon bracelets from the dollar tree and balloons and streamers
6. An Art Party (so many paper craft ideas on Pinterest and free coloring pages you can print from home)
You get the idea I am sure. There are so many creative options to choose from.
A Venue doesn't have to cost anything! Have your party in your home or backyard. Head to a park for a picnic with Teddy Bears or a Scavenger Hunt.
9. Ask for Help
I am sure if you are thinking of planning a party then you are like me and want it to be your vision and your plans but that can be stressful. It's OK to ask for help. Think about the member of the family that's considered an artist and ask them if they will do face painting or teach an art class. Maybe your nephew plays basketball and can teach a group of kid how to play. There are so many people in our lives that can help us create a unique party on a budget.
10. Meal Time
Of course what party isn't complete without the food? Appetizers and finger foods for kids work well and can save you money. A party like this can be planned from 10 am to 2 pm perhaps so it doesn't interrupt dinner time. Pizza and a homemade salad make a great choice and if this is the theme, making pizzas for an activity doubles as the meal too. Of course you can go back to the Ask for Help section and see if mom will make her favorite potato salad or your favorite Aunt will make her best baked beans. If you add some hot dogs on the grill you have a wonderful lunch for both the adults and kids.
What do you think? I think that so many of these ideas or even all of them will help you provide your guests and your kids with a memorable day. You also don't have to do all of these. Just like that 70s kid I mentioned above who felt special for one day with the simple things you can go back to those basics and start a new tradition. If you start early in your child's life your kids will still appreciate you and won't know the difference. I was one of those kids. The things that I remember are the hugs and the favorite meals and the favorite books all given from the heart from people I loved and saw everyday.
How do you celebrate? Would you do something like this? Do you have money-saving tips for a party that you want to share? Comment below, we want to hear from you.
Have you seen our Printables? Don't forget to subscribe to our Website and grab our Birthday Budget Planner for free for your next party. Don't forget to favorite our shop on Etsy at Grinandprint. I hope you have a wonderful party! And thanks for stopping by.