Dollar by Dollar: Saving for a 5th Birthday Bash

When my daughter, Kaylee, turned 1, we had a big birthday party party for her.  We invited a large number of family and friends and had fun celebrating her first year.  It wasn't so much about her turning one, as it was about us surviving our first year of parenting.  It was like: "We made it!"

For the past three birthdays, we've had low-key parties at our house with a few close family members.  And each year I've told Kaylee when she turns 5, she could have a bigger party with her friends invited. You know, the kind at a fun play place with wild kids, games, noise and a little bit of craziness mixed in.

Fast forward a few years and Kaylee is turning 5 and now it's time for that party.  At the same time that we're trying very hard to stick to a budget and pay down our credit card debt.  So coming up with the $250 or so for the party was looking scary.

We started a few months back, setting aside a little bit of money every once in awhile.  If we made it through the week with an extra $10 or $20, then that went into the party budget.  Little by little we've saved up almost $200 so far.  And we should have the rest by next week.

In order to lessen the impact of a big party on our budget, we've cut costs in a few areas.  We opted for the standard party package without alot of the (quite useless, but pricey) upgrades.  This party package is also based on the number of kids we have coming.  Many places base a party on a set 16 or so kids and that's what you pay, even if you only have 10 kids come.  Since I know we'll have less than 16 kids there, this works out to a much better deal for us.

Another way we've cut costs is by putting together our own favor bags for the kids.  The ones from the party place were overpriced and filled with crap.  Although I ended spending a little more than I anticipated on these favor bags we made, they're still cheaper than the ones from the party place.  Also, the stuff we put inside is better, well atleast I think it is :)  And the actual party bags themselves - I picked up a brand new pack at a yard sale a few years ago - for a quarter.  Score!

Also, we skipped the pricey, store-bought invitations and went with our own.  The party place has printable invitations on their site, so we used those.  I printed them out on fun colored paper that we had left over from another project. I also made cute stickers with clip art and each kid's name on it with blank address labels we already had. I used the stickers to hold the folded invitations closed.  They turned out real cute!  No cost for mailing because the invites were sent home with the kids at school.  And the few other invitations we had to send, I used evites. So no costs involved!

Of course, Kaylee wanted to also bring in a treat to her classroom for her birthday.  Since we are already hosting a birthday party for her and inviting all her classmates, I wanted to keep it inexpensive and easy.  We decided to make rice krispie treats - something pretty much everyone loves and it's super cheap to make.

I'm just glad that we were able to keep our promise to Kaylee that she'll get her big 5th birthday party with all of her friends.  We were able to do it without impacting our budget and without breaking out the plastic.  And seeing how easy it was to save up dollar by dollar, makes me realize that we can accomplish anything with the right mindset and determination.  And we have to be determined - we'll be doing it all over again in two years when our son turns 5!

How do you budget for a big event like a birthday party?


Smart Cents Mom said...

Wow! Don't you know that the cost for a kid's birthday party should be $30,000! LOL. I just got done watching that TV show about kids extravagant birthday parties. What moron would spend $30,000 on a kids party!

I am so happy that you managed to save money each month to pay for the party!

The Budget Diet said...

Next year, bring back the fun of a home birthday party! Budget friendly & oh so fun! For some clever ideas, check out: http://www.TheBudgetDiet.com/category/parties