Hosting a Great Kid’s Birthday Party…Without Breaking the Bank!

I recently hosted a pirate themed birthday party party for my son’s 5th birthday. All totaled, the party itself only cost $50! Here are some of the budget-friendly party ideas that helped me…hopefully they will help you, too:

Choose a free location. We had the party at our house in the backyard. Since it was a summertime party for younger children, we decided water would be a great addition to the pirate theme and would keep the kids cool and entertained. So, we got our slip n’ slide, sprinkler, large kiddie pool, beach balls and water squirters ready for some aquatic fun.

Take others up on their offers. We borrowed a bounce house from a family member which was another free, fun addition to the backyard party. Also, my sister operates a cupcake business and offered to make the pirate themed cupcakes (which we felt would be easier to hand out to the soaking wet kids while they played outside).

Make your own invitations. I typically design my own party invitations, print them out and drop them in the mail. However, for this party since I was tight on time, I used the website, www.evite.com. I was able to choose a customized pirate theme, input the party invitation and email it out – FOR FREE. This saved on both the cost of purchasing invitations AND mailing costs. Plus, I thought it was neat that people could RSVP right on the website and Evite took care of sending RSVP reminders.

Choose your party time wisely. We held the party from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. This way, everyone had already eaten lunch prior to the party and it wasn’t necessary to serve a full meal. However, we did have a great spread of finger foods and a cooler of drinks. Which brings me to my next point…

Shop your pantry first. I love finding groceries at great prices and when I find a great deal (usually when couponing), I tend to stock up. So, it helped to check my pantry first for party snacks. In my pantry, I had a box of brownie mix, canned peanuts and chex mix that I had recently purchased and pulled out to use for the party. Next, I checked to see what my grocery store had on sale the week or two prior to the party. I found chips for buy one, get one free, canned drinks for $2.50/12 pack, and juice boxes and chip dip on sale. I purchased fruit for a fruit tray (that I made myself) that was in season and on special for the week. I put out a nice blue fabric table cloth, wrapped the table in a straw skirt (left over from a luau I hosted last year) for a festive look and was all set.

Visit your local dollar store. I found some great pirate themed party plates, napkins, and Happy Birthday helium balloons. And, I purchased only enough themed plates and napkins for the kids. For the adults, I bought solid red plates. You get more in each pack of solid colored plates than you do in the party-themed packs. And, I knew that any leftover red plates could be used at my next son’s birthday party, coming up this weekend.

Splurge when necessary. My son specifically asked for a pirate pinata and since I am not quite crafty enough (yet) to make one, I went to Party City and spent the $16 to get him what he wanted…all while knowing that the pinata’s sole purpose was to get beaten with a stick and would be thrown away post party. But, afterall he was the birthday boy!

Get creative on the goodie bags. Since the kids were getting lots of goodies from the pinata, I handed out birthday goodie bag sacks and let them fill their own goodie bags when the candy spilled out. Better yet, I had enough goodie bag sacks left over from a previous party that I didn’t have to buy any this year.

It was a wonderful party and my son and his friends had a ball! I firmly believe that a child’s party doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or be elaborate and complicated to make it a success. The birthday boy or girl just wants to feel special, loved and have fun with friends and family…and that is exactly what we did!