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2017 Birthday Guide: Four Birthdays, Four Budgets


Birthday parties are a big deal. While it used to be all about just cake and ice cream, now the party has turned into a Pinterest-filled celebration of perfection where no detail gets left behind. Unfortunately, if you’re on a budget, those birthday bashes are harder to come by, and just not always practical. However, as parents, we still want to make sure our children get the birthday parties they deserve, while staying under budget. So, while the budgets may differ from family to family, we are here to assure you that the quality doesn’t have to.

 


Birthday Budget $50

If you only have $50 to spend on a birthday party, then proper planning is essential. From the start, consider invites. The most cost effective option is email. You can use super cute evites and keep up with your guests, but you may be one of those people who still likes sending paper invitations. If so, visiting The Dollar Tree will allow you to get affordable invitations and many of the items on your party list at a very low cost. If you have 12 friends coming to your child’s party who you need to accomodate, you can pick up the invitations (they typically come in eight counts so you may need two packs), plates, napkins, cups, utensils, and candles each for $1. We do recommend grabbing an extra set of everything just in case you have extra visitors who stop by or stay for the fun.

While you’re there, grab a birthday banner, balloons, streamers, pom-pom garlands, decorative paper lanterns, and even table covers. They have every color imaginable and even some themes to choose from.

A birthday wouldn’t be a birthday without a cake! For your bash, get hands-on and try making the cake or cupcakes yourself. Cake mixes from the local grocery store, (we’re using Walmart’s prices) are super cheap and can be quite delicious. A box of cake mix, frosting, and ice cream will take care of the sweet treats for the little ones. If you’re looking to get really creative, pick up a Wilton Icing Pouch to decorate your child’s cake like a pro!

How can you feed the guests on your remaining budget? Chips and salsa are a great option, affordable and delicious. You could also offer fresh fruit (apples, bananas, and pineapple are our go-tos) cut in cute ways for some visual variety.  For drinks, grab a box of Capri Suns for the little ones and a case of water for your adult guests.

So, where are you going to have this fabulous and frugal fiesta? The best option is one of our local BREC parks, especially one that features a splash pad during our warm months. The reason a park is the perfect place to party is that entertainment is built in! However, if you want to add a little extra fun to the fiesta, try a game of Egg and Spoon, but with plastic spoons and water balloons. The Dollar Tree is great for these items! Be sure to fill up the water balloons before going to the party venue though to save on water.

Receipt
Cake..................................................$5.54
Food and Drink....................................$21.85
Decorations........................................$6.00
Party Essentials (2).............................$12.00
   Invitations
   Candles
   Plates
   Cups
   Utensils
   Napkins
Entertainment......................................$2.00
Venue..................................................FREE
Total...................................................$47.39


Birthday Budget $250

With a little more money in your budget, you can try a local party venue to host your party. The best part of getting a venue is having the extra help of the venue’s staff. For our bash, we headed to Chuck E. Cheese’s. After choosing their basic party package, we were able to take care of simple decorations; invitations; party essentials such as napkins, cups, and utensils; food; drinks; entertainment; and the venue in one stop! While the venue does offer birthday cakes for an additional cost, you can bring in your own to add a special touch.

For a delicious cake at a great price, swing by Rouses’ a day or two before the party and order the perfect cake. Half sheet starts at $25.99, and depending on how intricate your designs are, the price may increase. Don’t forget the candles which you can grab from Walmart on the way to the party.

If your child wants a specific theme that Chuck E. Cheese's doesn’t offer, then you can bring your own decorations to match the cake. Party Time is a great place to find those favorite items. For a princess themed party, pick up a pack of Star Wands so each princess can bring one home, or for a dinosaur themed party, bring along a bag of large plastic dinosaurs for some dino-mite fun.

Now you are ready to watch the kids sprint from game to game amid all the flashing lights and buzzers. Collect them for pizza time, and Chuck E. himself will sing the birthday song. And, Chuck E. Cheese's has a brilliant new way to manage the token situation. Instead of keeping up with pockets and handfuls of bronze tokens, the kids each have a bracelet with a preloaded card.

Receipt
Cake....................................................$25.99
Candles...............................................$0.98
Theme Decorations...............................$16.98
Chuck E. Cheese's...............................$167.88
   Invitations
   Food and Drink
   Party Essentials
   Entertainment
   Venue
Total..................................................$211.83


Birthday Budget $500

If you’re not interested in having the party at a local venue, have them come to you! For the creative kid who wants to express her talent, a paint party is perfect. Party packages at Mudpies & Masterpieces are $250 for 10 children. However, for our party of 12, we needed to add to that. At $20 per guest, we were ready to celebrate at $290 with two hours of painting and fun.

Sometimes, there are picky eaters in the family, and you would much rather make your daughter and her friends something you know they would like. For the party, consider putting together a vegetable tray, fruit tray, and cheese and cracker tray. It will make things easier for the children to grab and go as they have fun at the party. Items to make the trays, and the drinks, can be picked up from Walmart or your local store.

For the cake, order a delicious 10 inch cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. And for a little extra, they will even decorate it for you. You will have it all taken care of in one stop!

Party essentials including napkins, plates, cups, etc. can be picked up from Party Time. Prices will vary depending on how much you need of everything, but for our party, we went for the party size packages that included 50 of everything. Be sure to grab the invitations, too!

Party Time also has fun paint decorations to keep with the theme. You will find a table cover, a ribbon banner, and art party dizzy danglers to give your party some extra flare.

Receipt
Cake..................................................$39.50
Food and Drink...................................$108.00
Party Essentials.................................$23.65
   Invitations
   Candles
   Plates
   Cups
   Utensils
   Napkins
Decorations........................................$16.87
Mudpies & Masterpieces.....................$290.00
Total..................................................$478.02


Birthday Budget $1,000

If your budget is on the larger side, you may have more room to add something extra to your bash, whether it be through entertainment or through a delicious food feast. The sky’s the limit–almost! Consider hosting the party at home. For a water-filled fest, rent an inflatable water slide from Bouncing Off the Walls if you do not have a pool. Don’t forget to invite mermaid friends to make the party extra special. You can invite a mermaid and the Island Princess from Petite Princess Company to the fête to keep with the tropical theme and to make sure your party-goers are entertained throughout the party.

Ambrosia Bakery offers delicious and decorative cakes that will leave your guests going “ooh” and “aah!” Pick up the Little Mermaid Cake or Pirate Ship cake to keep with the theme. After playing in the water, your little ones will definitely be hungry. Fill them up with catering from Jason’s Deli. You can get a traditional sandwich tray and a fruit tray for a great price, and you can even feed the adults who stayed for the party, too! Also, add a gallon of sweet tea and lemonade to your order. You won’t have to bother with cooking or baking anything, and it will be an easy clean up.

Don’t forget your party supplies and decorations from Party Time. If you’re not big on decorating, you can pick up a decorating kit, too. This will help make things quick and easy.

Receipt
Cake..................................................$150.00
Food and Drink...................................$134.00
Party Essentials.................................$23.65
   Invitations
   Candles
   Plates
   Cups
   Utensils
   Napkins
Decorations.........................................$16.98
   +Table Cover
Entertainment......................................$675.00
   Inflatable Water Slide
   Mermaid & Island Princess
Total..................................................$999.63


At the end of the day, your birthday boy or girl won’t worry about how much was or wasn’t spent because they will be too busy having a great time with friends. Birthdays are meant to be fun, and that means for you, too, Mom. ■

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29 Jun 2017


By BRPM Staff

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