Birthday parties are all about fun and celebration, but once the crumbs have been swept up, the balloons taken down and your little tucked up happily in bed, you’re left to face the bills that leave you feeling anything but jolly. So, when next it’s time to plan your child’s birthday party, remember that you can give then a day to remember without leaving you with a financial hangover the day after. In the event you do need a bit of help, Wonga.com offer cash loans to help you out in the short term; so they might be worth considering for a one off expense.
Draw up your Plan of Action
Take a little time to think creatively about art activities children can do at the party. They needn’t be expensive or elaborate for little ones to enjoy, and if they tie in with your party theme, even better.
A popular and easy way to develop a theme is to use a popular cartoon or kids TV show as a starting point. Your child will already have their favourites. Do some internet research or next time they watch their favourite show, watch with them to gather ideas. For example, if your little one is crazy about Spongebob Squarepants, turn your venue into the inside of a pineapple and get the kids dress as their favourite characters. Activities could include the making of ‘bottom of the Pacific Ocean’ scenes. Another popular theme is Dora the Explorer with children following directions to hidden items around the house for reward. Watch the show and you’ll no doubt come away full of ideas.
Older kids are a little trickier. Don’t bother planning anything that is going require them to be ‘uncool’ in any way. Check with older children to see what they would be comfortable with before you decide on a set theme. You could ask them to dress in a period costume to go with a murder mystery theme. Or set up a podium with a few flashing lights for a pop star party. Guests can bring along their own music and it’s as simple as plugging a cheap microphone into the stereo and voila! If you don’t have these items, ask around.
Guard Against ‘party creep’
A party, and your budget, begin to spiral out of control as the guest lists lengthens. Each name on that list represents another plate of food or party pack, and materials for art activities. So before you’ve created a monster of a guest list, decide on the number of guests that will be invited. Stay strong by working out a price per head for each guest and add up the figures if you’re tempting to keep adding. Children of a young age have little idea of the value of money so will probably want to invite their whole class – definitely a budget-buster – so suggest she picks no more than five of her closest friends so she can actually spend time with each one and truly enjoy the day. Keep in mind that the size of your guest list will also determine the location of the party, which can substantially increase your expenses.
Set the Scene
Your home is the cheapest place to host your child’s birthday party but keep two things in mind before you decide to stay home. Do you have the space to entertain x-number of excited children on a sugar-high? Secondly, be prepared for a major mopping-up operation after the party’s over.
A cheap alternative is to throw a party in a park or neighbourhood playground. There are often tables you can cover with table clothes and there is oodles of space for the kids to run around. A definite plus is that, once the fun is over, you can throw everything away in the bins provided and the birds and squirrels will take care of the crumbs.
For older children, you could arrange a tour of your local fire station where kids can interact with real-life firefighters, or a trip to a museum or historical site.
Make, don’t Buy
Just as ready-made meals cost the earth, so it is with party paraphernalia. So channel your inner child and make your own invitations or scour the internet for sites that allow you to send out free electronic invitations.
In the same way, buying ready-made bakes and treats will do serious damage to your bottom line. Bake the birthday cake, make cupcakes and rainbow sandwiches. Do the party equivalent of a skills exchange: rope in a friend to help with the bake and in return you could offer to lift her children from school and back on a day of her choice, you could babysit or cook a couple of meals to drop off at her home when she’s under pressure. It’s also always more fun to party plan with a friend.
Food can Easily Eat up your Budget
If your budget is particularly cash-challenged, simplify the party menu by scheduling the occasion between meals. A mid-morning party allows you to get away with a few snacks and the birthday cake instead of a full meal.