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Friday, July 1, 2011

{Frugal Friday} Five Frugal Party Tips

Since parties are sort of the theme of the week,
today I am going to share with you five things that help 
me to stay on track while planning a party.

Parties in today's society can be a bit exorbitant and costly.


Plan early. Plan often.

Yes, when I say early I mean EARLY!!!

Seriously early.

You should pretty much start thinking about the party
 a minimum of nine months ahead of time.
This allows you to catch deals when there are clearances 
andto spread out cost.
It allows you to not impact your budget with a 
$500 plus dent at all once.
Food clearly cannot be picked up early 
which is why it is important to pick up the other things early.
Food costs alone can be between $80-$200 depending on the 
number of guests and what is being served.


Plan. Plan. Plan.
And when you think you have it all covered 
plan some more.

Plan a budget, 
both overall all and per item.

For example,
this year for Roly Poly's first birthday I knew 
that I wanted the invitations to have matching paper.

I will be making a majority of the decorations from this paper.
Thus, these two items will make up the majority of my budget.
I set an overall number for the party,
but then I set a separate number for what
 I would spend on this bulk order.
I was exactly within my budget and ordered three months early
so the cost is already done even though the party 
isn't until July 23rd.

It is also important to plan table cloths, silverware, etc early.
What games, prizes, favors will you be incorporated.

This allows you to make a Target run and see plasticware in the
 seasonal section on clearance and pick it up.
I did this for both parties this year.

Monster's decor was inspired by some items I picked up in the Halloween clearance at Target
Roly Poly's silverware was purchased from this years Easter section at Target.

Pictures of both will come after the actual parties.


Cut Costs!!!

Yes, in some ways this is easier said than done,
but it is truly feasible.

One simple area for cost cutting is drinks.
Limit the number of options that you serve.
You do not need to purchase a 12 pack of 5 different types of soda.

Instead, you can serve filtered water in a large decorative pitcher.
Make some Crystal Light or Lemonade in another decorative pitcher.
Then, you are free to have one or two soda choices (purchased on sale with a coupon)
for your guests who have this as their preference.

The way that I am incorporating this idea for Roly Poly's party
is by serving only IBC rootbeer 

because the color goes with the theme
and then I will have some other refreshments in dispensers.

In the past I have spent way too much on drinks
and been left with more left overs than any one family needs.

There are several other ways of cutting costs.
  • Sewing your own favor bags.
  • Reusing items from past parties (eg glassware for center pieces--this is what I am doing for Monster's Pirate Party)
  • Make your own cake/cupcakes/desserts
  • Skip the pinata for an alternative game
  • Avoid the bounce house trap at all cost (sorry if you are a bounce house lover. They are a cost though)
  • Borrow chairs and tables from friends who have them or ask your church
  • Serve only cake and ice cream, thus cutting your food costs astronomically.
  • Have a breakfast party where you serve fruit and cereal.


Taper the guest list.

This can be a hard one, especially for a first birthday party.
Just know that sometimes you can't taper and others you can.
When you can taper the guest list,
there are several possible strategies.

  • You can throw a family ONLY party.
  • You can make it a gender only party.
  • When the child is old enough it can be a drop off party. No parents=less mouths to feed.
  • Have a destination party where your child invites one-three friends. This is clearly a choice reserved for older children, not infants or toddlers.
  • Make it at an inconvenient date or time. Seriously, this way you don't feel bad. Last year Monster's party was on a Thursday at 11. This pretty much excluded all extra dad mouths, including my husband's. This year his party is on his birthday, Fourth of July, at 10am. It is at my Mother-in-law's house 40 minutes from where we live. We limited it to family because we didn't want to obligate any of our friends to drive or cancel cooler plans. This wipes away any guilt. Everyone who is coming lives within 15 minutes of where the party will be. We are the only ones who do not live nearby.

Don't be Embarrassed.

Be true to yourself. Be true to your budget.
People are they to have fun.
In the end people don't REALLY care how awesome your party was.
Instead, they just want to hang out, have good conversation, and love on your kid.
If you can't afford it or you just don't have time to manage it,
then just have a classic party like your mom threw you.

This was what I did last year.

I bought Little Caesar $5 pizzas,
a cheap but cute cake from Target,
simple favors, 
and that was that.

I was sick, pregnant, tired, hot, perturbed, and just a bit over it in general.
I still had fun. 
The kids were enamored with the day.

All was well.

Okay, so this post was mostly wordy, 
but I think that it is worth reading.

Lots o Love for this 


  1. This is a great post. I'm amazed at what children's parties involve today. When I was growing up in the 60's, I was allowed one party. My brothers didn't get any. That said, they also look like so much fun for the kids attending!

  2. Awesome post!! Great tips! Hope all the partying goes well!


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