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Birthday Budget Secrets

Birthdays are great fun around our house. It’s also a time that can be easy to spend uncontrollably. The children deserve it – after all. The truth is that the children could care less. They just want to get together, eat some cake, and have a good time.

Because the budgets have been tight in the past, I have learned some big money saving tips for birthday parties. Some take time instead, but all are great ways to get more for your money when it comes to a child’s birthday.

1. NO MORE GOODY BAGS. This isn’t a tip as much as it should be a law. I hate taking my kids to birthday parties where they come home with tiny toys (that their baby brother can just fit into his mouth) and noise makers!

2. Make the cake yourself. The truth is that many bakeries used packaged mixes these days. You can get fancy with the decorations, or just stick to chocolate.

3. Limit the guest list. For the best party (and to maintain some kind of control) limited the guest list to the birthday boy’s age plus one (with an 11 birthday coming up, the invitations will be 12). This is ESPECIALLY valuable to parent’s of small children. Having 30 toddlers rampaging through your house is enough to scare even a veteran.

4. Let the kids create their own favors. If it’s a princess party, let them decorate a crown. Are you having an animal party? Then let the kids decorate or make animal masks. Not only will it give them something to remember the party (and still not clutter up the car on the way home) but it will take up some of the time!

5. Let the kids have fun. Don’t try to fill the day with stuff and activities. Let them run and play and use their imaginations. Give them a treasure map and they are likely to even forget about the cake.

6. Have the party at home. Renting a facility can cost a bundle. You don’t need a huge home to host a great party. Our first birthday party in our home was a pirate party. The weather was horrible, so the kids had to “hunt” inside. The house was ONLY 1100 square feet (and six rooms, including bathrooms). Following the clues from space to space was still thrilling for them. Kids don’t notice how big, or how small a house is – they just tend to notice the warmth ;).

Birthdays at our house usually run under $100 (and that often includes a gift for the birthday boy). We make the event a family affair (with the whole family planning, preparing, and – YES – even cleaning up). Time, creativity, and a sense of humor will carry you across the finish line.

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