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Both of my girls have summer birthdays so in the past I've had the luxury of being able to trek a few kids to the post swimming pool, or come up with a quick "summer" outing or "vacation" to grandma & grandpas to check the birthday party block. Last year my oldest became wiser and begged for a birthday party. I'd seen the birthday parties my daughter(s) had attended and I was not going anywhere near the cost that had been incurred. Instead I turned on my creativity.

 

For Wrena, she was turning 10. That meant she had a bit of "kid" still in her and we didn't have to go "pre-teen" quite yet. When I think of what I'd want someone to do for me if they threw me a party, I immediately think of Oprah's Favorite Things. Wrena's favorite thing is noodles. Yes, noodles. She loves noodles and would eat them at every meal if I allowed her. We decided to throw a noodle party.

 

Using noodles as our theme we made handmade invitations using clipart of noodles found on Google. Inside the card we put little strips of crinkled paper resembling noodles. She hand delivered them. At the party we served noodles - plain, with red sauce, and with white sauce. We made cupcakes with a noodle decorating the top. For our activities we dyed noodles in different colors and made noodle crafts and we had "noodle-wars" with the pool noodles from Wal-Mart that we also gave as party favors. We also did take-out boxes filled with her favorite noodles and a recipe for how she prefers her noodles (i.e. cooked al-dente with spray butter and shaved parmesan). It was a hit - for both she and I - she had fun and celebrated her favorite things and I loved the price tag!

 

Now I know that not all kids birthday parties can be so inexpensive but there are ways that experts (i.e. other parents) say you can save quite a bundle. See if any of these ideas/tips make your party rock:

 

  1. Pick a theme, but get creative. The kids don't really care if they have everything that the store sells in that particular theme. Making some of your own decorations can be fun. Check out Pinterest for tons of creative ideas.
  2. Make your own invitations. Believe it or not the kids like to do this. A simple piece of paper printed from your computer folded and hand delivered is enough of an invite to get the kids there. Let your child's imagination run wild.
  3. Don't serve a meal or if you do, make it simple. One of the biggest expenses of throwing a party is the food. When it comes to kids it is very easy to get around doing so by scheduling the party mid-afternoon. Serve cake and ice cream. If you do decide to go with food, stay inexpensive by serving child-friendly meals like spaghetti, pizza, pb&j, or hot dogs.
  4. Limit the number of guests. The more kids the higher the price tag. Have you child pick his/her best friends.
  5. Do-It-Yourself. From the cake (yes, anyone can make a boxed cake or cupcakes and the kids like them just as well), to the entertainment (you'd be surprised how much a Wii, a board game, or you dressing up as a clown making balloon animals will entertain), just do it yourself to save a ton.
  6. Throw the party at home. Throwing a party away from home is automatically costly.
  7. Alternate years of throwing a party. I have a friend who every other year throws her daughter a party. The off years they share a cake with dinner as a family (dinner is the child's choice) and she makes them breakfast in bed that morning.
  8. Go for practical favors. Favor boxes filled with stickers and tiny trinkets can be expensive and quite frankly, often wasted. Choose a large coloring book with a small box of crayons or a $5.00 iTunes gift card. I bet the guests will appreciate it.
  9. Creative wrapping paper. Use comics, old t-shirts, bubble wrap or brown kraft paper that you can color and decorate to save on wrapping paper. Always recycle gift bags.
  10. Visit 100 Frugal Ways to Celebrate and find your own rockin' tip!