Family Magazine

Cheap, but Still Cheerful – Hosting a Child’s Party on a Budget

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

Party Candles on a Slice of Birthday Cake

Children’s parties can be sophisticated affairs these days – and long gone are the days of jelly mountains, balloons, and a Victoria sponge with candles in the back garden.

But, in these times of austerity and watching the pennies, it is still possible to keep the costs of your child’s party down, without compromising on quality, and, more importantly, fun!

Certainly it’s possible to spend less than the £300 average that parents admit to spending on one child’s party, with some parents stretching to £800. Yes, that’s per child.  Limo, anyone?

Listed below are some tips to help you rein in the costs, but maximise the fun factor.

  • Firstly, set yourself and budget, and throughout the planning process, stick to it.  Try to avoid those impulse buys when you shop, popping that extra little gift per loot bag into your trolley, thinking that by mixing it with your weekly shop you’re burying bad news
  • Be creative – retro is cool.  Draw on your childhood memories – avoid the temptation to book an expensive entertainer – and play the games you used to play at parties as a child.  Musical chairs, musical bumps, pin the tail on the donkey, are all brilliant games for small children.  Pass the parcel can be wrapped newspaper.
  • Keep your invites and thank you notes simple – there are plenty of downloadable and printable templates on sites such as Netmums , and it’s an easy and nice activity to do with your child in a quiet moment.
  • Can you bake?  Paint faces?  Juggle?  Do magic tricks?  Have other hidden talents that could be put to use in a reciprocal party skill share?  If you and a couple of friends can be caterer/ entertainer at each other’s kids parties you can all save loads.  It’s a win win situation.
  • Throw a joint party if your child’s friends have birthdays close enough.  This can have the added benefit of fostering new and existing friendships if the guest lists work out well.
  • Think outside the box with your venue.  Halls can be pricy by the hour, and ‘activity’ parties such as swimming, ice skating, go karting, can work out at a high cost per head.  For younger children, weather permitting of course, go outdoors.  But don’t feel restricted to your back garden. With the help of some parents Lesley of West London threw a fabulous Teddy Bear’s picnic party for her five year old in the local woods, and great fun was had by all.  Jeanette’s son Jake is pirate mad, so they hosted a pirate party in a local park, which just so happens to have a pirate ship as part of the equipment – how lucky is that? Jeanette and her husband, keen battle re-enacters, made excellently scary pirates, keeping the children and adults entertained for a couple of hours.  All for free.
  • Food – keep it simple.  We’ve all been at children’s parties where the waste has been horrendous.  Most kids just want to be involved in the games and general mayhem, not to be sitting for ages eating a sophisticated buffet.  Make up a box for each child and include a sandwich, some fruit, a drink, crisps and veg.
  • A sleepover is always a hit for older kids.  They choose a couple of friends, you hire a film, they make their own pizzas.  Obviously some mess and untidiness will be involved, and you could well be asleep long before the kids are – but that might be a small price to pay.
  • Party bags – as with food the rule is, keep it simple.  They are an expectation these days, but they don’t need to cost a fortune.  Take a look at our filled party bags, for bargain ideas.  Not only are they cost-effective, but we offer a wide range of themes to suit most children’s needs.

So, hopefully, these tips will help you keep on budget, without losing the ‘Wow Factor’.  And there’s no need to tell the kids it’s all been done before – many years ago….

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