6 Tips to Tame Your Birthday Party Spending

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Baby Bird’s first birthday bash is coming up, and I am more than ready to get the party started … and over with.

I’m ecstatic about celebrating my girl’s milestone, but I did everything wrong in planning the party. Now, I’m stressed and my budget is stretched to the max.

I won’t do this to myself. It didn’t have to be this difficult. Next year, I’ll have the list below to keep me — and my party budget — in check.

Don’t invite everyone

Trust me: I know this is tough. It would be nice to have all the aunties, cousins, and BFFs in attendance, but the more adults you invite, the more food you have to buy. So, consider inviting just immediate family members (your parents, grandparents, siblings, and their children). I didn’t follow my own sage advice. We invited about 75 people to Baby Bird’s party — only 10 of them children.

Don’t send paper invites

I love having Mr. T design our party invitations. He’s an amazing artist, and it’s nice to have a one-of-a-kind design. But then we have to pay for printing and postage, which can be pricey. Save some money and send out electronic invites. You can use companies like evite.com, or just shoot out a text message. Just call guests who aren’t tech-savvy.

Don’t party during mealtime

Plan the shindig for a time that doesn’t overlap with a major meal. We’ll be partying from 2 to 5 p.m., so our guests will hopefully have eaten by the time they arrive. (We’ll have hot dogs, burgers, and snacks available just in case, which is why we’re not saving any money here.)

Don’t get hung up on the theme

Baby Bird loves Daniel Tiger, so I bought a Daniel Tiger happy birthday banner. Daniel Tiger paper products. Daniel Tiger party favors. A Daniel Tiger cardboard cutout for photos with the kiddos … you see where I’m going with this.

A few of the Daniel Tiger decorations we purchased for our daughter's party.
Here’s a few of the party pieces that I’ve picked up in the past few months.

Don’t lock yourself into a hard-to-find theme. Instead, choose one with popular characters (Sesame Street, princesses, dinosaurs) and buy key pieces of theme-specific decor. You can fill in the gaps with paper products from the Dollar Tree.

Don’t overspend on the cake

Sam’s Club makes a Daniel Tiger sheet cake that’s cute, but it wasn’t what I had in mind. I wanted a tiered cake. It had to be decorated like The Neighborhood of Make Believe, and I wanted Daniel and his friends to be along the cobblestone road. I wanted this cake:

Two tier Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood cake

The price for the cake I wanted: about $200. That’s crazy. Don’t be crazy. If you go with an easy theme, you’ll be able to get a great cake from your local grocery store or Wal-Mart. A two-tier Sesame Street cake would have cost me about $70 from Wal-Mart — and they throw in a smash cake FOR FREE.

Make it a Sundae Fun-day

If you can’t bring yourself to cut your guest list, consider making the party an ice cream social. Pick up tubs of basic flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) and set up a toppings bar. Throw in drinks, snacks, and the birthday cake, and it’ll be a sweet day to remember.

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Six Tips to Tame Your Birthday Party Spending

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