Thursday, June 4, 2009

Birthday parties on a budget

So you all know I have four kids. What you might not realize is that three of those kids have birthdays in a 6 week period. Having a birthday party every two or three weeks can get expensive fast, but I've always felt that it was important to celebrate each child. So that leaves me needing to either be remarkably organized and set aside money on a regular schedule throughout the year (HA!) or I have to be creative and find a way to celebrate without spending a lot of money.

You know the basics of Zaven's party. We paid for invitations, a movie, the flashlights and batteries, glow-in-the-dark ballons and helium, the ingredients for the pizzas and the cake, sodas, paper plates, and plastic forks. It's hard to put an actual price tag on all of it, since I didn't buy it in one shopping trip, but I think we ended up spending about $125 on all of it. The balloons and helium were about half of that expense, but considering that the ballons are re-usable for future parties (we'd just need more helium), and that there are plates and forks left for Caly's party, I think we did OK. I still have to buy him his gift, but his actual birthday isn't for almost a month so I'm holding off for a bit.

Caly will be having her party a week from Saturday. And actually her party has become quite notorious for being THE event to attend every summer. She's got a ton of friends and every year somewhere between 10 and 20 of them come over for a "Messy Party" where they cover each other in shaving cream and make all kinds of messy art projects. It's actually a pretty inexpensive affair. The shaving cream runs about a dollar a can, and the "art" supplies are cheap since we mostly do things like make oobleck (corn starch, water, and food coloring). This year we're considering asking kids to bring an old white t-shirt or pillow case so we can decorate them with sharpies and rubbing alcohol. (If I can find some cheap I'll just buy them and let that be the party favors.) My goal is to keep the cost under $75 not counting her gift. In fact, since I already have the shaving cream and corn starch (bought on sale a few weeks ago)and paper plates and forks left from Zaven's party, I should be able to only spend about $25 more dollars (for cake, drinks, and sharpies). This is a good thing as I'm broke after paying for Zaven's party.

Party #3 is Zoe's. She is SO excited to be having a real party this year. We always have a small family celebration, but this year she has friends from school that she wants to invite. Right now, I'm thinking we'll still make it kind of small. 4 or 5 friends over would be plenty big enough to make it feel like a major event for her. We have a swingset, a huge sandbox, and lots of cats. I'm thinking that if we just add a few balloons and streamers, some juice, and a cake we'll be set. The only problem? Her teacher was supposed to provide a list of kids who'd agreed to be on a summer playdate list. The school can't share private info like phone numbers or addresses without permission, but they can ask if people want to be included. However, the teacher forgot to send the list home on the last day. I've e-mailed her and I'm hoping she's not gone for the summer. If not, I have a lot of tracking down to do.

Thankfully, Quinn's birthday isn't until September and he's not old enough to even notice that his party is going to be much smaller than the others. I'm planning on using the glow-in-the-dark balloons for him, though. He had way too much fun with them during Zaven's party. Those and a small cake should be plenty enough to make him feel special.

1 comment:

She said...

I like the "messy party" idea. I might steal that one day. (That's the good thing about a July b'day. Messy stuff, then sprinkler!)