Birthdays are awesome, special, and oh-so-fun! We've been reminded of this lately because March is a busy month of birthdays for our family. I swear that more than half of the month is filled with birthdays! And we've had so much fun celebrating the ones that we love!
However, those fun celebrations can get expensive. So, what are some ways that you can rein in the expenses but still have fun? Here are some of our best birthday tips...
Set a birthday budget.
As with any other expense, you need to account for your birthday celebration in your budget. When planning your party, think about how much you will spend on food, decorations, location (if you're renting a space for your party), party favors, gifts, and any other thing that goes into your celebration. Having this total determined ahead of time and including it in your monthly budget will allow you to: (1) know that you have the money set aside for your birthday celebration, and (2) have fun celebrating without having to worry about whether or not you're going to be able to afford your other monthly expenses. So, before doing anything else, set your birthday budget!
BIY - 'Bake it yourself.'
A cake from your local bakery or ice cream shoppe can easily cost $30-40 (or more!). Why spend that much when you can easily whip up a cake or a dozen cupcakes at home? It doesn't have to be made from scratch. (However, scratch is pretty awesome...says the woman who made herself a carrot cake with twice as much cream cheese frosting for her birthday.) A box of cake mix and some store frosting won't cost you much and it's pretty easy to throw together!
Pick cheap (but delicious) party food.
Buying pre-made food items, such as prepared fruit and veggie trays, meat and cheese platters, and other 'party foods,' at the store gets expensive. It's much cheaper to make these items yourself! Buying the fruits, veggies, meat, or cheese to make your own party platter will be much cheaper (and fresher) than picking up the pre-made plates. Choose a few low-cost veggies and fruits, and they will go a long way!
You can also cut costs by choosing cheaper party foods. Meat and cheese trays are a common party go-to, but they get expensive fast. So, why not consider another option? Some of our favorite cheap party foods include taco salad and sloppy joes. Not only are these foods cheap, but they are so easy to make. Just prepare the taco meat or sloppy joe mix ahead of time and then keep it hot in the crockpot!
Don't spend a ton on paper products.
Disposable plates, napkins, cups, and flatware can add up quickly. Try your best to find inexpensive options. My favorite places to look for party paper products include the dollar store and Walmart. Those two stores typically have a great selection of paper products at much lower prices than other retailers. However, if I can't find the color/style I'm looking for, then I check Hobby Lobby and hope for a sale (or use the 40% off coupon that is always available on their website).
Make your own decorations.
Check out the picture below. I did that! That was our middle daughter's second birthday. It honestly wasn't much (well, besides the lemonade stand...that could maybe be described as going a bit overboard...haha). But, looking at the decorations, it was really just some streamers and a few pieces of scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby cut into triangular banners with matching plates and napkins. It's simple and inexpensive but still cute. AND it didn't take insane creativity skills. What I did that day with the decorations is something that anyone could do. (Side note: If you have a party theme selected but are feeling a bit stumped with decoration ideas, or food ideas, use Google and Pinterest to your advantage. There are so many creative people out there who share their ideas online!)
Have a joint birthday party.
Are there a bunch of people in your family or a few of your friends who all have birthdays during the same month? If so, then consider hosting a joint birthday party to celebrate multiple people at once! A joint party cuts down on the number of celebrations throughout the month (and therefore the number of expenses). In addition, whether it's family or friends you're bringing together to celebrate that month's birthdays, you can request that others contribute food, paper products, and/or decorations.
Remember that less is more.
Be really thoughtful and intentional with gifts. Chances are good that the person you are celebrating (even if it's your kid) doesn't need a ton of gifts. Spend time giving thought to the present you will give. Consider the person's interests, hobbies, and his or her love languages. Use this insight to choose a gift that truly matches the person, and don't feel obligated to give a bunch of gifts.
Taking time to celebrate (whether it's a birthday or another occasion) is so important. It's good to slow down, have fun, and make memories with your friends and family. Just remember, you don't have to spend a ton to make your celebration special. Keep it simple and enjoy celebrating!