Spending tons of money on our child’s birthday party just isn’t something that we feel comfortable doing, but just because we don’t drop a ton of money, doesn’t mean that Aria’s dinosaur party on a budget wasn’t fun or special. In fact, it was pretty awesome!
After I shared a few snaps of Aria’s party on my Instagram stories, so many of you asked how we pulled it off for under R2000 while still having 35 people join us on the day. Well, I’m going to share all of my tips and tricks with you. You’re welcome!
First things first, plan ahead and not just with your theme, set a strict budget for yourself as well. I started planning Aria’s party in January and started buying goodies in February. I know this comes more naturally to some and not to others but being able to spread the expense over a few months is really helpful and makes the whole process a lot less stressful.
The biggest money saving tip that I have is to have your party at your home. I totally understand the convenience of using a venue, but personally, I can’t justify forking out that money when I have a perfectly lovely garden at home. You really can find everything that you need, lying around your home. For eats and drinks tables, we used my desk and a side table from the lounge, we just covered them both with big pieces of white material (which I still have from our wedding!). We are lucky that we have some outdoor seating but definitely not enough for 30 odd people! And so for those that didn’t snag a chair, we had some blankets on the grass.
This tip is not for everyone, but I would encourage you to try anyway, and that’s to bake your own cake. I was very afraid at first, I’m not the best baker and most of the time my creations are a fail, but not this time! If it’s your first go at making your child’s birthday cake, don’t get to complex, Pinterest is your friend and there are some amazing tutorials out there. I also wrote a post about three easy birthday cakes that you can whip up, even if you aren’t creatively inclined.
In the same vein, make the rest of the food yourself as well. Remember, people aren’t there for breakfast or lunch, just for a few snacks. Besides the cake, we had some “allergy friendly” cupcakes (these aren’t a must, I just made them so that all of our friends could enjoy the food), sliced watermelon, simple sugar biscuits with blobs of different colour icing, cheese puffs (so addictive), cheese and lettuce sandwiches and some white chocolate eggs. For drinks we had water with lemon in and then some fruit juice. So simple, so easy and all really affordable!
Decor is important for parties but it can really add up! I scoured China Mall and other R5 stores and found some real gems! I bought all the dinosaur figurines (we spray painted them white and gold), the gold “2” balloon, re-usable plastic cups, straws and paper plates for under R300 all together. The dinosaur helium balloons were slightly more expensive, but made such great entertainment for the kids, and in terms of greenery and flowers, we just used what we had in our garden. If you don’t have a garden, ask friends who do if you can come and snip away, most won’t mind at all.
Reuse where you can and invest in items. You’re going to be having kids parties for many many years, and so you may as well invest in some specific items. We have 40 plastic cups that we use again and again, for Aria’s party we stuck dinosaurs on them which gave them a whole new lease on life. We also bought a massive glass water dispenser two or so years ago and it has become so incredibly useful! I haul it out at all of our birthday parties, as well as Christmas or any other outdoor entertaining that we do. You can find them for quite reasonable prices at Checkers as well as Westpak. Something else you might want to consider purchasing with the intention of keeping long term, is some hessian bunting. Although I didn’t use any this year, I used some last year and it was the same bunting that was used at my baby shower.
Something new to me this year was kids entertainment, and not to sound braggy, but I think I did well in this department! I printed out some A5 pieces of paper with dinosaurs on them and then laminated those. Then on Aria’s little table, I had a tray with some Marie biscuits, some icing sugar and tons of decorations. The kids could then decorate their biscuits and then take them home on their dinosaur “plate”. Other than that, they loved the two dinosaur helium balloons and the sandpit. They really don’t need a lot to keep busy so don’t break the bank with something fancy. Again, Pinterest has a ton of awesome ideas.
Your child’s party is supposed to be a really fun and memorable time for all of you, but if you are stressed to the max because you went a bit cray cray with the spending, you won’t enjoy it as much. Like I said earlier, kids really don’t need much, they just want to have a really fun day, they don’t care how “Pinterest perfect” everything is. And neither should you.
I hope that these tips come in handy, and if you have any of your own, please leave them in the comments section.