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Party planning on a budget doesn’t need to be stressful. In a few weeks, we will be throwing the ultimate Superhero party for our 6 year old and it’s costing us just £8.30 per child! That includes the games, the food, the venue decorations, the cake, and the party bags.
Today, I’m going to share my best tricks for getting the most out of your money.
1. Choose a theme
Kids love themed parties and having a theme to work from will give you a direction. It also makes your party feel a lot more professional and less ‘ad-hoc’.
What is your child interested in at the moment? Do they have a favourite film? Or a favourite toy? Or do they have a particular hobby like art or football?
2. Develop a colour scheme
This needs to be one of the earliest steps because it will impact the rest of the party. Look at your theme and choose 2 to 4 colours that will fit well (e.g. black and yellow for a Batman Party or your child’s team colours for a rugby party).
Note your choice of colours down – this will be important later.
3. Limit the party guests
This is an obvious point, but the more guests you invite, the more it’s going to cost you. We tend to stick with 6 or 7 close friends.
It’s also worth noting that most party bag items are sold in packs of 6 or 8, so choosing a multiple of these (6, 8, 12, 16 guests) means you are only buying as much as you need.
4. Have the party at home
Yes I know – 5 words that strike fear into the heart of every parent! But hear me out…
- It’s free (great for your budget!)
- You can set up in your own time
- You can clear away when you like
- It explains to other parents why you only have a short guest list
We rented a hall for a couple of parties, but it was such a rush getting the room prepared in the time slot we were given. Then, once the guests had left, there was no respite – we had to immediately start on the mammoth task of washing up and taking all banners down, etc.
When we swapped to hosting parties at home, we set up the room the night before while the kids were asleep. Then we kept out of the house on the day of the party (so the room stayed as it should) and arrived in time for it to start. Once the guests left, we sat down and had a chill out, and then eventually packed away once the kids were in bed again.
We also kept the birthday banners up for a few days after the party so that our kids could enjoy them for longer.
5. Carefully choose your branded items
You can spend a fortune on branded table wear, banners, and party accessories. But you really don’t need to.
Choose a few key items*, and then just fill out the selection with plain coloured items from your palette of colours (see – I said the colours would be important later!). Plain products are quite cheap compared to branded ones.
For example, our My Little Pony table was themed around white and pale pink so we had:
1x Plastic Table Cloth (white) | £1.79
20x Napkins (pale pink) | £1.49
8x Paper Cups (pale pink) | £1.49
8 x Paper Plates (pale pink & white polka dots) – for the food | £1.49
*8x My Little Pony Paper Party Plates – for the guests| £2.59*
TOTAL SPEND: £8.95
Prices correct as of 29th January 2017
The table looked great and yet we’d achieved it on a very tight budget.
6. Decorate the venue
You might be tempted to ignore the room decorations when you’re counting the pennies, but don’t! A nicely dressed room will add so much magic and atmosphere to the party, and make a huge difference to the overall experience.
Just use the same principle we mentioned in the table section; choose one or two stand-out items that are branded, and then fill out the rest with your colour scheme. This makes it a lot cheaper but just as effective.
Also, you can’t have a party without bunting so check out my easy peasy no-sew bunting idea and you’ll have reams of the stuff in minutes!
7. Make the most of what you’ve got
If you’ve chosen a theme which your child loves, you’ve probably got a load of related toys and posters in your house already. Get them all together and decorate your venue with them. It all adds to the overall ambience (and your budget will thank you for re-using).
You can even get your children involved and get them to draw some pictures to put on the walls, or print some colouring sheets off for them.
8. Provide cold finger food
Using finger food such as mini sausage rolls and jam sandwiches means you don’t need to buy cutlery (great for the budget). And, as an extra tip, if the food can be eaten cold, you can prepare it all beforehand rather than trying to cook whilst simultaneously hosting your party.
Think about finger foods for your pudding too as this will mean the children can reuse their plates rather than having to stretch your budget to include bowls and spoons. Mini buns, party rings, and chocolate fingers are always popular.
9. Plan your own party activities
Forget magicians and children’s entertainers. Good, old-fashioned party games are the way to go when you’re working to a budget, plus they’re really good fun!
Read my article on themed party games so that your party flows effortlessly.
10. Dress up
This is one of the great things about choosing a theme – you can ask your guests to dress to the theme. This naturally adds to the feel of the party and yet it doesn’t cost you, the host, a penny.
11. Buy or bake a budget cake
There are so many ways to make a fantastic cake on a budget. Of course baking your own from scratch is probably the cheapest of all, but it’s not everyone’s forte.
Lots of supermarkets sell ready-iced cakes for between £5 and £10. Alternatively, you can easily buys cakes that just have white fondant icing on them. Buy a pack of smarties and decorate it (or even just use the colours from your theme if you like).
Buns and cupcakes are also popular and can be decorated in a similar way.
If you fancy having a go at cake decorating (I promise it’s not as scary as it seems), check out my beginners guide to fondant icing.
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. We’re currently doing a mini series on party planning here at Lucy At Home, so feel free to browse the other posts mentioned. And don’t forget to check out how to throw the perfect girls superhero party
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