Mar 072012
We celebrated my middle son’s sixth birthday this past weekend, and my goal was to stay within a $100 party budget. I am excited very excited to have made it, and even more so for staying within the budget without having to pinch pennies.
We invited everyone in my son’s kindergarten class, plus a couple of neighbors, and although there were only a handful kids from his class, the turnout was still great, as the kids brought parents and siblings along with them.

This time around I decided to make a homemade birthday cake, because the prize had gone up at Publix, and I would have to go up a size from last time based on the RSVP’s. 

We ordered pizzas from the Domino’s around the corner, and we used our favorite neighborhood park once again. The park tables are on a first come, first serve basis, so the kids and I got to the park a little after 7 a.m. This was the perfect timing though, because it gave me ample time to set up and blow up water balloons.

Luckily, there were no other parties this Saturday, which meant that it was a lot less chaotic than last time. I had a BOGO Domino’s card that I had gotten through a school fundraiser a while back. (It is kind of like a one-year Domino’s BOGO coupon that can be used again and again)

I also had a $25 Domino’s gift card from Superpoints (could be used in-store, online or over the phone), and I got the soda for free at CVS with my CVS Extra Bucks. A lot of the decorations have been reused from year to year, but I also included a couple of fancy red decorations that I got at the Target after Christmas clearance sale. My son’s favorite color is red, and he loves everything about sharks and the beach, so the theme was red + beach/shark. 
At my oldest son’s birthday party in September, I bought some of the party favors in bulk, which meant there was plenty for this party as well, and then I shopped clearance and at the dollar store. 
I had a lot of the cake ingredients such as eggs, food color, sprinkles etc. already, and I bought the main ingredients such as flour, sugar and icing at ALDI. I used the ingredients for the birthday cake on my son’s actual birthday cake, plus for the beach cake, and there are plenty of flour and sugar left for more baking. 
I also made sure to order enough pizza, so that I did not have to make dinner on the day of the party. We had three pies left after sending some home with party guests, so it turned out to be just the right amount of pizzas.The most amazing part is that my party box is still full. There are lots of plates, napkins, cups, décor, party favors and more for the next party, and I am amazed at how little we actually used. 
We ended up with 16 kids and 8 adults. 
My $100 Party Budget: 
Frugal Party Food:
8 x Large Domino’s Pizza after Domino’s coupons and Domino’s gift card: $26.90 
9 x 2 Liter soda from CVS – Used CVS Extra Bucks = Free 
Decorations, tablecloths, water balloons, bubbles, party goods and more from the Dollar Store $18 
Cups and plates on sale with coupons at Publix $3.29
Luxury party decorations such as huge red honeycomb bought on After Christmas Clearance Sale at Target = $1
The beach cake – A homemade birthday cake with ingredients from ALDI and my pantry $17.20 
Cheese Puffs and single serve bags of chips from ALDI $6.96
Shark candy for cake topper from candy store at the mall $4 
Frugal Party Favors:
Dinosaurs + palm tree cake topper from Target Clearance sale $3 (Was $10) 
Leftover bulk party favors from the last party $4Wonka Candy Party Pack on clearance at Publix $2.19 – Used $3/CVS $30 Publix coupon from Recyclebank = FREE 
24 Tattoo party pack on clearance at CVS – Used Extra Bucks = Free

Total spent $80.35

The Frugal Party Entertainment:
The kids had a blast, and I think the party turned out extremely well. The weather was perfectly warm (but not too warm) with a little bit of a breeze, and there was no chance of rain. 
The park’s water splash area was working, but it was not working properly, as it would turn on for a few minutes and then it would take a while before the water would start back up again. To make up for this, we set up regular water sprinkler from home, so the kids still had a blast with the water. 
We filled up about 300 water balloons from Dollar Tree, and the kids blew bubbles too. 
After lunch, cake, and gift opening I made a scavenger hunt, where the treasure was the goody bags. I had hidden seven cards around the park, and at each card the kids would have to do an activity such as sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat, the Alphabet Song, count to 20, bark like a dog, jump up and down etc.

Each card included simple instructions, so that both the kindergarten kids and the older kids would have fun. The note would then tell them, where they should search for the next card until they finally found the treasure by the last card. 

I absolutely love the park, which is a fantastic neighborhood park less than a mile down the street from us. It is completely fenced in, and it is not bigger than you can always keep track of the kids. There is a small pavilion with six picnic tables, and next to the pavilion there is a a nice separately fenced-in play area with a slide, a climbing feature and more. Then there is the water splash area, where the water comes up from the ground and from above. There is a paved track around the park, where the kids can ride their bikes, scooters etc, and in the middle there is a hop scotch area, where the kids can play with chalk, and there is a large grass area, where the kids can play ball. 
We had brought our kids’ bikes, ride-ons, scooters, all of our balls, chalk and more, so that there were plenty of things for the kids to do, besides just playing on the playground. Although only 16 kids showed up (including siblings), it was the perfect amount of kids, and all the kids had brought a parent, so I did not have to worry too much.

My son loved his party, and so did his brothers, so I will declare it a success. The party was set to end at 1 p.m., but we did not leave until 3 p.m. together with the last party guests, so it was three tired kids (and a very tired mom) that returned home at the end of the day.  

With a party budget of $80, I could still have made it within the $100 Party Budget, even if I did not have the Domino’s gift card from Superpoints. 

Tips For Keeping A $100 Party Budget
Plan Ahead: Make lists, and have a big box stowed away, where you can add any new party deals you find. 

Start Early: If you start looking for bargains and clearance on party goods, soda etc., a couple of months in advance, you will be less likely to pay full price for anything.

Earn Gift Cards Online: There are many sites online, where you can earn gift cards to places such as Target, Domino’s and CVS. Save these for party time, so that you do not have a big out-of-pocket expenses.

Reuse: Use what you already have, and make sure to save decorations and table cloths from year to year. There is no need to buy a new birthday banner every year, we have reused ours for more than five years with no problem.

Choose A Free Event Site: Parks work great, but make sure to check if you need reservations. If you have a big back yard, this can easily turn into a party site. Be creative, and think about how you can keep the kids busy and entertained. 

Have Free Entertainment: There are lots of fun and free party games, and entertainment does not need to cost anything. 

Make Your Own Pinata: You can easily make your own pinata for less than $5.

Make Your Own Birthday Cake: The more guest you have, then more you can save by baking your own goods.

Get Chips, Snacks and Soda at ALDI: Cheese Puffs $0.99, Chips $1.49 & Soda $0.59/2 Liter.

Buy Store Brand: No one cares what brand of cheese puffs they get, or what brand of flour you used to bake the cake. Shop at Aldi, and save big! If you want to splurge, save it for brand name soda on sale, as some people
Go Party Shopping at Dollar Tree: Dollar Tree has some great prices, but be careful about what you put in the cart. At $1 for a tablecloth, for 25 goody bags, or for 100 water balloons, this is a price that cannot be beat. However, candy and party favors can be found cheaper, when you buy bulk online or on clearance after big holidays.
are very brand loyal, when it comes to their drinks.

Buy Bulk: If you have three kids, you may very well be better off buying party favors and candy in bulk. Amazon has some great bulk party favors at reasonable prices, and if you spend more at first, you may very well save in the long run.

Get The Kids Involved: Even though you have a tight budget, your kids can still be involved and ask for a specific party theme. With a little creativity, a Pinata can be made out of papermache, the kids can make a birthday banner and blow up balloons. While you can save by having plain cups for the adults, you can buy themed cups and plates for the kids. Write the kids’ names on the cups, so that they can reuse them, instead of throwing them away and taking new cups again and again. 

Having a frugal party does not mean that you need to pinch pennies, and with a little creativity and planning you can easily throw a big party and stay within a $100 Party Budget. Do you have any tips on how to have a great party for a $100 party budget?

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