Friday, May 18, 2012

$25 Budget on a Birthday Party? No way.

I set out to make a 5th Birthday Party without breaking the bank. After several years of spending more money than I'd like to admit, I was determined to fight consumption with some creativity. So when I told my friends, "Yah, my goal is to keep Howie's party under $25," they were like, "Wait, what?!" Some thought I was crazy for even making this a goal (these people are super good about not overspending and don't even see the challenge) and the others thought I was crazy because, really, how was I going to do that?!

Well, we almost made it in under $25.  I missed the mark by $1.  And here is how...

Howie wanted a CAR party.  Thanks goodness since we already have like a million car toys and that would be an easy enough theme to pull stuff for.  Setting up a few areas of the house with cars, cars, cars, the stage was set.

The cost cutting went like this:
1. Resisted buying personalized invitations and instead used my new friend, Evite.
2. Kept the party to 5 friends (a really wise person informed me of the birthday party rule years ago: invite the number of kids equivalent to the age of the child- genius)
3. Party time was 3:00-4:30 pm, thus avoiding any type of real meal purchase and we got away with just serving cake.
4. We used stuff from home to make decorations and games.  See pictures below...the racing flag was created with a clothe napkin and Sharpies, the Pin-the-Car-on-the-Road game was made with construction paper and we did a roll the dice (tissue box) and race to the end game (foam blocks).

So, what did we spend money on?  The list please.
  1. Homemade Cake of cake mix, 1 coke (for my egg-free recipe) and frosting ($7)
  2. Party Favors of restaurant car and crayon kits (see pix above) which I made from scrap fabric, but bought new cars and crayons to go in them ($7.50)
  3. Car themed paper plates for the cake ($3)
  4. Small bottled waters ($3)
  5. PDF file of car pictures from Etsy, which provided decorations for party favor bags, cake, etc. ($4)
  6. Balloons ($1.50)
And was it a success?  Was Howie just as excited as last year when I spent gobs of money on a gymnastics party at the gym?  Let's see, measurable outcomes... hmmm...  
  • Jumping up and down was about the same.
  • Rapid heart rate beating from his chest at the guests arrived was about the same.
  • Mom: "Howie, did you like your car party?"  Howie: "Yah."  Mom: "Did you like it as much as your gymnastics party?"  Howie: "I likeded both."

Case closed.

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