Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I'm sorry to interrupt the frugal kids party tips but today is a very important day!
9 years ago today I married my high school sweetheart! Today he surprised me with breakfast in bed- eggs, bacon, biscuits, and hashbrowns! He has blessed me with 2 beautiful kids and everything I could ask for. I love you, Michael!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Frugal Kids Party Tips- Part 2

Say you are having a Dora or Bob the Builder party, buying all the theme plates, cups, and napkins can really add up. Instead, just buy the napkins and use coordinating solid colors for the plates and cups. Balloons go a long way when decorating! Buy a pack of latex balloons at the dollar store and then take the balloons to the supermarket to have them fill them- considerably cheaper. Also consider renting a helium tank.

Skip the party store for partyware unless there is something “specifc” you are looking for. Party stores can be expensive!! Instead, try the Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart. Their packs of solid plates, cutlery, cups, and even plastic tablecloths are $1.

For her daughter’s circus party, my friend Leigh-Ann and I crafted a fabulous circus tent in her living room by using long rolls of primary colored plastic tablecloths. Each color was tied to a hoop that had been suspended from the ceiling in the middle of the room. The rolls of color were then pulled and tacked to the walls to make a “circus tent” effect. I wish I had a picture, but I don't :(

Use resources you find at home. We had a Barnyard Bash for my son’s 1st birthday. My neighbors had just gotten a new washer and dryer so I asked if I could use the boxes. I painted them with red latex paint red and duct-taped them together to make a barn that the kids could play in. I then brought our rocking horse to the yard and threw out some hay to make a barnyard.

Send them home with a bang: Memorable Favors
Consider a thoughtful favor gift instead of 10 tiny “cheap” toys that the parents will throw away.
Examples: Swim party- $1.99 towels from Target and sew on a cute ribbon or put their names on it – use resources you have!
Music or Gymboree party- $1.50 plastic tambourines from the party store with each child’s name with paint pens. The children can use the tambourines during the party to dance and sing, and then take them home after the party.
Make and take favors are great! Pick an activity such as decorating a foam picture frame or canvas bag for the kids to craft then they can take home and use. At our parties we bring a photo printer and take a quick picture of all the kids together and then print them off so the kids can take them home in their frame. Oriental trading has lots of themed crafts that cost as low as 34 cents a piece to make. The craft doubles as their party favor! There are always sales for free shipping on orientaltrading.com.

Grocery stores like Kroger will put their candy bars on sale 3 for $1. Get candy bar with a top wrapper that comes off (Hershey’s, Mr. Goodbar) and re-do the wrapper with the child’s party information and a “thank you for coming” note. You can find some fabulous wrappers that won't break your budget from Etsy seller, Delightful Invites.
Instead of filling goodie bags, stuff a small prize into balloons and blow them up. Tie off with colorful curly ribbon and hand out the balloons as the children leave. This can double as a decoration!

Next: Food and Activities

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Frugal Kids Party Tips- Part 1

Last fall, my MOPS group asked me to speak about tips to throwing a budget birthday. Here is a compiled list of ideas I have received from friends along with my personal tips. If you have any tried and true money saving tips to plan a party, send them my way! Happy planning!

My first tip is to plan ahead!
The only reason I say this is so that you aren’t overwhelmed and you are able to start buying supplies slowly and when they are on sale. If you wait until the last few days, you risk having to pay full price and don’t have time to look around for alternatives at different stores. I love to hit the sales after a holiday. When I was building my costume supply for my princess and disco diva parties for the company, I hit Target right after Halloween. They marked all the costumes and supplies to 80% off! Suprisingly, I shopped at the right time because they still had good costumes left. I bought $20 costumes for $4 each. Last year, I hit a little late, but the costumes were marked 90% off, so I got one costume for $2.50!
I also just bought little crayon packs from Wal-Mart for $1 for 20 pieces and Hannah Montana candy bracelets for 75 cents a bag. You can get candy and toy fillers for a Pinata in the Halloween or Easter clearance that will save you up to 50-75%!
I love to hit the dollar spot at Target or the Dollar tree and put it away for later. Don’t expect it to be there when you need it because it won’t be there! If you are having a princess or fairy party, buy a tiara or a set of fairy wings for each party guest from the dollar store. They can use it at the party for a costume and then take it home as a wonderful party favor. Robyn Bomar from Mix, Mingle, and Glow shows us ideas on how to use items from Target's dollar spot for a party!

Location, Location, Location!

Use your house, pick a park, or use someone’s backyard so you don’t have to pay extra for the venue. Many parks have pavilions that are free to use- contact your local park system. Also, many people have clubhouses that are free to use as a homeowner. This is great because you don’t have 10 birthday kids and their parents messing up your house.

First Impressions: The Invitations

Make you own or have the birthday child help decorate them. Photo invitations are also an option. 4x6 pictures are only 15-19cents to print! At Snapfish, the 5x7 prints are only $1 each when you ship them to your nearest Walgreens- you can pick them up after only one hour! However, if you give yourself a couple of days, Wal-Mart will do free in store shipping for their 5x7 prints and they only cost 58 cents a piece!!
Consider Evite.com. This is totally free and you also might get a better RSVP response.
Coming soon.... frugal tips on decorations, favors, food, and party activities.