As if it hasn’t already been made perfectly clear here on the blog, let me put it in plain words here: I love a good party. I remember stumbling across The TomKat Studio a few years back and falling completely in love with everything single thing Kim did. From the gorgeously designed dessert table displays to the sweet little details and her pretty printables, her magical touch convinced me that this was the only way that I was ever going to throw a party for my children.
I’d like to think that I’ve still kept up with that original goal, but along the way I’ve come to a realization: parties are stinkin’ expensive. Like dolla dolla bills, y’all. I just don’t have the cash flow as a stay at home momma to fund these huge shin-digs without getting a smidge creative. I figured that I also shouldn’t keep all of my tips and tricks for putting together a perfect party to myself, so I’m here today to share my Top 10 Tips for Budget-Friendly Parties!
1. DIY like its your job. No, seriously. Get ready to put some serious elbow grease into the production of your precious little one’s sweet soiree. The number one way I know that I can save some money is to create and make a lot of the decor, favors, and special little touches on your own. These are the areas that you’ll spend a good bulk of your money in party planning so its the first place I look to cut.
2. Get to cookin’. And bakin’. And cookin’ some more. Second biggest area to spend money on parties? The yummy food and desserts. There are loads of recipes to make your party stand out (I’ve even rounded up some of the best HERE), but let me give you a little smidge of a hint. Don’t wait until the day of your event to try out a brand spankin’ new-to-you recipe; try it out at least once before the big day. It’s no fun having a recipe fail the day of a party. You should just trust me from personal experience on this one. 😉
3. Printables POP! Are you looking for a quick way to make a big impact and carry a theme throughout your shin dig? Printables are hands-down the simplest and most effective way to make sure your party stands out. There are lots of free printables out there in blog land (I have quite a few I offer myself), but this is one area I’d spend a few dollars. If you’re in the market to purchase some perfect printables, I love the ones you’ll find at The TomKat Studio, Petite Party Studio, DimplePrints, and AndersRuff. You really can’t go wrong with any of these!
4. Bargain hunt like your life depends on it. In this age of the internet, there really is no excuse to not find ideas and projects that you can create for free or for dirt cheap. Spend a little quality time on your fave blogs or Pinterest to collect all of the awesomeness that you want to shower your little guy or girl with. I know I already mentioned finding free printables, but there are oodles of coupons and discounts out there. Also, make sure that you keep track of sales at local party supply stores. Why pay full price when you don’t have to?!?
5. Don’t be afraid to do the dirty work. For me, there is something inherently icky about thrift stores and dollar stores. Now I know this is completely just in my head, but I always feel like you might really have to dig at these places to find the hidden treasure and typically come out with a layer of dust covering your body. When you find that proverbial diamond in the rough though, it makes that extra shower for the day worth every second. Whether you’re searching for something large and in charge like an extra piece of furniture to paint or something small like extra serving bowls, you’re likely to find something usable at one of these places and at a price that doesn’t break the bank.
Dollar Store tickets made a perfect centerpiece at Luke’s Train Party.
6. Being a hoarder isn’t a bad thing. I always always scavenge my home the days leading up to a party to see what I already have on hand that could work for my party set-up. Whether it’s tissue poms from parties past or cocktail napkins from a fancy dinner we hosted, I make it a point to check before I start the shopping process.
Napkins and place mats are great for multiple events!
7. Consider white serving dishes an investment in the future. Hands down, my favorite part of getting married (other than the actual getting married to my best friend part) was getting to register for loads of white serving dishes. And you know what? I still love them. There is something super classic and neutral about stark white serving pieces that makes them able to coordinate with literally any party theme. Always be searching for deals and clearance white dishes to make sure you don’t drop a small fortune; Home Goods is one of my fave spots to shop for these event staples.
8. The early bird saves the moola. No joke here and it’s not exactly brain surgery: start planning as early as possible. This gives you more time to DIY, more time to bargain shop, more time to research deals and steals, just more time. I’ve been known to start the process of planning my kids parties as far as six months in advance. Granted, I’m not in full party planning mode during that entire time, but I’m able to find things along the way that will be helpful or coordinate with the end game.
9. Keep it simple sweetheart. There is absolutely no reason to kill yourself for a four year old’s birthday party unless Miss Martha Stewart herself is going to be in attendance. Know your limits and figure out what is really important to get finished and have your guests experience and what is just ‘bonus.’ If you get to the bonus stuff then great. If you don’t, no one else will know the difference. Simple parties can be just as beautiful and memorable as the grandiose galas; they’re just beautiful and memorable in a different way. The way where you still have all your hair on your head…
Sweet and simple tablescapes are just as pretty.
10. It’s a party, not your yearly exam; have fun! Finally — have some fun. Seriously. Don’t let the party take over your life and suck you dry. It’s super easy to fall into that vortex of party over-achieving where you hate the party by the time all is said and done. I’ve been there and my husband can verify that its sooo not pretty. It’s an event geared to your sweet kidlets and their little buddies having a blast so you should too.
Me & my sweet girl at her Secret Garden Party.
So there you have it, my Top 10 Tips for Budget-Friendly Parties! What do you think? Are there any you think I missed?
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