Guest post by Ashleigh.
For my daughters 2nd birthday I wanted to do something special, rather than a family birthday. I don’t have a lot of money and she really doesn’t have many friends so I tried to make it as thrifty as I could. We decided to go with an Elmo theme because she LOVES Elmo and its one of the only words she can say. So here are some of the things I did to throw her an Elmo Birthday party for cheap.
1. Decorations: I used the Elmo toys that we had lying around for decoration. Price = FREE
2.Birthday Pictures: I had my sister in law take some pictures of the birthday girl about 5 days before the party. If you don’t know someone with a nice camera, then use your own camera and just make sure you go out either in the morning or evening. These were taken in the middle of the day but we had to find a shady spot, which wasn’t easy. Pictures turn out so much better if you and the subject can be in the shade. Lighting is key when it comes to getting a nice quality picture. Price= FREE
3. Invites: I played around with the pictures and made my own invitations. Then I ordered them at costco and used white cardstock and glue to make the invites. Price= 5.50
4. Entertainment / Activity: For the party, we decided to have it at a park. We set up the party at a pavilion and for the entertainment the kids could play at the playground. Price= FREE
5. Food: Since we got all those Oscar Meyer hotdogs on sale recently, we decided to have a BBQ. Food was the most expensive part of the party. I wanted to stick with Elmo-ish colors so this was our spread.
* 24 Hotdogs- Free from albertsons deal
* 24 Hotdog buns- $ 2.75 at costco
* Strawberries-$ 2.75
* Grapes-$ 2.99
* watermelon- $2.75
* Goldfish crackers– $ 1.00 (on sale!)
* 2 cases red hug punch- $1.76 ( I dont know what these are called, this is just what the receipt says)- They are shaped like little barrels and are super cheap!
* ketchup & mustard- brought from home
We also asked family members to bring something. This is what they brought.
* 2 bags of chips = Free
* veggie trey & dip= Free
* tortilla chips and salsa for the adults. =Free
* water= Free
6.Dessert: Instead of making a cake I decided to make cupcakes. I made one elmo cupcake for the birthday girl and for everyone else I made rainbow cupcakes. Purchasing something like this at a bakery could cost me somewhere around $15-$20 bucks or more, but doing it myself saved a lot of money.
20 cupcakes-$1.50 (cake + mix on sale!)
Ice cream- $3.99.
7.Plates/ napkins and silverware: I wanted cute plates and napkins and found those red plates and pokadot napkins
(pictured above with decorations) at Target. I couldn’t resist. Price- around $7.00
8.Balloons– I purchased 5 balloons and paid extra for the helium that lasts longer. They said they should last for 5 days and sure enough they did. I used these for the pictures I took earlier in the week and then again at the birthday to add some color. Price- $5.75
Most of this was done without couponing, so imagine what you could do if you planned in advance and only shopped the deals.
9. Goodie bags : Back to school sales and post Halloween sales are a great time to look for party favor items. Stock up on crayons or different knick-knacks from the holidays. Then when the time comes you can have cute little goodie bags to give to the kids who come to the birthday party. I didn’t do a goodie bag because she is only 2 years old and we had mostly family attend the party.
Total Price for the birthday party= $37.74. I always say that throwing a party for under $50 bucks is pretty good. My little 2 year old loved everything and all and all it was a great success. One thing I loved about doing it this way was there wasn’t a lot of stress going into it and the clean up was a breeze.
How do you go about spending less on parties? Do you have any helpful hints for all the happy money savers out there?