If you search online for tips to save money on hosting parties, most sites and blogs are going to tell you to do it yourself. Spending the time to make things and do the food yourself is the easiest way to save money. But you also have to realize that your time is worth something too, and spending loads of timing DIYing may not be the best way for you to save money.
I used to do everything myself. Food, decorations, party games, loot bags, invitations. Everything. When I had one kid it was easy, after the second I started doing a little less myself, and now with three, I have cut back even more. I’ll buy the fruit tray from the grocery store because I enjoy doing the crafty things like making the pinata. For me, right now, it’s all about balance of saving money and time. And after this last birthday party, I know why many people rent spaces to host the party. The amount of cleaning up after my house was invaded by a dozen 5 year olds was enough to put an end to that many little kids at once! Future parties will be smaller or not in our house that’s for sure!
So, would you like to see all the DIYs I did do for my daughter’s 3rd birthday and my son’s 5th? Check them out:
My daughter’s 3rd birthday was a Frozen theme, and we went a little overboard with the decorations and games. Thankfully I had some help from my mom, and the grocery store made the sandwich tray, which saved me loads of time!
The table set up was full of little notes of the movie, from snowballs, to chocolate hugs (because Olaf loves warm hugs) and chocolate kisses (to melt a frozen heart). I made little signs for some of the food, just to show how they related to the movie.
My mom got in on the fun by making some snow flakes to hang all over the house. We had them on the doors, windows and in the basement where the games were happening. This saved me a ton of time, since I didn’t have to cut any of them out, and she even hung them up for me! We played Pin the Carrot Nose on Olaf, Do You Want To Build a Snowman (the kids wrapped white streamers around each other and used hats, scarves and gloves to dress the snow men up, and the birthday girl picked the best one), and Destroy Elsa’s Ice Castle (they threw styrofoam “snowballs” at some clear plastic cups stacked up like a castle).
One big money saver was that I made the cake myself. I arranged cupcakes in a shape to look like Olaf, and decorated it with cookies, licorice, candies and pretzels. I think it turned out pretty well!
Everyone had a blast, my son said that the Do You Want To Build A Snowman game was the best game ever (he got to be a snowman!) so we will have to do versions of that game at future parties for sure!
For my son’s party, we ordered pizza and I bought a fruit tray for the kids, which really cut back on my prep work! I spent the days leading up to the party making a mini pinata for each kid (which was kinda a lot of work!) but it was only 2 layers of paper, and the kids helped to paint them. His party was a Skylander theme, so these pinatas became Chompies, and the kids got to stomp on them to break them open, to reveal an explosion that was needed to defeat Kaos in a Pin the Explosion on Kaos game (don’t you just love that you can create a “pin the ____ on_____ game for just about any theme!) Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of that part!
They also played a version of musical chairs, but they had to stop and stand on an element (there are 8 elements in the games) instead of a chair, which I just drew on construction paper. The kids also collected chocolate coins and little burgers (life sources!) as they played the games. They had a blast, but it was very very loud.
Loot bags for both parties were simple and inexpensive treats (thank goodness my kids are born near Halloween, lots of cheap treats in stores!) and dollar store items. Obviously both parties could have been much simpler, which would have been even cheaper, and easier on me too. But I do love throwing parties, and its only once a year, so I suck it p for a few crazy weeks!
Next things will be more low-key for the older kids, since we will have a 1st birthday to plan, and I like to do those up even bigger 🙂