If you haven’t read Surviving Kid Birthdays Part 1 yet, you can read it HERE.
Now that we have the place and the cake covered, let’s talk a little about food. The obviously least expensive thing here would be to schedule the party either before lunch or after lunch and just serve cake.
But what if you want to serve food? Here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to get started:
Hot Dogs – We’ve learned the hard way that the easiest thing to do here is to cook them the night before or morning of and wrap them (bun and all) in foil. Then you can reheat them in the oven and bring them hot to the party! Serve with ketchup and mustard (which you have plenty of in your stockpile that you got for free!) and some chips.
Sandwiches – These are very easy to make beforehand, and you can even use a cookie cutter to shape them into a shape that matches the birthday theme.
Fruit and Veggies – A small veggie platter (that you put together) with ranch is a great addition to any party. Instead of having a fruit bowl (which can get pretty messy), try making fruit kabobs. Get small skewers (you can find them at Walmart or Target) and put 5 pieces of fruit on each one. The kids can eat it with their hands, and you don’t have a lot of wasted fruit.
Drinks – Getting bottles or cans of cokes for everyone can get pricey pretty quickly. What we typically do is use our big water cooler and put a couple of cans of powdered lemonade in. Sometimes you can find a great deal on Capri Sun or bottled water right around birthday time, so you could use that as well.
Remember, there’s no rule on how food at a birthday party has to be done. Use whatever you were able to get on sale, and know that more than likely no one will remember what you served (or didn’t serve) anyway! 🙂
The Gifts and Party Favors
Whether you are throwing a party for your kid, or going to a party for someone else’s kid, the gifts can get super pricey! Here are a few recommendations for minimizing gift expenses.
Use your extra ECBs and RRs! Match those up with a toy sale and you can score big! Last year CVS had a weekend where their toys were on sale buy 1, get TWO free!! I had several ECBs to burn from all of the money-makers on Thanksgiving Day, so I got three toys for FREE! I used two at Christmas and one for my son’s birthday this year.
Target – Twice a year Target has a HUGE toy clearance (up to 90% off!!) Stock up on toys and games during these sales and you will never have to run to the store the day of a birthday party and buy an overpriced item! I’m pretty sure the next big Target toy sale is coming up in July.
Amazon – Amazon constantly has great toy deals, and especially right around Christmas when they are trying to get rid of their stock. The ones that are exceptional I try to post here on Surviving The Stores (FYI those posts will be much more plentiful around Christmas). I typically shoot to get at least 70% off on my Amazon purchases. You can look through all of the Toys that are on sale at Amazon HERE
Carrie over at Money Saving Methods just found a great deal on Amazon where she got 4 Polly Pocket sets and a Barbie Playset all for $32! That’s FIVE little girl birthday presents for the cost of one! Pretty sweet!
Party Favors – Besides the obviously least expensive option of NOT giving out party favors (which will probably be thrown away anyway), here are some inexpensive party favor ideas… bubbles, sidewalk chalk, jelly bean bags, dollar store items, Oriental Trading Company products, stamp carving. Be creative – just about anything can work as a party favor.
If you want to splurge a little on the party favors, then there are plenty of websites out there that will give you some great ideas for party favors that the kids can make there at the party and bring home with them (just do a search for “creative birthday party favors”). A couple of my favorite ideas are tye-dyed t-shirts, and painted planters with a flower or herbs.
Those are just a few of my ideas, but I’d really LOVE to hear your ideas! Leave a comment with any links to your birthday ideas on your blog or just leave a comment with your ideas!