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My sweet friend Amy loves to save money AND throw a great party. Her baby girl Adelyn turned one a few weeks ago and it was a big affair. There were tons of little details, but she did it all on a budget, so I asked her to share her tips with us on frugal party planning. Here are lots of great ideas to get you started if you have a big celebration coming up, but not a budget to match!
About 4 months before our little girl’s party, I started brainstorming ideas. Once we decided on a theme and colors, I began making a list and watching for sales and coupons on items we needed.
Choose a theme
My biggest tip for a child’s birthday is to avoid choosing your theme around a licensed character. If you want Hello Kitty or Superman, you’ll pay a pretty penny for licensed tableware, decorations and other items. For our little girl, we chose a button theme because she loves pointing them out on everyone’s clothes. Think of something meaningful that you can work with!
Pick a color scheme
Even if decorations or favors don’t exactly revolve around your theme, as long as they fit in the color scheme, they will work. By settling on a theme and colors early, you can start to gather items as you find them on sale! Our colors were dark pastels (orange, green, teal, yellow and pink). I bought inexpensive Solo plates in a fun teal flower pattern that matched great and were almost free with coupons! Having two to five colors that coordinate will go a long way toward making your party feel cohesive and purposeful.
Decide on a Menu
I enjoy cooking and baking, so almost all of the food for the party was homemade. We recruited family members to help out in the kitchen and bought most of the fresh ingredients at a farmers market to save money. I carefully watched the weekly ads here on Southern Savers for non-perishable and longer shelf-life items, so I paid a fraction of the price by not waiting until the week of the party.
By watching after holiday sales at Target, we picked up a variety of little items for goodie bags and 70-90% off. After Valentine’s Day they had little cupcake shaped crayons for 20¢. I had my husband draw up a quick coloring page and for just a few cents these made fun favors.
Use what you have
A neighbor had some extra slate roof tiles that she was trying to get rid of. I grabbed one, a $2 spool of twine and some colorful chalk to make a unique birthday sign:
Now we have a great functional chalkboard that can be used for menus, art or anything else we want. The key is to get creative with items you already have. If you really need to buy a larger item, make sure it can be repurposed after the party!
Take advantage of daily deals and online codes
When it comes to daily deal sites, there can be a lot of fine print to wade through, but there are also some gems! Take advantage of photo, stationary or even cupcake deals to make planning your party a little cheaper.
I used a huge coupon code for Minted.com to create a personalized banner for the party. It was one of the first items I purchased and it helped determine the colors and direction for the decor. It was a big hit!
Thanks for sharing, Amy! Wasn’t this a great party? My favorite detail were the little button cookies. Do you have any tips for party planning on a budget?