Tomorrow is our son’s first birthday party, and my wife and I (mostly my wife) have been busy with the party arrangements. Food has to be prepared and/or purchased, cupcakes need to be baked and decorated, and it seems like a hundred other things have to be done as well.
On the one hand, I can’t help but think how the traditional 1st birthday party is kind of overdone. The birthday boy doesn’t even know how to say the word “birthday” let alone comprehend its meaning. In the grand scheme of things, Tyler isn’t going to remember this birthday.
On the other hand, I know that this party is as much for my wife and me as it is for Tyler. Looking back, it’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. It is definitely something worth celebrating.
Having A Good Party On A Budget
Now, this post wouldn’t be complete with at least a little bit of personal finance mixed in. So let’s discuss how to put on a good first birthday party without breaking the bank.
1. Avoid party stores and pre-made party supplies.
Have you looked at the price of birthday party supplies at the store recently? First of all, if you already have a theme in mind it can be difficult to find what you want at the store. Second, themed party supplies at the store are expensive.
We wanted to have a “Very Hungry Caterpillar” party since that is his favorite book. Stores simply don’t carry party supplies with that theme, and party supplies online were outrageously priced. But if you do a google search you can find hundreds of do-it-yourself party ideas that are very inexpensive.
So I designed invitations on the computer and printed them myself. We printed some neat decorations and found lots of neat ideas, including how to make a caterpillar out of cupcakes.
2. Buy paper and plastic products at dollar stores.
We’ve found that our area dollar store is the place to go for colored table clothes, napkins, plates, utensils, etc. The same items at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s always cost at least two or three times as much.
3. Work with friends and family to prepare the food.
This is another thing where it pays to go the do-it-yourself route. Buying an already-made meat or veggie tray at the grocery store is quite expensive. It costs a lot less to buy the individual items and do the arranging by yourself. I understand that this would be a lot for one person to do alone, so ask friends and family to help out.
4. Keep in mind the purpose of the party.
Too many people obsess over party details and try to make everything absolutely perfect. But the point of the party isn’t about the detail of your decorations or the way the cake looks. It’s about family and friends getting together to celebrate a special occasion.
This morning we made our caterpillar cake, and are quite pleased with how it turned out. I thought I’d share a picture.
Your Party Tips
Do you have any party planning tips? Share your story in the comments section below.