Planning a Birthday Party on a Budget

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Celebrating birthdays can typically be fun and a great time to spend with friends and family. Birthday parties are a great way to do so, however, they typically come with a price. Birthday parties can be expensive to plan for, but that's not always the case, for there are many ways to cut back. Here are a few tips on how to throw an affordable and fun birthday party.

Deciding on a Theme
Picking out a theme can help make the planning easier because you have a guide of what to buy when it comes to decorations, activities, invites, and the venue. When thinking of ideas for possible themes, try to factor in the age of whoever's birthday it is, does it fit in with the weather or season, and what would be eventful for you and your guests. Try picking out a theme that can work for your budget as well, some may require you to splurge a little while others can be done with a minimal set budget.

Picking Out a Venue
One huge chunk for planning a birthday party is determining where it'll be held. If you're on a tight budget, consider having the party at your home or a friend/relative's home. This way your main priority is decorating, whereas if it were to be at a venue, you're looking at rental fees. If you have room in your budget to have it in a venue, try to look into deals at that venue or have the party on a weekday where they may have special ongoing rates.

Determining the Guest List
When looking into who to invite to a birthday party, take in consideration different factors, such as the venue size, and if it can accommodate the number of guests you're thinking. Try to make sure the guest list is comprised of people who you want to celebrate with and people you're close with. If you're planning the party for someone else (such as a child or friend), give them a limit of how many people they can invite, and be realistic about what you can afford.

Party Invitations
After determining the guest list, figure out how you should let guest know about the party. Nowadays, people typically stick with the digital route of sending out party invites. Evite has hundreds of invitations you can choose from, and you can gather your guest s emails and send them invites that way. There are plenty of online templates you can use that are free (some may have a small fee depending on the design), and you could print them out if you'd rather go the physical copy route, or if you want your child to hand invitations out at school. Another option is for social media users, if you are friends with the people you want to invite to your party on Facebook, think about making an event page, where you can post the party information and guests can post and reply to it through the page.

Planning for what type of food you'd like to have at the party is determined by different things, such as when the party will start and how long it's going on. If your party is early in the day, you can opt for appetizers and hors d'oeuvres that guests can eat periodically. If you have the party later in the day, guests may assume that they'll have dinner there. If you make the food yourself, be sure to give yourself time to make everything beforehand, or depending on your budget, buy party platters where all you'd have to do is set it up. Regardless, be sure to get enough food so every guest is satisfied.

Birthday Cake
If you don't mind rolling up their sleeves and working in the kitchen, make the birthday cake yourself. You don't have to get super crafty and use fondant or do any crazy designs, just get a box mix and icing from the store. Many grocery stores have premade cakes availaboe for use as well, and some may have bakers that can write whatever on the cake for you as well. If there's room in your budget to do a custom cake, look into different options that won't break your bank.

Party Supplies and Decorations
When it comes to buying party supplies and decorations, the dollar store will ultimately become your best bet and help you stay on budget. They typically have utensils, plates, tablecloths, party favors, and more that you can use. There's also balloons that they may have prefilled, or you can buy a pack for cheap and fill them up with the help of friends. There's also plenty of DIY decorations you can look into on Google or Pinterest, if you don't mind getting crafty. Consider reusing decorations from previous parties and saving any leftover decorations you can possibly use in the future.

Keeping your guests occupied throughout the party is also a huge aspect of a birthday party. If you're catering to kids, have different party games they can play together, like a scavenger hunt or pin the tail on the donkey. If you have a theme, look into games and activities that may go with that theme. If the theme requires guests to dress up, set up a photobooth where they can show off their outfits. Get a project board from the dollar store and cut a square out, decorate it, and have it set up where guests can use it for when they take pictures. There are also printable games that are free online, like word searches and word scrambles, time guests to see who figures them out the quickest and offer a small prize. Be sure to have music playing at the party as well, curate a playlist or use one from Spotify or Apple Music and pair with a Bluetooth speaker to get the party going.

There are plenty of ways to have a birthday party without having to splurge too much, and still have a great time overall.

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