Let’s face it Birthday parties are now an annual expense for parents and they don’t come cheap. Parents are competing to throw the best bash for their little ones and have forgotten the essence of good fashioned fun.

Yes, we all want to throw a birthday party that puts a smile on their faces but that doesn’t mean forking out extra cash, but rather being smart with the way you’re going to spend for their special day, including the gift of course.

If you’re looking for ways to make your child’s birthday party special but not cost you an arm and a leg then this list is just for you. We’ve put together some great ways to save, reduce costs and still give your child a party to remember.

1. Plan ahead

Start planning the birthday party at least 6 weeks in advance so you can look for cool, inexpensive ideas for the party and avoid spending money on last-minute purchases.

2. Pick the perfect time for a party

Timing can be important if you’re looking to save on parties. The suggested perfect time for a party is from 2 to 5 p.m. The reason behind this is because guests might not be expecting lunch or dinner at the party, so you only have to organise snacks and drinks. This isn’t always true depending on your family and friends, some still expect you break out the buffet so prepare for those too.

3. Go digital

Skip the fancy invitations and spending time and money putting them together. Next time you need to break the news, send your guests a free electronic invitation, there are plenty of templates online for you to quickly grab and edit and you’ll save what you’d normally spend on paper invites.

4. Throw your party at home

Save money on venue costs by throwing your kid’s party at home or at a free venue, such as a nearby park or a friend’s house.

5. Keep your guest list short

Your child may want to invite their entire class or grade but you have to make it clear to them that you have a limit on how many kids can attend.

Having the entire soccer team or netball team to your kid’s birthday party may seem like more fun, too many guests can turn the party into a very expensive affair. Only invite your kid’s close friends and account for family members to ensure fewer party costs and a special time for everyone at the party.

6. Bake your own birthday cake

Take your skills in the kitchen off the rack and get your baking tray out. Your cake may not turn out as gorgeous, or be as painless to get as the one you could have bought, but it will definitely be a lot cheaper.

Alternatively, you can assign this task to a friend or family member who has the time and will to do it while you can bake tasty cupcakes, which can cut costs and have more to go around.

7. Plan creative entertainment

If you cannot afford to hire an entertainer, a jumping castle or a petting zoo for your kid’s party, then focus on alternative entertainment. An affordable way to entertain kids is by setting up a craft station. You can provide craft materials, such as water paint, paper, glitter, playdough and cookie cutters. This will keep them busy for awhile and give them something creative to take home after the party.

8. Set out a party budget

Set up a budget of how much you’re willing to allocate to your child’s birthday and break it town into expense items. A rough guide would be the following:

  • Birthday gift
  • Food
  • Decore
  • Birthday outfits
  • Entertainment
  • Venue
  • Party favours

See how well you can spread your budget around this line items and if your overspending you’ll know where to reduce or cut based on the importance of the item to you.

9. Call in some favours

Tap your network at work, school, family or in the neighbourhood. See if they are able to borrow or use your things like outdoor furniture, playpens, jumping castles, trampolines, a pool and other activities for the kids to enjoy.

10. Plan for no cost activities

Instead of hired entertainment, like the magician or the clown, be prepared with a few free activities like these classic games you can play for next to nothing:

  • Freeze Dance
  • Keep-Up-the-Balloon
  • Musical Chairs
  • Hot Potato
  • Charades
  • Red Rover
  • Three-Legged Race
  • Duck, Duck, Goose
  • “Simon says”

For heavens sake, teach your kids to have fun wihtout an iPad for once.

Birthdays on a budget

While we all want our kids to enjoy their birthday party it is irresponsible to have one day of joy and then sitting with weeks or months worth of bills. It’s not fair on them and not fair to you. Plan your party within your bounds and make sure your child understands there are limitations.

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