Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Boys Birthday Party on a Budget
This year has been an odd one. Money has never been tighter but we are still trying to give our kids everything we have promised them. This month it is our son’s seventh birthday party. Months ago he told us he wanted to have a Star Wars birthday party. Great, we can do that. We started saving money, and buying things we would need to have the party at home.
We have spent month’s slowly buying items for the grab bags, a few dollars here, and a few dollars there. We have spent way more than we expected and still don’t feel like we are ready. We have 24 grab bags and don’t think it is going to be enough. We have 20 kids confirmed and a possible 16 more. My son wants to invite his friends from his sister’s daycare. He showed up and gave one kid an invite. The other kids saw it so now I feel I have to give them invites as well. That would be another 20 kids invited. I am kind of scared to invite them, but our rule is not to invite one of a group but the entire group. No child should feel unwanted or unwelcome. If it comes to more kids then 24 we will just give smaller grab bags. All the kids will not get the same things but that is ok.
Last year we invited over 60 kids and had 18 show-up at the party, most of them our neighbour’s kids. Quite a few of them were unexpected. But that was ok because we planned for 20 kids and parents. Some of them did not have gifts and that was ok with us as well. One little girl asked if she could still be at the party even if she did not have a gifts, of course. We know what it is like to not have money to buy a gift. We don’t invite lots of kids for lots of gifts. We want the kids to be there having a good time, all the kids not just the ones that can bring gifts.
This year we only invited about 30 kids and most of them are coming. Strangely enough we actually had parents from the party last year ask if they could come to this one even though our kids are not in the same class this year. I guess that is a good sign that people like our idea of a party. If the weather is nice it is outside in the complex’s park that is so nicely placed right out our back door. We have crafts, games and just let the kids run around and have fun. There are no fancy tables, just Mexican blankets on the ground creating a picnic area. It is about fun and letting the kids be kids.
It is a good thing we have a small freezer. When the local No Frills had their dollar sale we bought lots of hotdogs and froze them. We were able to buy three packages for the usual price of two.
We found a great meat store, with a good price on lean hamburger. I have found it saves us a lot of money to make our own burgers instead of buying pre-made frozen burgers. With an $11 package of hamburger, eggs, some bread crumbs and seasoning I can make 24 adult sized burgers, even more when I am making kids sized burgers. It just takes a little time and effort, and not much of that really.
It was funny last year at our son’s party the adults could not get enough of the burgers I made. A couple of people said they had never had burgers like that before. They just never made their own. Homemade burgers are much better then mass-produced frozen burgers. All we have to do now is buy the buns and make the cup cakes.
Every year we make dozens of cup cakes and then let the kids put their own toppings on them. We make sure there are lots of different candies and sprinkles to put on the cup cakes. It leads to some very interesting cup cakes, and a lot of happy kids.
We are keeping the food simple and easy. The only decorations we have this year are balloons and streamers left over from last year. The kids are to bring their lightsabres if they have them. If not we can share. We do have a big table full of crafts for the kids to do. Games are set up inside. We have the Clone war movie if it rains.
It is going to be a good party even if we end up with more kids than expected. They will have fun and that is what it is all about.
The other good thing is that by doing the party the way we do it, we can afford to. We don’t have to pay for a space, or food. We are not looking at $12 to $15 per kid so they can bowl or watch a movie. We can have 30 or more kids and spend between a $100 to $150 instead of that for 10 kids.