We recently celebrated our son’s first birthday, and it was such a fun day.
When he was about six months old, I started thinking about how we would celebrate his first year of life. The first thing I did was head straight to Pinterest to pin everything on first birthdays. However, I quickly realized that having a “Pinterest birthday party” was going to be pretty costly. So, I sat down with a pencil and paper, and figured out how we could have a birthday party to remember on a budget!
The first thing I realized was that Dollar Tree is your best friend when planning a party.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have always turned to Dollar Tree for greeting cards, supplies to make seasonal/holiday wreaths, and wrapping supplies such as gift bags, wrapping paper, and tissue paper. Don’t be concerned about purchasing high-quality paper goods for your child’s party. Most of the kids probably won’t even use a plate, and guess what? Kids don’t care if their plate is cute or not. They’re too focused on the food that’s on it or what’s going on at the table next to them. For our son’s party, I bought black plates and green plates, and then layered them to make an interesting visual effect. I also snagged napkins, tablecloths, utensils, drinking cups, and small paper cups to serve berries in.
Let’s talk about decor. I love decorating. I love buying decorations, I love making decorations, I just love it all. The theme of the party was Where the Wild Things Are, and I had a hard time not going over the top when I was deciding on decorations for the party. I knew that I wanted to splurge on a balloon banner.
I think it’s important to note what you really want to splurge on, and then factor the splurge into your budget so you can work around it.
I ordered the balloon banner off of Etsy, and I was so in love with it. Check it out below.
The two dot banners and wreath I made from 50% off craft paper from Hobby Lobby. I purchased the hula hoop and greenery from Dollar Tree. Add $3 to my bill, please! I already had the gold spray paint that I covered the hula hoop with, and ordered all my favorite pictures of our son from Walgreens, using a 20% off coupon. Utilize your resources here, people! Now is the time to challenge yourself and have some fun trying to save money.
Two of the decorations that I spent the most time on were the life-size figures of Max and the monster from Where the Wild Things Are. These two decorations cost me absolutely nothing. I had large cardboard boxes, and an arsenal of craft paint to help the figures come to life. Something that has saved me lots of money over my crafting years is having a well-stocked craft box or rather, boxes. I rarely have to run to the store and spend money on paint, craft paper, ribbon, paintbrushes, tape, hot glue, or any of the like, because I’ve kept my supplies from past projects in good condition.
Since our son was only a year old, and most of the kids attending the party were under or soon to be one, I decided to just throw some toys out in the backyard, and have Where the Wild Things Are movie playing in the living room. I also gave everyone the option to play in the playroom. Essentially, I spent nothing on entertainment. The babies entertained themselves and everything went by without a hitch!
When it came to food, I knew I wanted to keep it simple. I offered homemade cupcakes, watermelon, and berry cups, with lemonade and water for drinks. Instead of spending an arm and a leg on a cake for the guests, a smash cake for our son, and cookies, I simply made the cupcakes myself, and placed themed cupcake toppers into them. I figured up that I spend about $40 on the food, however, $19 of that was spent on a 24-count cupcake pan. Yes, you read that right. I can now cook 24 cupcakes, at the same time! Run, don’t walk to Wal-Mart, and get yourself one, too!
To wrap things up, just remember that no matter how fancy, how many decorations, or how much money you spend on your child’s party, all that matters is that they have fun and spend quality time with family and friends.
Don’t put pressure on yourself to make everything perfect. Honestly, my favorite part of the party was after our son was done demolishing his cupcake, I stripped him down to his diaper and let him play in the playroom with all of his friends. I will never forget the look of happiness and contentment on his face in that moment.
I hope that you have a moment like that at the next birthday party you put together, too!