It’s that time of year again! Princess’s 6th Birthday is right around the corner.
Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember that last year I did a week long series on the preparation for Princess’s party:
Birthday Week (in a Birthday Month)
It’s the Thought that Counts (Birthday Present Philosophy)
Making Invitations in Microsoft Word
Birthday Decorating on a Dime
Barbie Birthday Cake
Just Hit It (Making a Pinata)
Birthday Fun and Games
If you read all of that, you will have pretty much the rundown for this year’s party! Although we’ve since been to birthday parties held at McDonald’s Playland, Gymnastics Centers, Chuck-e-Cheese, and even the indoor climbing center at the local YMCA, when I spoke to Princess about having her party at the local nursery school again (for a charge of $20 to use the room) she was enthusiastic and asked me “can we decorate the goody bags again and have a Barbie Princess cake and Pinata?”.
The final (frugal!) preparations are thus:
I bought 2 boxes of very fancy looking print your own invitations from the dollar store. These looked like wedding invitations with vellum overlays that had colorful butterflies and organza bows! I figured that $2 for 20 invitations was a good deal. The text read that Princess was inviting them to her royal 6th birthday celebration etc etc etc. Total $2
At the bottom of the invitation, as is my custom, I specified “please limit your gifts to $10 or less”. I have no idea if the local moms think I am cheeky, weird, insane or what-but personally I REFUSE to spend more than $10 on a gift for another child (and frequently with my gift box spend a heck of a lot less) and don’t want the mommy guilt of knowing that someone else spent more than that on my child’s birthday present.
(As a funny side note-when I did this last year and invited all my girlfriends kids – when it came to our holiday party they all said “We agreed to only spend $10 on the kid’s gift’s this year, right?”, which no one actually did-I had just said it on that one party invitation, and they all just had gratefully accepted it as a generalized price limit! Whoohoo score one for Jenn in the subversive frugal neighborhood revolution! They never even knew what hit them. Now if I could just work them down to $5. . . . )
For Pinata fillings I also hit the dollar store. I bought a bag of bouncy balls (that should be fun when it breaks open) 2 bags of candy necklaces (that got big oooohhhhs from Princess) 2 packs each of “bendy rabbits” and mini Disney Princess Frisbees, 3 assorted bags of candy and 1 big box of stickers. The Pinata itself is made from a balloon, old newspaper and flour and water paste, so that is basically free. I also sprung for a package of cellophane goody bags-Total $12
For a craft instead of decorating their own treat bags we decided to go with “decorate your own crown”. I bought 3 sheets of white poster board (2 for $1) and picked up 3 paper crowns from Burger King to use as stencils (I had to have one each for Buddy and Princess to wear around the house, and then one to use as the stencil-if I just got one, it would have been fought over and disappeared!). I only stenciled 3 of the weird pointy things instead of all 5-they were enough of a pain to cut out. I also bought stick on heart jewels (2 cards) and several sheets of shiny stickers and foam flower stickers at the dollar store. I’ll bring markers, crayons and tape from home to complete the decoration. Total $6.50
I bought two bags of Disney Princess Balloons at the Dollar store-12 total. I will blow those up (not helium) so the kids can kick them around, throw them at each other, rub them on their hair and stick them to the wall, etc etc. They actually seem to have more fun with them at this age when they are down on the floor. Total-$2
Since we are old enough to play a game now, we are going to do a version of “pin the tail on the donkey”. We are going to “pin the crown on the princess”. I reserved one piece of the poster board, and I will find a clip art picture of a princess and use the Rasterbator (ok, I KNOW that sounds filthy. I didn’t name the thing. It is a program that can take a photo file and print it out into a huge picture. So you can take a picture and print it out into a mural but all in 8X11 sheets) to enlarge it to the same size as the poster board. Then I’ll cut and paste just the crown portion of the clip art onto some paper, print that part out multiple times and Viola! A Game! Total-FREE (well, ok, $.50 for the poster board, but I counted that cost above)
For the Barbie cake, I will use a doll that I bought through LTD last fall in a set of 8, that cost me about $2, and a box of cake mix (strawberry) to make the skirt, plus an entire bag of powdered sugar for the skirt etc. I will offer lemonade as a drink and ice cream. I did pick up cups and forks at the dollar store, but have purple plates and napkins left over from a baby shower/bunco that we did in January. I’m going to use a white tablecloth from home for the table (why buy a cheap plastic one when I can use a real one I already have?) I already have some cans of Diet Coke and Sierra Mist at home that I’ll bring in for any of the parents that get thirsty. I’ll consider those already bought and therefor free. Total-$9
I also have purple streamers and two shades of purple curling ribbon left over from the baby shower, so I’ll use that for decorations at the party. Total-Free.
So, the grand total for Princess’s 6th Birthday Extravaganza is $51.50!
I think that is pretty darn frugal, if I do say so myself.
As you look at my plans, you will notice that I am trading my time and effort in for a savings in money. Because I am a Stay at Home Mom, I can do that. As a matter of fact, that is how most SAHMs can afford to lose that second income, we save money by using our “extra” time we have gained by being at home to do a lot of things that we never had time to do while working.
But I realize that different folks have different abilities and priorities. Some people might not have the time (or ability, or desire) to make a cake, or do a home-made pinata. Only you can evaluate your life and make those decisions.
However, I don’t think that ANY child needs a birthday party that costs in the hundreds of dollars. Most children still appreciate simple pleasures the most-and to be quite frank, your time, your love and your presence are what they really want more than anything else. And those things don’t cost a dime.