Budgeting for an Affordable Kid’s Birthday Party

Like Christmas, birthdays come with a lot of expectations. But you might be surprised to learn they don’t come from your children. Birthday parties often become contests between parents as they try to show off the most thoughtful, trendy, or fun event for the neighbourhood.

You can easily get sucked into this competition when your kid’s birthday rolls around. Some people even go into debt to impress their kids and other parents. Before you spend all your savings to organize the best party ever, check out these tips.

Don’t Spend Savings or Dip into Credit

If you put a lot of pressure on yourself as a parent in these situations, you can convince yourself to do some financially risky things. You might dip into your emergency fund or put a costly birthday activity on your line of credit.

After all, what is a personal line of credit good for if not to help you afford extra things? How you use a line of credit may be personal, but financial advisors don’t recommend using it for fun spending.

Personal loans and lines of credit are for urgent and essential expenses you can’t delay and afford by saving over time. They’re emergency safety nets to help when unexpected expenses arrive in your budget, like a parking fine or car repair.

What about your savings? While you may have more leeway when using your savings, be wary of draining the money you set aside for emergencies. Emergency savings help you handle the unexpected out of pocket, so you borrow less often.

Keep it Small

The guest list determines the budget. If your child wants to invite their entire classroom, you can be on the hook for entertaining and feeding 30 or more kids. Alternatively, your child may only want to celebrate with a couple of their best friends.

If you can’t convince your child to limit their guest list, let them know this decision changes how you celebrate. For example, you may be able to splurge by taking their best friend to the movies, whereas you can’t take 30 kids to a theatre. You’ll have to opt for free things at home as a compromise.

Host it at Home

One of the cheapest ways to save money on a party is by hosting it at home. A pizza and movie party in your living room costs around $30 for takeout, compared to the hundreds it can cost to bring your kid’s friends to Playdium, laser tag, or an amusement park.

You can still have fun by organizing a day of classic party games like pin the tail on the donkey, duck-duck-goose, or musical chairs. Go to the dollar store for a small prize for the winners of these games.

If you have a large backyard, you have ample room for an outdoor party. The dollar store is once again a good source of cheap activities you can do in the garden, like bocce ball and water balloons.

Make Your Own Cake

Buying a handmade cake off Instagram can ring up hundreds of dollars. Even a cake from the grocery store can set you back quite a bit. By comparison, baking a cake from scratch is a lot cheaper. Don’t worry if you’re not a baker; everyone can follow along with the instructions of a boxed cake mix, and most kids won’t notice the difference.

The Takeaway:

Kids birthday parties can be a big drain on your wallet, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to celebrate their big day.


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