If you choose to use the KISS principle anywhere in your life, you should absolutely use it when you are hosting a kids birthday party.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the KISS principle it stands for “Keep it simple, stupid!”  We applied this principle big time when it came to our daughter’s first and second birthdays.  We just grabbed a picnic blanket, a couple of roast chooks from up the road and headed down to our local park with a couple of friends.  Simple, low stress and oh so cheap.

This year, with Miss Money turning 3, she really wanted a proper birthday party.  So, with much trepidation we decided to give it a go.  Kids birthday parties are a bit like weddings, it is easy to get carried away and they can easily become black holes for cash.  So here are 6 ways we saved money whilst still giving our daughter a fun birthday bash.

  1. Use Electronic Invites

We live in 2013.  Even my mother has a Facebook account.  People don’t need a little bit of paper to know you are having a party.  In fact if you give me one, I will put it on the fridge,  little hands will take it down and it will be most likely lost.  Send me an electronic invite and I can check dates, times, locations as required and I will still be able to find it when I need it.  Easy and free!

  1. Share The Party With A Friend
The Birthday Girls

The Birthday Girls

This was undoubtedly the best decision we made when it came to having a kids party, we shared it with one of the wonderful women from my mother’s group and her gorgeous daughter.  It meant that not only did we share costs and the workload, it turned the preparation time into fun too!  We did a joint trip to Costco with our kids to pick up the supplies and at the party it was like having a magic fairy there with me, things just happened and I did not feel responsible for making every single decision.  At the party everything was shared, we just had two birthday cakes and everyone sang one song.  The girls loved it.

Fiona was a dream to work with.  I think that both of us would describe ourselves as relaxed, so that really helped.  We all had so much fun that we will probably do it all again next year!

  1. Ditch The Theme Or Choose A Simple One
Not much of a theme but everyone had a great time

Not much of a theme but everyone had a great time

I have to tell you up front I am not a huge fan of the theme.  I know some people love it but all I see is more hard work and cost!  It makes me laugh when you talk about having a kid’s party the first thing people ask you is “What is your theme?” Theme?  “Errrrr, my daughter is having a birthday theme”, is always my response.

If you really want to go down the theme route, then make sure you choose a simple one and don’t go overboard on it because it really does add to costs.  So what? Your plates and cups don’t match your theme?  The kids don’t care and they only end up in the bin anyway.  In the end we did go a theme for this party, it was pink as it is easy and the favourite colour of both girls.  We got pink table cloths, pink balloons and dressed them in pink.  That was pretty much the full extent of it!  Easy and cheap!

  1. Keep The Food Simple

 

Nothing like the old style party favourites

There was no high tea or dessert bar at our party.  It was all about sausage rolls and party pies (on sale $6 for 30 from Woolies), home made chocolate crackles and honey joys.  We went the token fruit platter but that is about as fancy as it got, and the strawberries were on sale for $1 per punnet!!!  Fiona made some awesome “spiders” out of chocolate, Nutella and Chang’s noodles!!!  They were delicious.  We were worried about not having enough food, but as it turned out we had tonnes.  The truth is that no one really eats much at these things as the kids are busy running around and the parents talking, so try not to over cater, it can be a money waster.  Mind you we did an epic fail on this part :-) and we were eating chocolate crackles and chips for many days afterwards!

  1. Keep The Activities Simple
A couple of simple activities kept everyone entertained

A couple of simple activities kept everyone entertained

In our local area we have a council run service called the Magic Yellow Bus.  They roll up to a local park and plonk out a range of activities for the kids and then everyone just plays.  We decided to model our party on this, just with cake!  So we just put out a table of homemade play dough with the play dough stuff we already owned, I threw half my kitchen utensils in the sand pit with a few buckets and we had a craft table with some cheap bits and pieces I had brought from Riot.  Luckily, Fiona owned a small jumping castle so that got a work out too!

We avoided organised activities like pass the parcel as we had heard this can be very political now days and there can be fights over who gets what.  Apparently every kid also has to get a prize!  It certainly wasn’t like that in the 70s!

We did do a piñata which was probably not very PC but it was heaps of fun.  However, if you choose to do this for your party here is a hot tip – don’t choose one with a character on it!  Apparently some kids get very distressed when they see Dora, Octonauts or Hi-5 been taken to with a stick!!  We went the very safe 3 shaped piñata!

  1. When Someone Says They Want To Help – Say “YES!”

People love to be involved in your party, it gives them what is known in the business world as “buy in”.  They wouldn’t offer if they weren’t genuine about helping you and as they say many hands make light work.  It helps to cut costs and reduce stress.  We had people bring in plates of food, fairy bread, dips, mini pizzas and even pick up food for us that we had pre-ordered.  As we had the party at a local family day care centre we had an army of volunteers help to set up and even more volunteers to clean up.  To them we own a huge “thank you” as without them we would probably still be there cleaning now :-)

Overall the party was heaps of fun.  We kept it as simple as possible, which saved us money and lot’s of stress over things that in the end don’t really matter.  I was scared to host my first kids party but I really enjoyed it and maybe I might even be brave enough to do it again next year (with Fiona of course!) :-)

If you liked this post you might also like to read:

 10 Easy Ways To Save Money

5 Financial Tips You Need To Know Now You’re A Parent

How To Make Your Savings Work Harder

# The photos were all taken by the wonderfully talented Lisa Marie Craye of Ginger Snaps Photography.  Pop over and “like” her facebook page at Ginger Snaps Photography

* The Peppa Pig Cake was by the Jedi Master cake maker Patricia Kavvalos from Bake It Beautiful.  Pop over and “like” her facebook page at Bake It Beautiful

I am so lucky to be surrounded by such talented and generous friends :-)