Okay.. so I know what you’re thinking: How is this self confessed party addict who easily drops $50 on a cake stand for one party going to give me party ideas on a budget? Valid point – BUT why I may be a party addict, I am also addicted to a bargain! And while I admit budgeting isn’t exactly my forte, I’ve been known to throw a kids party together in A DAY spending no money at all! Don’t believe me?
I created our ‘Welcome Elf Breakfast’ on a whim one morning in about an hour without purchasing anything new by using left over fabric & candy I had on hand, shopping my home, and creating cute printables! Results… an adorable event without spending a dime!
So what’s my secret? Well… let me give you a few of my favorite tips:
1. Shop your home
The first thing I do when I am prepping for an event is take stock of what I already have that could work. This is also why I have an entire collection of plain white serving dishes – they can be reused again and again for any theme and time! So you son want’s a Zombie party? Go grab that abandoned box of Halloween Decorations in your garage! Your daughter wants a garden party? Go check out what pretty potted plants you have in the yard. Your twins want a double the fun bubble gum sweet shoppe?! Get to your kitchen and take an inventory of your glassware & jars that would make pretty vessels to hold an assortment of gumballs.
2. Get creative – DIY!
So maybe you can’t drop $35 on an entire printable party collection – there are hundreds of FREE printables available online! A quick google or pinterest search can reveal a variety of themes – or why not just purchase $10 party circles from your favorite printables designer in your desired theme and use them to create all the decor? I have used party circles as favor tags, cupcake toppers, envelope seals, stickers, napkin rings, wine glass charm, flower picks, banners, the center of wands & fans, garlands, cake toppers, AND MORE! See our 15+ ways to use Party Circles to Decorate your party here.
So you want to throw an AMAZECRA’ farm party but can’t afford a $300. petting zoo? Hop on craigslist or a local facebook buy, trade sell groups page. You’d be amazed how people may be willing to lend you a goat or two for the day for a cool $25. Or maybe you have an uncle who raises sheep? Call the local 4H Club and see if some of their members would like to perfect their show skills! THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!
So you can’t afford a $200 Canvas to paint a beautiful backdrop for your table – I’ve seen fabulous backdrops created from paper plates, crepe paper and even just wrapping paper! All of which are easily available at the nearest Dollar Store!
3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
I have a drawer in my craft room that is chalk full of snippets of ribbons. It’s ridiculous – I open this drawer and its just a mess of tangled randomness! But there have been so many times that I’ve run out of ribbon while attaching labels to candy jars and this drawer or ribbon scraps has saved me an emergency trip to the craft store.
One of the party items I get the most questions about are my glass drink bottles.. and you know what? They are simply reused Starbuck’s Frappucino Glasses! I saved them, removed all labels, washed them and have used them in almost every party I have styled in the past two years! And it didn’t cost me anything extra because I was already buying the drinks!
For our Welcome Elf Breakfast above I pulled fabric that I had purchased for other occasions – the green chevron was from our Plants VS Zombies Party and the Polka Dots were for our Vintage Wonderland Party a few years ago.
Basically – just don’t throw anything away again! ha ha! Come to the dark side.. become a Party Pack Rat!
4. Borrow, Barter, trade!
I love “trading” for party stuff. OHH if you only knew how many events I’ve pulled off this way. No way can I afford a photographer for the entire day for my children’s parties. But I spent 6 years of my life in Print design creating logos, business cards, flyers, brochures and anything else you can image and can offer to trade my skills for a photographer in need of some marketing material! I’ve traded cakes for and party styling for Photos as well. I’ve traded design work for tutus! What skills do you have that you could trade? Maybe you have a product to trade? Maybe you have no creativity skills or items but you can babysit?! Maybe you have a garden and grow your weight in vegetables? Maybe you have a gift card you received and never managed to spend? Chances are you can come up with something of value and contact a few vendors to see if they’re interested in swapping. You wont know unless you ask!
5. Dollar sections, Coupons & shopping the sales!
The dollar store has long been the friend of party planners worldwide and Target’s Dollar section is a favorite haunt of mine when looking for event decor.
Subscribe to your local craft stores emailing list and get notified of all their sales and receive coupons right in your inbox! You can also download apps of stores like Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabric and Craft Stores and pull up the coupons right on your smart phone to scan at checkout! No coupon clipping required!
$50 example budget breakdown idea for a kids party of 12:
Decor: Free Printables or $10 Party Circles to decorate party, Print on home printer: $1-$15
Ribbon leftover from another project: $0
Cake stand, plates & decor repurposed from your home
Backdrop: Crepe Paper to create backdrop: $1 at dollar store.
Treats: Cupcakes from Cake Mix – You can pick up a box of cake mix on sale or with coupon for as little as 99 cents. Icing can be handmade or store bought for under $2. One box will easily make 1-2 cupcakes.
To make marshamallow pops: Marshmallows (99 cents), Wilton 8″ Lolli Sticks $1.99/25, Chocolate Melts $2.95. You can use the leftover Lolli Sticks to create cupcake toppers with your printable party circles for the cupcakes you baked!
So for Decorations, Backdrop & treats we are at $24.92, which leave plenty of room in our budget to add some candies, balloons (fun to play games with as well), print out some free printable party games, and more!
Whatever your budget you should be able try out a few of these ideas to save yourself some money! So are you convinced? Are you up for a challenge? I would love to see what party you can create for $50! What are your favorite party ideas on a budget?