Thrifty Thursday: Saving on Birthday Parties – Guest Post from Summit Street Joy

I am so happy to introduce you all to Lauren from Summit Street Joy.  She is a mom after my own heart.  She has three kids and loves doing things on a budget. I think she might be my long lost twin. Lauren has some great decorating and organizing ideas that we all can use. Today, she is sharing some of her tips for saving money on children’s birthday parties. Little C is turning two in a few weeks so I will be taking notes.

I am super excited to be guest posting today.  My name is Lauren and I blog over on Summit Street Joy.

It’s a place where I write about thrifting, crafting, and budget decorating as we journey to make our little house into a joyful home.  I would LOVE for you to stop by, and to follow, if ya like 🙂

I am the blessed mommy to three littles: ages 5, 3, and {almost} one.

With two still in diapers {ahem, yes, you read that correctly – my 3-year-old is yet to be potty trained, despite my desperate attempts at training, begging, and bribing: don’t judge ;)}, saving money is the name of the game in our house!

Call me old fashioned, but I think we can celebrate the lives of our kids without breaking the bank.
– Set a budget. I know, I’m such a party pooper. But seriously, I had to start with this one, because as I know from personal experience, if a budget isn’t set in place right off the bat, the little costs of a successful party add up quick.  Even if you think you’re being frugal, the receipts when it’s all said and done won’t lie. Decide up front what you’re willing to spend and go from there.  (Oh, and be sure to check out Vicky’s article on the Importance of a Budget for more help on this one.)

– Go it outdoors. ALL three of mine are winter babies, so I am very sad we cannot pull this one off.  Many of our friends, however, have taken to hosting their child’s party at a local park when weather suits.  Kids get time to play and then come together for cake.  Simple and wonderful at the same time! Some parks charge a small fee to reserve a shelter area for your day, but check in your area for details.
– Theme decorate wisely. We recently celebrated my son’s third birthday with a Diego pajama party brunch.  Diego themed plates, cups, and other supplies would have run me at least $50:
This kit from starts at $51.99. Forgo the themed plates for plain colored plates that match the theme (Dollar Store and Walmart are good sources for these), then embellish with free printables of the characters. provides free printables, crafts, and party planning tools for most all their shows, so I used these free Diego printables to jazz up the plain stuff.
For my daughter’s Strawberry Shortcake tea party in December, I did a google image search for the sweet little character and used it to make place mats and these simple cupcake toppers:
{Are those store-bought cupcakes, you ask? Why yes, yes they are.  You can read more about my culinary skills and why I chose these marked down clearance cupcakes below ;)}.

– Do It/Bake It/Make It Yourself. Most of us know that do-it-yourself projects almost always save.  Similarly, with a kids’ birthday party, get creative by making your own pinata, baking your own cake or cupcakes, or crafting some unique decor.  I made this floral topiary to spruce things up a bit at the Strawberry Shortcake birthday:

The topiary was created using an old t-shirt, recycled glass bottle, and some crate paper I had saved from a past party.  Essentially, FREE decor. I love free things. Don’t you!?
– Maintain your sanity. While cheap and free are awesome, you could quite possibly drive yourself crazy if you do it ALL yourself.  Keep your sanity in the party-planning process by picking and choosing your battles for smart savings. For me, baking a cake is a completely daunting task. Lame? I know, but it’s true. I know my limits, but I still found ways to save in the cake department {ie, clearance Christmas cupcakes from Walmart ;)} without stressing myself out trying to bake a perfect Strawberry Shortcake cake or Diego head.  Remember, it is a PARTY after all, so relax and have fun celebrating your sweet child!
I hope you found these money saving tips helpful! I truly LOVED sharing with you today, and huge thanks to Vicky for having me. I hope you’ll stop by Summit Street Joy soon for more tips on budget decorating and happy homemaking! 🙂
– Lauren

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