Last year my husband and I decided to have a theme birthday party for our daughter’s third birthday. I was nine months pregnant, our 15 month old had a very bad cold, and we were just exhausted. We decided to make a party at our home, and we thought we’d be saving money, not. First, we purchased the Dora The Explorer invitations and thank you cards. Then, we ordered a Dora cake (too big and too expensive, most of it was thrown out in the garbage), streamers, cups, plates, balloons, napkins, and table cloths. I didn’t even think about the logistics of blowing up the balloons, cha-ching. For the entertainment portion of the program, we hired the talented Baby Boogie It Down (mommy and me class founder and director) for one hour. We made a Costco run and stocked up on extra ice cream, cookies, pretzels, and juice boxes. For lunch, we ordered hot pizzas. Not only were we over budget, we were exhausted. We stayed up the night before moving clothes from one closet to another in an attempt to store the many coats, and boots, February was very cold last year. We also put away all the toys (little people, puzzles, pretend kitchen, and strollers) to avoid sharing issues, we’ve all got them. Just before the first guest arrived, my DH, the ultimate host, was afraid that we wouldn’t have enough food so he ordered extra pizzas and made huge quantities of popcorn. We ate those pizzas and haven’t craved any since, not a bad way to totally lose that craving.
Once the last kid had left, we had had ourselves one heck of a fiesta. In the end we had 64 people in our home on a Sunday afternoon (28 of them kids, 4 and under). It was a real miracle that our 15 month old slept through the entire party. The clean up was not as bad as we expected. Everyone pitched in and I got the sympathy vote for being nine months pregnant.
This year we had our daughter’s fourth birthday party at school, and it was exactly what we hoped it would be. First of all, the teachers’ made our daughter feel special and loved. I caught some memorable facial expressions and smiles with my digital camera. This party was truly a piece of cake. All I had to do was provide two snacks (potato chips and pretzels) and cookies or cupcakes. The school took care of the drinks, set up, and clean up. My daughter has the best kids in her class. They each raised their hand and said something nice about her followed by a very animated version of happy birthday. Once she blew out the candles, the cupcakes and juice was served. It was very sweet.
Last, but not least, our daughter presented the class with a puzzle (a bunch of children swarmed around and I felt so proud to see her play so nicely with her friends.) It was soon time for me to go. The last thing I saw was that my daughter was able to play at the sand table (hot commodity) first. She was definitely the birthday princess today.
This year, our fabulous fourth frugalicious birthday party was just what we wanted for our daughter. A big shout out to the teachers’ at my daughter’s school, you made my life so much easier this year. Cost wise, we couldn’t have done better. In fact, we spent less this year on what just the cake alone cost us last year. In these times of economic distress, a penny saved is definitely a penny earned. What will you be planning for in the way of birthday parities this year?