How to Throw a Kids Party on a Budget


These days we all need to cut back on expenses wherever we can. This does not mean we should avoid fun. Here’s a lovely guide to budget friendly kids parties…

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My son turned one last week. One. A small word with such big meaning. To celebrate, I naturally threw a party of momentous-Pinterest proportions and invited our closest 60 friends and family to celebrate.

I had the best time putting together all the décor and food and I baked until I sweated fondant. The day was so, so worth it, even though at times I felt like all I did was run around snapping pics and filling up chip bowls – a bit like a wedding where you don’t actually get to talk to anyone and you wake up the next morning wondering how everything passed by in such a blur.

The party was also expensive. Like, five-times-over-budget expensive. I tried my hardest to keep costs down and I outsourced nothing except the jumping castle, but still, catering for 60 people and decorating every available surface adds up quickly.

If you are planning a party in the near future, don’t break the bank like me. I’ve put together a few ‘in hindsight’ ways to save money when putting together a birthday bash.

  • Take people up on their offer to help – even if it means a few people each bringing a platter of food or snacks.
  • BYOB – It is 100% okay to ask people to bring hard liquor (yes, you’ll need it at a one-year-old party!) or their choice of drink. We supplied beer and wine and guests brought anything extra that they wanted.
  • Upcycle to make decorations – jars, tins, boxes, plants, material and other random items you have lying around the house make for great props.
  • Save money by asking someone to take photos instead of forking out a few grand for a photographer.
  • Rope in friends with the promise of food and drinks – I took a day’s leave and a few friends joined me to set tables, ice cupcakes and hang decorations. It turned into a brilliantly fun afternoon!

So, even though I’m still Instagramming photos of my three-tier cake and handmade sheep cupcakes, I’m not sure if his next birthday party will be on such a large scale. The first one is always about the parents and the celebration of ‘we did it’, but the second one?

Next year, ironically when he will probably remember it a bit better, I’m having a ‘bring and braai’ with family only. I say this now, until I jump on Pinterest and start swooning over handstitched bunting and gourmet finger foods…

By Kate Kearney

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