When times are tough, we all want affordable ways to give our child the best party within our budget. Here's out top tips for a fun packed party with cost saving ideas:  

Tip 1: How many guests to invite?

It's sometimes tricky to decide who to invite to the party, but it's important to include your child's closest friends. When my daughter was younger I use to base it on who she invited over for a play date and vise versa, although she did get invited to lots of play dates the week proceeding the party.
The number of guests is the biggest factor affecting the budget. Many items like invitations come in packs of 8, 10 or 12. Instead of cancelling your child's birthday party, consider a smaller celebration that your child will remember for years to come. It's all about how you make them feel on that special day.
Another factor that can affect the budget is if parents or siblings stay and sometimes unexpectedly. This is often tricky as often parents, just want the opportunity to spend time with you or get to know you. My suggestion is to make it clear on the invitation, about the time children can be picked up if you would like parents to leave, although usually parents stay with younger children.

Tip 2: Planning saves money

Write a party plan including what you would like to do (see entertainment below), then work out the price for each item. You will then have a rough idea of the costs and can look at cheaper alternatives if needed.
When I organised my daughters birthday parties, I started purchasing items months ahead to spread the cost. A couple of extra items in the groceries maybe more affordable that purchasing everything at once.
If ordering party supplies, consider the cost of shipping. It may well be cheaper to order from one supplier than pay for petrol driving around different stores to save a dollar or two. Also speak with our party consultants, as we can get products in for you and can suggest cheaper options.

Tip 3: Calculating how much food is needed

I ran a Party Venue for several years and mastered the art of just enough food, while understanding what the favourites are.

Consider what the guests you invite like to eat and how much they generally eat.

As a rule of thumb, Boys commonly like 3 savoury and 2 sweet items. Girls like 2 savoury and 3 sweet items. Remember portions don't need to be bigger than the child's palm. If you serve the food to the children you will ensure that everyone has something on their plate and you don't need to make extra food.

If you theme the food this can also save alot of money and add the fun factor. I use to add a tiny drop of red or pink food colouring into budget lemonade and call it Princess Drink. I also offered magical water, that parents were happy to see their child choose.

Cost effective food ideas:

  • Popcorn - This was more popular that chippies and can be made at home.
  • Seasonal fruit kebabs - keep it to what's cost effective and don't forget things like canned pineapple. 
  • Fairybread - see our blog on the most popular party food - Fairbread!
  • Pizza shapes - pizza made or cut into themed shapes with cookie cutters
  • Lollies - portion these in mini cupcake papers
  • Brownie or slices - cut into small fingers
  • Shaped sandwichescut into themed shapes with cookie cutters
  • Sausage rolls - homemade are cost effective and work for adults too
  • Chocolate crackles 
  • Mini fish and chips

See our blog Party food on a budget for recipes and more information.

Tip 4: Making the cake

Making the cake yourself can save hundreds of dollars. Even if you have never made a cake before we are happy to help you with ideas to work within your budget. Hiring a cake tin or purchasing an edible image are really simple and cost effective ways to make a cake.

Another option for the cake is to pile up some donuts, add some sprinkles and candles for something a little different and easy to make.

Tip 5: Entertainment on a budget

If you invest a little time in organising some party games to have at home, this can save alot of money, rather than hiring a venue, entertainer or going to an activity. Regardless of age, pass the pastel is the most popular game and the prize is best to not be too expensive. 

If you don't want to have the party at home, for older kids you can organise them into teams and run a scavenger hunt. Stickers or tattoos are inexpensive prizes.

See our other blogs on themed parties and party games for more details.

Tip 6: How to theme without increasing the budget

Some generic themes like pirate and princess maybe more cost effective than some of the licensed themes. See our sale pages for a range of discounted products, that you can use for a cheaper price. In saying that even licensed themes can be done in a cost effective manner. For example use coloured plates and cups that suit the theme with the licensed napkins.

Tip 7: Amazing decorations on budget

There are lots of re-usable party decorations, that can be used in different ways for each party. We sell personalised banners that you can change to use every occasion. Choose colours to suit your theme and decorate with honeycomb balls, chinese lanterns and fans. 

Scene setters are often a cost effective party decoration as you can hand it in your child room after the party. It also makes a big impact in the room.

As they say a party is not a party without balloons. My suggestion is not to go for the cheapest on the market as there is nothing worse than you balloons popping before the party is over.

Tip 8: Party Bags or not?

Party bags started out being the bag that you put a piece of cake in for the child to take home, since then others have added keepsakes to say thank you for attending the party.

It is your choice if you want to provide a party bag or not. One point to consider, is if not providing a party bag, there may not be a signal for party goes to leave. Some cost effective party bag ideas are:

  • A bag with a sticker sheet and piece of cake
  • A cupcake in a box
  • A helium balloon (use these as a decoration at the party them give away when children leave.
  • A photo of the children in front of the scene setter (also used as decoration at the party).

Tip 9: Free advice to consider

We have loads of tips to help you plan you party and we work closely with our customers to ensure that they get the best for their budget. 
For example: don't forget to take photos, we recommend you ask a family member or friend to do this as you will be busy.

Tip 10: Remove the stress and add the fun!

Let's not loose sight of what it's all about. Consider what is important to your child and sometimes it's the little things. It might be a party hat or blower. It may even surprise you. Try including them in the planning  or alternatively surprise them, which ever will help your budget.

Enjoy the day!

Our party Consultants are happy to help you in anyway, please contact us