A ONEderful Party without Breaking the Bank
You know that quote “Living a champagne life on a beer budget”, well that was my idea going into this party except to make it age appropriate we will go with “Living a formula life on a breastfeeding budget”. (Was that too much of a mom joke?) Anywho, I really wanted to make her first birthday special but without breaking the bank. So, like all things I do, I make a plan, create a budget, and start planning. Here is how I got my party planned on a budget.
Planning, Planning, Planning.
It all starts in the plans. If you have a plan and a list, stick to those things and you won’t start purchasing random things that really put a wrench in a budget. I always create a Pinterest board for everything that I envision. Then I go back through and make sure it is something that is attainable, something I really, really want, and if it is a necessity. Once I get it all prepared, then I start thrifting, researching, and buying.
Creating the Party
For Marleigh’s birthday, I didn’t want to do a theme. With the party being in Florida, just in case something were to happen, I didn’t want to be tied down to anything - so I went with A ONEderful Party. Basic enough. I also knew that I wanted a focus wall that everything tied into. The balloon arches and the greenery walls always catch my eye and I really wanted it! When I first did the research and called companies, I was getting priced for $300+ for them to make a balloon arch for me and the greenery walls were mostly 65-200+. That is not something I was wanting to spend. I went to my amazing Amazon Prime account and started looking. You can do a balloon arch on your own for $20! I already had an air pump so I saved $8 there, but if you really want to be cheap and not buying the air pump (WHICH I DON’T RECOMMEND), you can always blow them. Just make sure you have lots of friends because the balloon arch came with roughly 70 balloons of varying sizes. When I found that cheap option for a balloon arch, I chose my color and that was going to be the colors I did for my party.
The green wall was a splurge but that is because I plan on using it for multiple things so I saw it as an investment, however I still found a good deal. On amazon, they often have products that are used. If you do some investigating, if they are sold from the Amazon Warehouse, that usually means that the item is basically new. They will even tell you the defect. I got my greenery wall for $39.99 because the box was wrinkled. THE BOX. What a deal! That is the two things I splurged the most on, well besides food.
This is probably the priciest part of the party in all honesty. It all depends on how many people you have coming to the party. I had about 65-70 people and I spent roughly $200 for everything. We decided to be a little extravagant with having burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, chips, Cole slaw, bake beans, sodas, juices, teas, and desserts that weren’t including the cake. We definitely could have dropped this number down by inviting less people or sticking with easier options.
But one thing, I did do was BUY IN BULK. We used our Sam’s Club membership to help us save on things that we needed in large quantity. I also noticed that a 16 inch pizza was only 9$ so you could buy 10 pizzas for 90 and there you go. You’re price on food just went down if you want to go that route. You can also pay for sub trays or chicken trays in bulk that make things less expensive. Finding foods that need less toppings and extra purchases really help. Unfortunately, we went the more expensive route but I had this budgeted in.
Other Ideas that helped us: We also had our family put their money that would have been for a gift towards helping with the party. They asked us if we wanted to do a present or cash and for us right now, we thought cash would be better since Marleigh didn’t need an overflowing amount of gifts. We had this in our budget, but it helped us save even more since we spent less.
Ask your friends, family, and community to find DEALS
We got our cake made by a family friend rather than picking it out! She makes phenomenal cakes and we are so blessed to know her. However, if you do not have a family friend that bakes cakes that doesn't mean you can’t have a cake without buying one. Make your own cake - SO MUCH CHEAPER. Especially a smash cake because they aren’t going to know if it is store bought or homemade.
Most of the decor came from repurposed decor I found around my home. Literally, I left for Florida with things that I use in my own home. My walls looked funky when I left because I took a couple vines, a couple signs, and few little odds and ends. For things I did not have, I asked my family and friends. Do not feel ashamed to ask others to borrow something for a party. My grandparents brought a cute drink dispenser from their church for the tea. My sister donated her pink vase, flowers, and menu board. Get creative - think about what you have and do not go out and buy it.
For our party favors, I wanted something useful and not a waste. I found these cute little jars and filled them with M&Ms. The kids can eat the candies and then when all is said and done, the parents can use the jars in their homes or toss them. My party favors were very cheap and in budget. I bought one case of jars (with a coupon) and one bag of candies.
Thrifting and Coupon Shopping
Start planning in advance so you can coupon shop and look in thrift shops. For things I bought at Hobby Lobby, I would go and use a 40% off coupon. I would buy things at different times so I could get a few things for 40% off- THE SAVINGS add up.
For things that don’t really matter, don’t stress.
I kept it simple and didn’t go crazy. I wasn't going to stress about this because in reality the party was for my memory - Marleigh won’t know the difference between anything. My goal was to have family and friends over and hang out and just be together. Don’t complicate things because then the money adds up. Don’t be upset because you aren’t buying new things to make the party come to life. I had one focus wall that I spent less than 100$ (which I could have very well made cheaper (I bought the green wall only because I have other plans for it!) and the food. The rest was very simple with 99 cent table covers and tasteful things from my home that matched!
I had my party at my parents so it was free. However, there are a lot of public parks and places that allow you to throw parties for free by reserving. Do your research and find these places because they will really help you save.
Prepare and Save
No matter what, when you throw a party you are going to have to spend money - NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU BUDGET. Start saving early so when the time comes, you already have it off to the side and you do not have to dip into your account.
If you have any questions about what I bought at my party, feel free to ask! I am very grateful that my family and friends could help put this party on a budget. I am not going to lie. We had help! Our parents offered to help with the party over a gift and that was something that we thought worked for us. Honestly, hosting parties can get really get pricey. You really have to think about what you need, what you truly want, and can you find alternatives or multiple uses for what you are buying. Could I have saved more while planning this party? MOST DEFINITELY. It is all in your budget and what you want to spend. But don’t be scared to ask family for donations or borrowing items to throw the party - just make sure to return it in good condition and with a THANK YOU NOTE. Happy Party Planning.