Saving money on kids birthday parties

Now I’m dating myself, but I remember birthday parties when they were about pin-the-tail on the donkey and eating cake filled with coins. Birthday celebrations for kids have gotten more expensive and more elaborate over the years, to say the least, where they represent yet another significant expense for a family raising kids.

It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here are some tips to save:

Ditch the loot bag

Loot bags, by and large, are filled with loads of stuff that will end up in the garbage or your junk drawer within hours after the party is done.

Instead of a loot bag, wrap a small “gift” for each child (i.e. crayons and colouring book, a gift card for an ice cream from your local spot, a mini-lego set, etc.).

And don’t even get me going on pre-fab loot bags.

Keep the guest list short

Yes, the birthday party invitation carries a bit of playground status, but it doesn’t mean that you need to invite the whole class. Keep the list short and sweet and keep expenses down.

Avoid pre-packaged parties

Birthday parties are big business. There are several indoor amusement parks, rec centres, sports establishments, etc. that offer birthday party packages. You’re over paying, most likely- and they get you on the food.

If your little one has their heart set on the indoor trampoline place or going to play mini-golf, take a few buddies and go. Have food and presents at home, and you’ve saved yourself the necessity (and expense) of getting a “party room” on site.

Ask about a group discount as well when you are going to do activities (not the birthday party special!).

Stay home?

If you think that you can stand (and that your home can stand it), why not host the party at home? You can come up with some scheduled activities for a few hours and it is way less expensive. It’s probably easiest to come up with a theme, and then build activities from there: think scavenger hunts and active games or crafts.