Monday, November 1, 2010

Bryton's Birthday Week Series: Frugal Party Planning / Maintaining a Theme

Saving money is part of who I am now.  I'm a planner by nature so it all works out pretty well, but being that I didn't start this major couponing / frugal living until January of this year, this was my first party planning on a 'budget'.  So I thought it'd be beneficial to go through and document some of my money saving and budget saving techniques for planning a party. 

Day 1's topic - Maintaining a Theme. 
Two things you should know up front about me:  I want the party to be unique, I'm not that 'buy the box' kind of gal who chooses a character and buys all the stuff in that 'category' to go with it.  (Not that that is a bad thing, it's just not me.)  Second, I want my kids' birthday parties to be something special.  They'll get an option every year as they get older as to what they want to do for their birthday.  If they want a party, great.  If they want to go some place fun, great, but they get to choose one.  Until they are able to decide... I'm doing some light party planning ;)

Bryton's theme for his party this year is:  Bryton's Seussical 2nd Birthday.  I chose this theme because he loves books, and for a long time, the only books we could read him were Dr. Seuss books.  In fact, we had Dr. Seuss' ABC's memorized for car rides.  And me, well, I love Dr. Seuss just as much as he does, so it seemed like a good fit. 

The first thing I did was start researching the internet.  I found some blogs of other moms who had done similar parties for their kids and I borrowed some of their ideas.  (You'll see some of these later on this week.) I even know one mom who had a Dr. Seuss party for her twins, and she offered me their left over things!  (Thanks Arje!)

I also found that, believe it or not, one particular website actually carries Dr. Seuss related party items.  Rather than spend $3-$5 per 8 or 12 pack of plates, napkins, cups, etc, I bought about half of the plates and napkins that I needed, some stickers that were on clearance (these come into play in a minute), and called it good.  Then, I went to a $1 store and bought matching solid colored napkins, cups, plates, and tablecovers.  I get the effect of the printed plates, without the cost.

The stickers I then put on plain paper sacks, which I plan to fill with items for a 'treat bag' for the kiddo guests.  

Then, I started planning what else I could do with the theme.  Games are hard with the age group of kids we are having... Bryton is 2, just a wee bit young for the pin the tail and pinata things (which will be great next year... I'm not going to lie, I thought long and hard about a pinata this year!), so I decided to stick with the theme and I made one of Bryton's birthday presents the DVD "Horton Hears a Who".  Being that we are having his party in our youth room at our church, we can project it on the big screen and have it playing throughout a good deal of the party!  It should be perfect for our kids aged about 6 weeks - about 6th grade!

On the tables will be the solid colored tablecovers, twisted crepe paper, and everyone will have a Dr. Seuss coloring sheet "placemat", printed from the Dr. Seuss website, and I'll have mason jars of crayons on each table. 

The invitations I made were two-fold.  For parents of toddler - school aged kids I made little Dr. Seuss books for the invitations.  All of the details were on the last page.  Other guests got the same poem invitation, just in 1/2 sheet form rather than book form. 

This saved me all costs except for the 50 sheets of cardstock that were $4.99, but that I got 40% off at Hobby Lobby. 

I'll mention it briefly here, but you'll have to check back tomorrow for the details:  when planning a party for possibly 50 people, there has to be a lot of food, so I found some ways to cut corners on everything from the main menu to dessert.  Some of my budgeting technique:  just start buying things early!
Check back tomorrow for more on the food!


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