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Many parents begin to stress out about their child's birthday many months before the actual event. Often this stress is due to the anticipated expense of a great birthday party. However, you don't have to break the bank to have an amazing, memorable birthday party for your child.
The first step in party planning is deciding upon a theme and getting the invitations ready. Online invitations through companies such as Evite (www.evite.com) and Smilebox (www.smilebox.com) offer a variety of free invitations.
I was able to get free photo invitations this year by being on Shutterfly's mailing list and responding to a monthly offer. Most online photo companies send out special offers to customers on their mailing list so it may be worth it to get on some of those lists.
Location, Location, Location
There are so many options when it comes to selecting a location for your child's party. Free party spots include, parks, playgrounds, neighborhood pools and backyards (either your own or a family member's). These locations can be just as fun as some other party spots as long as you have enough activities to keep kids moving.
If you are looking for a paid location, keep your eyes peeled for special offers from Daily Deals (Wilmington Parent), and similar sites like Groupon or Living Social. You will sometimes come across deals for 50% off on party locations using these sites.
Use what you already have to save on supplies. For example, if you have a set of reusable plastic plates, these would be great to use in place of disposables. You may also have plastic cutlery and napkins from previous events. Always check your cabinets and pantry for supplies before buying new ones.
If you decide that you must have matching cups, plates and napkins, visit your local discount store such as The Dollar Store to get supplies at a low price.
For an outdoor party, yard games are always a hit. Try horseshoes, badminton, ring toss, etc. You can also send the kids on a scavenger hunt and give out prizes to the first team to complete the hunt. Last year, I bought a piece of foam board for $1 and my husband and I created a very cute bean bag toss game out of it.
If you'd like to provide some entertainment for the kids, enlist the help of talented friends. If you have a friend that is an artist, ask them if they'd be willing to do some face painting.
Making your own party food including the cake can be a bit time consuming, but it can also save you quite a bit of money. It is OK to ask for help with these chores. Often grandparents or aunts and uncles are very willing to help make food for the party.
Party favors are NOT a necessity at a child's birthday party. However, if you feel the need to gift your party guests there are very inexpensive ways to do this. Homemade party favors can be the best and least expensive. You can make everything from play dough to friendship bracelets based on the age of your child. Check out this website for ideas and instructions http://www.thecraftycrow.net/2009/10/homemade-party-favors.html
Keep in mind that a child's birthday party is a celebration for friends and family and the focus should be on the child, not the place or the material things present.