I don't know about your kid, but Ainsley loves the anticipation and the creative process of planning and preparing for her birthday party as much as the actual party. Both of my kids love to cook. I just channel my mother.
!. Print own birthday invitations and hand deliver them. Or, buy a package at Dollar Tree. Ainsley drew a rough draft and her Daddy made her an original design on the computer.
2. Parks are FREE. Picnic tables, swings, and slides. (clean your house in case it rains and you need a backup plan).
3. Make your own cake. We went to Betty Crocker's website and watched "how to" videos for about 20 cakes. Zack wants the train or the dinosaur when he turns three. Ainsley loved the Princess Castle and the Princess cake. I wanted simple and fell in love with these great ice cream cone cakes. Cutting out forks and plates saved us $$$. It took us all evening on Friday to make them, but it had to have been as much fun as the party. This is where I spent my $33 for ice cream cones, candies hidden inside the cones, cream cheese frosting ingredients, 2 cake mixes, I splurged $8 on the reusable, easier to clean silicone cupcake cups.
4. Punch recipe: 2 litter bottle of sprite and 1 large jug of fruit punch. Mix in pitcher over ice.
5. Use a table cloth you already own and use normal utensils. There really is no reason to buy special cups, plates or forks for birthdays.
6. Skip decorating. You brought cool cakes and you're at a park.
7. Free entertainment. Now, we are super-lucky. My in-laws are professional missionary mimes & clowns. But, you might know a guitar player, a singer, someone who does puppets, or a sunday school teacher who tells a mean story with charades. Ask them to share their talent as the entertainment for your kid's party. They will be honored. If you don't know anyone bring glue, construction paper, paint, markers and scissors and let the kids make something.
8. Yard Games - bring the horse shoe set, croquet, volleyball, soccer ball or football.
9. Recheck your guest list. Invite only people you like and won't judge you. If there is someone who usually comes to your parties that often criticizes - just don't invite them.
10. Put a smile on your face and have a low-maintenence, easy-clean up, low-expense good time. A child's birthday party shouldn't need to be financed.
Oh, and there's still time to leave a comment to win a Juku Couture Doll.