Springtime means very busy birthday months in my family. My grandfather, step-dad and two step-sisters all have birthdays within 1 month of each other. While that could be a real budget buster for me, none of them live close enough to celebrate with But, “back in the day” when we did live close to each other, we were able to celebrate everyone’s birthday (on a budget).
Here are 5 tips for throwing a rocking birthday bash without all the expense.
1. Bake the cake.
Store bought cakes are expensive and don’t always taste that great. Bakery cakes, although delicious, are even more expensive. Skip the designer, “Cake Boss” creation and make your own at home. If you’re not a baker, that’s OK. It’s pretty hard to screw up a box cake mix (even I can do it!). These days there are even a bunch of all-natural and organic boxed mixes-love that!
2. Use your dishes.
Yup, you’re gonna have to wash them at the end of the night, but guess what they cost you? Nothing! If you’re really on a budget, you don’t need to buy fancy paper plates and matching birthday napkins. The cake tastes just as good on your Corningware, I promise! Enlist your significant other or kids to do cleanup at the end of the night.
3. Serve only the basics.
Get rid of the “hostess with the most-est” attitude and stop going overboard with snacks and drinks. Nobody is coming to your house for a 3-course meal (unless you stated you were serving one). I used to worry that some people wouldn’t like the chips and guacamole and Corona that I was serving. So I bought cheese and crackers and dip and veggies and Sam Adams and Harpoon. Before I knew it I had a bar’s worth of beer varieties and enough snacks to feed a football team. Now I only serve a few basics. If your guests won’t eat what you provide, they can eat at home.
4. Skip the party favors.
Most parties I attend these days are just for adults. So I don’t give, or except to receive favors. I sometimes send my friend’s home with extra food, but I don’t go out of my way to buy little trinkets that nobody needs or wants.
5. Decorate minimally.
Some people go, “all out” with the fancy decorations and centerpieces. I’m not one of those people. My friends don’t care about fancy fruit arrangements that look like flowers or florist made centerpieces (in fact they’d probably think I’d gone mad if I had either). A simple vase of flowers and some balloons are perfectly adequate decorations for adult birthday parties. When I was in college we had a simple “happy birthday banner” that we hung for every birthday. We reused that banner probably 20 times over the course of 4 years. A pretty solid “investment” in my opinion.
How do you throw a b-day party on a budget?
Image: Will Clayton