Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Money Saving Tips for Birthday Parties - Joanne McGowan, Act One Parties

Nowadays it is common to invite the whole class to your child's birthday party and this means entertaining, feeding and watering and party bagging up to 25-30+ children.  This can lead many parents to feel that costs are spiralling out of control.  It doesn't have to be this way and I hope the following tips will help you to create a fantastic party for your child that doesn't break the bank.

Tip No. 1 – Join Forces
One of the best ways to half or even third or quarter the cost of your child's birthday party is to join forces with another family in your child's class who has a birthday around the same time.  Joint parties are becoming increasingly popular (I entertain regularly at parties where there are 2 or 3 or sometimes even 4 birthday children).  If they are all in the same class at school they are likely to have the same friends so it can be a win win situation.

As well as significantly reducing the cost of the party it can also reduce the workload as you can split the organisation and jobs between the different families involved.

However, a note of caution, ensure that if you do join forces with another family that they have the same outlook as yourself on costs, type of party required and be clear about who is responsible for what in the lead up to the party.

Tip No. 2 – Shop around for venues
In my hometown of Guildford I know the price of venues can vary significantly for very little difference in facilities.  I will be writing about things to look for in a venue in a later blog but generally the closer to a town centre the more expensive a venue will become where as those on the outskirts can be considerably cheaper with similar facilities and generally more parking.  Schools sometimes offer a discount if your child is a pupil there but sometimes can charge a caretaker fee so don't assume this will be the cheapest option.  Some village halls will offer a cheaper rate if you live in the village and it is often worth seeking out halls that charge for the morning or afternoon rather than the hour as this can work out better value for a party.

Children generally don't care what a venue looks like, it is us parents that are bothered by things like that, so as long as it warm and dry and safe most venues can look good with a few decorations.

Tip No. 3 – The internet is your friend
For two reasons – if you choose to do a lot of DIY preparation for the party ie decorations, invites etc, there are many sites that will provide you with the inspiration and templates to do this.  The internet can also be a good place to find special offers for party bags, decorations and tableware.  Many companies will have a newsletter or a facebook page you can sign up to where special offers will be advertised – even getting free postage can be a good saving.

Tip No. 4 – The Early Bird Catches the Worm
By planning your party early not only will you get the pick of
party entertainers and venues but you will have time to research the best deals on party ware, party bags, decorations etc.  It will also give you more time to do some aspects yourself like maybe make some decorations with your child for the party.

Tip No. 5 – Feeding the 5,000
The thing that most goes to waste at a children's party is always the food.  Children generally eat less than you think and always have eyes bigger than tummies so controlling quantities is key.  Putting food in food boxes is a good way to guage portions effectively and means that children are given appropriate sized quantities and a balance of naughty and nice.  And whilst we may opt for locally sourced, organic produce at other times, when catering for a children's birthday tea all the supermarkets do great value ranges on party tea favourites.

For more information on Joanne and Act One Parties, visit:

Twitter:  @actoneparties

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