Thursday, July 26, 2012

Have a Happy Birthday Without Emptying the Wallet

Here at the S Club 4, our birthdays are over for the year, but I have a guest post that will help you save on your birthday parties! I will definitely take into account some of these tips when planning for the coming year (thank goodness, I have a whole year to plan, though!). Our guest poster, Kate Sorenson, writes for Coupon Cravings, a site with 30k+ Facebook Fans and over 12,000 Twitter followers. Read on to hear how you can save on your next birthday bash! -Randi

4 Ways to Save on Food Costs at Birthday Parties
It’s that special day of the year: your child is another year older and your wallet a good amount emptier. However, birthday parties don’t have to be extraordinarily hard-hitting on your finances. If you check around online to make sure you’re getting the best deal and follow these four tips, you can cut costs on the food for the party.

Don’t Cater – Make the Food Yourself
One of the most expensive mistakes you can make when planning a birthday party is trying to save time by catering the event. This will end up costing you several hundred dollars if you have more than a few guests, but there’s a better way: cook your own food.  Ideas for Baby’s First Birthday suggests hosting a barbeque or, even better, a potluck. When you make the meal yourself, not only do you save on incredibly high catering fees but you can also take advantage of buying in bulk. Shopping at Costco is a great idea when buying for a large group of people.

Take Advantage of Timing
A frugal birthday planner knows that timing is everything – if you host the party during the late afternoon or evening, you can avoid providing meals altogether and just have to worry about desserts. explains the value of only serving snacks, as well as other tips on saving when planning a birthday party.

Cut Costs on the Cake
Again, baking a cake yourself will certainly save you money over buying one pre-made. However,  some articles suggest that it doesn’t need to be made completely from scratch; your child won’t care if you use cake mix or canned frosting, and these items can be found on sale or saved on with coupons. In fact, some grocery stores offer special promotions of cakes for free or at huge discounts for special events like your child’s first birthday. Be sure to take advantage of all the offers you can find! Or, another option is to eschew cakes altogether and instead serve cupcakes. This allows you to save on the expense of buying plates and utensils for your guests.

Buy for the Guests
Since you will likely be planning a birthday party for a younger child, there is no need to fork over the cash for expensive hors d'oeuvres. Stick with simple snacks, like chips and soda, and both your child and your wallet will be pleased.

Planning parties is a hectic time for any parent, but you can minimize your stress if you’re smart about the food you serve. A birthday is not a formal event; it’s okay to make a few frugal decisions when you prepare for it.

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