While planning my daughter's birthday party I am constantly comparing prices. Some people spontaneously buy things a little here and some more there, but they don't realize how much they have actually spent. I have a budget of about $150 for the party, this includes cake, party supplies, games, prizes, and anything else for her birthday minus the gift. Now I could spend $120 and get all the prepackaged Disney Princess themed stuff in a box, $25 for a cake, and $5 for a tub of ice cream and I'd be set. However if you look at what is included you think to yourself..."What am I going to do with the kids for the next 2 hours?" So where do you decide where and how to spend your budget, well here is some tips to help you decide.
First and foremost remember you are spending your money on an experience, not just a party. Think of the things that will be looked back and remembered. Party favors is a big one for people. They want a cool party so they buy all the cool party favors. When the fact of the matter is they are all just cheap toys that get thrown out in a week regardless if you spent the extra dollar a dozen for the "deluxe" favors. If you want to spend a little extra on favors, then spend it on the bag. Don't go for a cheap plastic bag, go with something that ties in with the theme. For me I'm making little princess purses out of some cheap fabric.
Utensils and plates are another area for unnecessary spending. You don't need the character of choice plastered all over your plates and napkins for guest to figure out your theme. Instead buy the cheap solid colored plates, cups and napkins. You can take the $10 to $15 you save and buy a background banner. Take your guests picture with the birthday boy or girl and send it to them after the party as a thank you.
Activities and games are hard to find, and a little pricey when you do. Instead come up with your own games and crafts. If your child is into a character then you can find its website and if you hunt really well there usually is party planning ideas and print outs. Disney for instance has Princess coloring pages, bookmarks, door hangers, mobiles, and greeting cards that you can print up and make. They also have party planning ideas and tips.
Check back later to see just how I spent my budget.