Dollar Stores Are Your Friend–get you shopping started early–up to two months in advance. Dollar Tree turns over merchandise faster than most stores, so they’ll have new and different stuff every week or so. Since discovering Dollar Tree, we haven’t bought any wrapping paper, tape, bows, cards, candles, tablecloths, plastic knives, forks spoons and cups (and more) anywhere else! You can create a foundation of basic supplies for about five dollars, and that’s not even including the streamers, balloons, boxes and bags for take-home treats and even tiny party favors! Even better, some Dollar Tree stores carry brand-name cake mixes, frostings and sprinkles, so you can DIY your cake, too! One woman made a delicious Reeses cake for three dollars!
Go Digital!–since you must invite your kid’s entire class (even that kid they keep clashing with…) it might help you to take a digital approach to invites! When you need twenty-five invitations plus postage (if you’re mailing them), then it makes sense to email your invite around or create a Facebook group! (you can use the class registry to track down people’s email addresses!)
The Rule of Opt-Outs–honestly, when your children are very small (newborn to about four or five years old), there’s no reason to go all-out. One family celebrated their daughter’s second birthday with a picnic with grandma, grandpa and the family dog! She got a trip to the park, a cupcake, and a beautiful afternoon with her loved ones! Consider keeping things small and intimate until your child hit school age and wants a big party!
Light Dining–it’s a good idea to have your party in the afternoon, between two and five, when folks have already had lunch and aren’t quite ready for dinner. Planning and timing your party carefully will save you tons on feeding your guests! If you (or a family member) have a membership to a bulk store, it’ll help you get the best deal on your food, too!
Local Talent–if grandma makes an amazing cake, or if your sister has a killer cookie recipe, ask them to give you a hand. This works with all your talented family members–can your husband build? Can your niece draw? Look around your address book and see who can fill in your gaps for free or super cheap!
On-Hand Hacks–odds are, if you’re a mom, you’re a bit of a DIYer. We’d be willing to bet that you have a slew of supplies stashed away–leftovers from other projects, boxes waiting to be recycled, etc… one woman was given 1,500 sheets of scrapbook paper by a friend of her aunt! When people know you craft, the collection just continues to grow. That being said, take a look through your stores and decide what you have that you can use–maybe those scrapbook paper sheets can be folded into gift bags. Maybe those balloons from last year’s science project could come in handy. Maybe you’re just one recycled cereal box away from something grand! Look below to see how you can utilize your supplies!
Tissue Paper or Coffee Filters
This stuff is so useful! Tissue paper is light, easy to work with and is perfect for things like flowers, window coverings and butterfly wings! One crafty mama made her daughter a set of fairy princess wings with metal coat hangers, hot glue, ribbons and (you guessed it) tissue paper! Use your origami skills (or just hit Pinterest) for how to fold and glue whimsical, oversized flowers! For a fall birthday, you can use orange tissue paper and green washi tape to make party favors shaped like pumpkins! Or you can get tissue paper in your chosen color scheme, make tassels and string them along into a great garland!
Scrapbook or Construction Paper
We’ve all got this stuff laying around–and it seems to breed! One piece here and there suddenly becomes a paper avalanche! You can make paper fans and pinwheels for backdrops, or hang them from the ceiling! For inexpensive goodie bags and boxes, hats, napkin rings signs, banners…you can’t go wrong with scrapbook paper! It can be used on it’s own or paired with recycled paperboard to build oversized props and scenery too! Scrapbook paper is also great for something called a Party Prize Punch–check it out on pinterest and see for yourself!
Felt and Fabric
You can use your leftover fabric and felt to make dress-up items for your guests! Crowns, hats, cat and dog ear headbands, capes, eye patches and masks–anything is possible! You can break out the sewing kit or just grab some fabric glue to put your creations together! One mom made awesome animal-themed ear headbands for her son’s zoo party; another made her daughter a beautiful butterfly-wing cape! We even found an adorable idea to make felt capes for water bottles for a hero-themed party! Pinterest is full of fantastic ideas, too!