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Plan Your Military Child's Birthday on a Budget

Children celebrating

Having a birthday party for your child can sometimes lead to more stress than fun, and often that's because we plan too elaborate of a party and end up blowing our budget.  We sometimes fail to remember that our child doesn't need an extravagant event to have a great birthday.  We can easily make a dream birthday party for our children and not end up putting a huge dent in our wallets!

Here are my top 6 ways to save money on birthday parties:

1. Pick A Free Venue

Host the party at your home, a church activity building, or fire department that only requires a donation. Also, many local parks have covered shelters that provide great locations for parties, and the entertainment is free!  Check with your local military installation to see what they can offer for a lower price than what you can find off base (such as bowling alleys). If you're determined to have the party at an amusement park, be sure to check out the special military savings here that many parks offer to military members.

2. Don't Overdo Goody Bags

Send home one simple item that is actually something the child will use.  For my superhero party last year I gave each child a flashlight with a Batman symbol on it so they could send their own bat symbols.  Another friend of mine handmade Mario and Luigi hats for her son's party that the children got to wear during the party but that also served as the favor.

3. Cut Down The Guest List

Your child's entire class does not need to be invited.  You can have a small party for your child's closest friends and maybe save the bigger parties for milestone birthdays.  I have a friend who throws huge parties on even birthdays and another one that just does it on birthdays with 5's (5th, 10th, etc).

4. Say No To Costly Entertainment

Create a themed party like cooking or crafting and that will save big on entertainment costs.  Children can create their own cupcakes (which can also save money on the big cake), or create their own jewelry.  Even something as simple as painted rocks would be popular and can also serve as party favors!

5. Do It Yourself Decorations

Designing your own decorations can be fun, and your child can help.  If you are low on time be sure to use the special military savings that some businesses offer such as Party City, Shindigz and Michaels.  Another tip is to pick simple colors for plates, napkins, and cups.  You can also buy plain colored balloons and draw characters on them to save big.  They don't have to have images to match the theme of the party, as long as the colors do everything will look great.

6.  Don't Provide An Entire Meal

Stick with cake and ice cream. Schedule the party for a "non-meal" time so that you don't have to provide a meal plus dessert.  You can save big by not splurging on pizza or other meal items.  You can always offer small and frugal snacking options if you feel the need to feed your guests more than cake.

Have you had a successful and frugal birthday party?  What's your favorite money saving tip?

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Contributor

Sharon Wood is a wife and mom to two active boys. She also blogs at Momondealz,  where she helps her readers use coupons and freebies to stay within their budget. Her background as a former elementary school teacher also helps provide her fans with kids' crafts that are educational, fun, and frugal.

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