Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Birthday Party Budget

Henry's birthday is coming up, and I find myself wanting to jump right into the details (ahem, I may or may not have already started creating the invitations on Tiny Prints). The problem is we haven't even set a budget. If we continue along the planning path without a budget, it will be so easy to spend a little here and a little there without even realizing that the grand total way exceeds what is sane and reasonable for a two-hour celebration that the kid will only remember through photographs.

And honestly, we can't afford to throw around cash we don't have. We're trying to save up enough money to build our dream house. And it's a two-hour celebration forcryingoutloud. (So I may not get those invitations from tiny prints after all...).

So, given our monetary constraints and the fact that it's only a birthday party, what feels like a reasonable amount for us? We do need to factor in that we'll have to serve lunch, since Henry's best time is from 11:30-1:30. My gut says $100. That number feels high enough to serve lunch but not too high to feel over-the-top-wasteful (although $100 could buy a trio of rabbits, a flock of ducks, and a flock of chicks for a family in a developing nation).

Hmm...if $100 feels right, maybe we should spend $50 of it on the party and then make a $50 donation in Henry's name? Or maybe an $80 party and a $20 donation to Heifer International?

I put it into an Excel spreadsheet and played with the numbers to see how it feels. In the budget, I also included the percent of the total to help ground myself in reality. For example, even though $10 feels okay for invitations, 13% of the total budget on something that most guests will throw away might be a bit much.

I'm eager to start planning this party now that we have a budget in mind!

Today on Feeding the Soil: A farewell letter to the fair city of Houston.

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Carrie said...

As I started reading, I thought, "Tiny Prints invitations are totally not worth the money." So glad you concluded that! My guess is that you could easily do the party for $50. I bet your friends wouldn't mind a potluck, you could make the invitations, etc.

Anonymous said...

Growing up my parents didn't have a whole lot of money. When I was little they had just purchased their first home. Every year for our birthday my parents would throw a small party at our house. Usually, the party consisted of some family members or friends, food, and cake.

Honestly, I have fond memories of a lot of my birthday parties. We had such simple Birthdays growing up and it was so nice. Sometimes, we never even had Birthday decorations hanging up. When planning your sons Birthday, keep it simple. You can do simple food like ordering a pizza and having cake. Or you could make a nice home cooked meal and have a homemade cake. You could also have a pot luck party too. Decorations, you can buy at the dollar store. Or, you can sew a few birthday bunting signs.

Your son is turning one and he won't really remember anything at all. I don't remember my first birthday. Keep your sons party simple. Make it something everyone will look back on and enjoy. When I look back and watch the home video's of the simple birthday parties my parents put together I really do miss them. Honestly, those were so wonderful times in my life. Simple is always better!!

-Jodi :)

Catoctin Mountain Mama said...

Have you looked at Paperless Post? We used them for both our wedding and our baby shower and are probably going to use them for Lina's 1st Birthday. My Inner Artist loves their designs and the Inner Environmentalist loves the fact that there is zero waste.

Another option is reusing old cards (or ugly new ones) and extra envelopes. You and Henry could have fun using edible paint to cover the fronts of the cards. (I'm planning on going this route for the thank you cards).

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