In true cheap-o mama fashion (some people call it frugal, I call it cheap), I started looking for sales to give me some direction for his birthday MONTHS ago. I was extremely thankful that my husband's aunt sent me a link back in June for pirate costumes that were on sale at Little Tykes for $0.94 a piece! I was immediately sold. I bought 6 and Mason was going to have a pirate party!!
If you have a lot of kids or if your birthday budgets just aren't as huge as you'd like them, I completely understand. We just don't have the money for a fancy place like Chuck E Cheese or Pump It Up or any of those other money sucking party venues. We have at home birthday parties and I try my best to make them as fantabulous as I can. So, on the never ending quest for creative ways to save I started hitting up my fave site.... PINTEREST (seriously... you should follow me... I pin the best, most amazing stuff and your life will become a little bit brighter just by doing so)... for some pirate themed party ideas and I actually was able to find some super cute stuff!
This leads me to the week before his birthday party. Not only do I like to save but I have been blessed with the gift of procrastination as well! (I know... I'm pretty lucky) So... cue mad scramble and intense mood swings. I was fortunate enough to be able to borrow my friends Cricut machine and I think I might have found the love of my life.... next to my husband of course. The Cricut works great with card stock but I just couldn't justify spending $15 on a pack of multicolored card stock (most of which I wasn't going to use anyway) for one simple project. This led me to the dollar store. (If you know me, you know that I'm extremely attracted to things that are a dollar. I don't know why, it just is what it is. Embrace it.) I was able to find poster board... POSTER BOARD... for only 0.66 a sheet. I got 3 sheets of black and 3 sheets of red for my pirate-y project. That's a whopping $3.96 for the Cricut paper as opposed to the $15 I would have spent on colors I didn't even want!
Here is what my friend's Cricut and my dollar store poster board was able to do! (minus some very cute food signs that I forgot to take individual pictures of)
The paper decor was complete but I just wasn't happy, there needed to be more. I remembered back to another project I saw on Pinterest. Making your own serving dishes! This would allow me to custom make reusable party stuff in exactly the colors I wanted! The project was simple for my purposes... a regular sized black plate, a candle stick holder, and a glass bowl . All of these items are found at the dollar store. That is correct, three things, $3. The result?
I just gotta say... sometimes I really do rock my own socks off.... (also... I made two)
After I got the typical paper plates, napkins and plastic table cloths I decided to round it all out by getting a reusable square plastic plate and reusable square plastic bowl. I glued them together and used it as a cupcake serving plate. Simple... cheap... cute.
So a quick run down of my costs thus far:
Paper Decorations- $3.96
Two serving plate/bowl combos- $6
One cupcake server- $2
Plates/napkins/table cloths- $8
I've found that the food component of the party tends to be among the most expensive and I just couldn't swing it this year so I went simple. For the "main course" I made taco chili in the crock pot ($10) and it was a huge hit! For snacks I had fruits (strawberries, grapes, and pineapple) and blue corn chips and salsa ($20) as well as small water bottles for the kids ($4). And then as opposed to a big cake that can cost about $20-40 I made cupcakes from scratch. Super delicious and 1/4 of the cost, and best of all everyone was happy and full! Awesome.
In the end I ended up spending about $63 (including the costumes I purchased back in June) but my son and all of his friends had as much fun as they would have if we'd spent triple that amount.
Just some fun pictures from the party:
The birthday boy!
All of his little pirate friends... plus older brother and sister
Full Pirate Garb!
The table before the food was added to it...
My son had an amazing time. His friends had an amazing time. And I was truly proud of how it all turned out. So as a summary, there is no shame in borrowing, the dollar store is your friend, and don't be afraid of DIY! You'll be thoroughly surprised with what you can come up with when you open your mind and allow yourself to be creative!