This Page

has been moved to new address

Ways to Live Large On a Small Budget: Series - Post #1

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
randomosity: Ways to Live Large On a Small Budget: Series - Post #1

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ways to Live Large On a Small Budget: Series - Post #1

I just finished the book 10,0001 Ways to Live Large On a Small Budget, by the writers of Wise Bread. I looked for it on Amazon, just to provide a link for everyone. It says there are used copies of this book from $7.49. I, however, recommend just checking it out from your local library. Even though it's a great book, I wouldn't spend the money on it - but I'm a cheapskate when it comes to books. :)

This book includes many hints, tips, tricks, and ideas on saving money and living on a small budget. Overall, I'd give the book 4 out of 5 stars. I love the layout - it's very simple, colorful, and easy to navigate through the different topics.

I am starting a series where I will go over my favorite parts in the book. How to Throw an Inexpensive Kids' Birthday Party is my first topic. Mostly because Grace is turning 5 next Sunday, and I'm pretty darn good at planning inexpensive kids' parties. I do have to admit, though, that this year we are having Gracie's party at The Little Gym. It cost $200, and on top of that I have to buy cake, presents, and make her outfit. BUT, at this time we are super busy and I just didn't want to plan a party. Woah, that makes me sound like a spoiled child lol. Sorry, sometimes I have those days. :)

Some of these ideas are from the book, others are from various internet sites, and the rest are from me.

Having a party at home can be the most frugal option for any party. If you're like me, though, and live in a cracker-jack-box-sized-apartment, that isn't an option - unless your guests are Oompa Loompas. Getting your house in shape for guests is often difficult, especially when the kids are constantly running behind you undoing what you just did.

Other free or inexpensive options include reserving space at a local park (that cost us $20 last year), the clubhouse in your neighborhood, or even at your church/synagogue/place of worship. The book raves about reserving a baseball field at a nearby park only costing them $10 -- this price can vary greatly in your area, so check into it before you set this idea in stone.

A skating party can be inexpensive (we once rented the rink for 2 hours for $50), as can swimming parties (I'm too paranoid for those), or even bowling alley parties (the cost of these varies greatly, but generally speaking it's best to have one during the day on a weekday).

With goodie bags, don't go overboard. You can easily go to the Dollar Tree (union workers here are boycotting, so I haven't been there in a while..*sigh*), Dollar General (they're getting pricey!), or another Dollar Store, to get last minute items for treat bags. However, if you plan it all out ahead of time, you can order from Oriental Trading and fill goodie bags with lots of cool stuff for under $1.

When thinking of what foods to serve, remember that kids probably won't eat much if they're busy having fun. Hot dogs are super cheap - you can do hot dogs chopped up and served on tooth picks (I'm sure there's a fancy name for those), beanie weenies, cheese cubes (that can get expensive but if you buy a block of cheese and cut it up yourself, you'll do fine). Pizzas are only $5 each at Little Ceasar's. We bought 5 of those and had MORE than enough, because the kids were busy playing at the park. Make your own cake, skip the ice cream if you want to. Big bowls of chips also go over well and are fairly inexpensive.

It all boils down to having fun. Your guests will have as much fun as you want them to have. Take the time out to plan the party, and your guests will notice. While the kids probably won't appreciate your attention to detail, their parents surely will. Be flexible, and don't expect everything to be perfect. After all, kids are involved...

Other helpful articles when planning a birthday party:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Future posts will include:

Tips for Cutting Out Cable TV Without Missing Your Favorite Shows
Sneaky Ways to Win Ebay Auctions and Save a Fortune
Ways to Pay Less Money for a College Degree
Ways to Homeschool for Less
Ways to Simplify Your Budget
The FDCPA and Your Rights (credit card collections information)
How to Answer the Most Common Interview Questions (jobs)
How to Become a Mystery Shopper
Cash Saving Resources (such as

Labels: , ,


At February 27, 2010 at 8:54 PM , Blogger Missy said...

Thanks. I feel bad for my kids.They haven't had a birthday party every year. We have had a few...some at Mc Donalds and some at home. But Their birthdays are all in the winter so it is too cold to have an outdoor party , my house is too small to invite guests , and most years I haven't had the money to do a party. They get to come with me each year and choose their own cake though. Or some years they have just got to help me make a cake if I couldn't buy one. Here is hoping to one day , that they can each have a great party :D

At February 28, 2010 at 7:14 AM , Blogger Tree Huggin Momma said...

I love planning birthday parties. I am known as the "Queen of Birthday Parties", when I take the time to plan I end up spending very little, but when I get rushed because I have Halloween, a Birthday, Girl Scout Cookie Sales (Troop Cookie Mom and SU Cookie Gal), a Homecoming event...... it can get a bit more pricey (or not), and the kids still have a lot of fun.
I make sure the kids have plenty to do and lots of time several things don't get done. I also don't do treat bags (because I am not a candy fan), instead I pick a couple of activity/crafts for them to do to take when they go home, I have never had a complaint about doing it this way.
Currently I am working on a Club theme for my to be 12 year old and we are trying to keep it cool (Its CLUB ICE afterall) and keep it in the budget. Decor and Sound is already covered from that which we have, and we were just given a bunch of white gift bags which we are going to decorate up for swag bags. We are going to use bottle caps (metal kind) to make magnetic buttons (this has to work for boys and girls) and I think we are going to come up with a photo frame from recycled materials in the ICE theme.
Food is being kept simple: Mini Burgers (so simple and fun), Ice bowl of fruit salad, salsa (homemade - cause the kids love my salsa) and pita chips. Why so lite? They are going to be dancing all night long. Cake (my DD doesn't like traditional cake) so we are doing frozen cupcakes made of ice cream and cookie dough (no egg).

At February 28, 2010 at 9:30 AM , Blogger Deb said...

good kids favorite parties were the home parties...with more imagination than money being spent...their friends enjoyed them also...

At February 28, 2010 at 9:31 AM , Blogger Deb said...

another all the little toys you get from kids meals....and use them for your goodie bags...

At February 28, 2010 at 4:32 PM , Blogger said...

Ooh I never thought of kids' meal toys. We don't buy them when we go out to eat, but they are usually free (still in bags) at yard sales!

At February 28, 2010 at 7:03 PM , Blogger Erika said...

Woo Hoo! Happy Birthday Grace!!!.....And you don't sound spoiled at all. You are making her an outfit for crying out loud and I can only imagine you are also making invitations. I come from a family whose greatest skill finding the cheapest vendor or going without.

Hope she has a great party!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home