Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kid's Birthday Party for under $500 or less

I'm very inspired right now to share you this thought. I'm on the process of once again preparing a birthday party for my son's 2nd year celebration.  I don't know if this is a tradition for you, but with all my children I've prepared big birthday parties from the time they turn 1 until they turn 3 years old. After turning 3 we usually do our little special gathers in a different way. But for the past 8 years, with all my childrens party, I have never had to spend more than $500 for their big birthday parties, at least, as far as I can remember. I say big parties, because it would consist of more than 50 people. So I thought this would be interesting to share. Although it will take more than one article to make a list of  things I've done that kept it to the budget. So please be patient with me as I re-collect my memories of a fun but frugal birthday parties of the past. To start with this topic, I want to share with you the invitations part of party planning.

Making your own invitations. Okay, so there are, of course, other options to do this. You can go bargain hunting at clearance racks from different stores for invitation cards that is all ready for you to write in the party information. But I really like designing my own invitations ever since I planned my own wedding day.  And besides, I rather print than write each 60-80 invitation cards by hand. Ooh that would give me cramps! The other options is, having someone else make it for you, like VISTAPRINT. Anyway, if having it ordered from somewhere else will eat up my $500 budget, I wouldn't go that route.  Besides, my husband will never agree to that. But I am telling you it is possible to do it yourself that you don't have to go broke in planning a toddler's birthday party. Here is how to make your own invitation:
  • Use your computer. Learn to use the graphics program that came with it. You don't need to know photoshop to do this. I have a MacBook, and I have the iWork Pages software installed. It's one of my favorite programs. It comes with templates ready for me to "redesign". I redesign, or I basically use the template to guide me where I want things but don't necessarily have to be stuck on that. I like postcard size invitations. So after designing the card. I cut and save it as a .tiff file. This way the program Preview can resize it. "Preview", is the application that can view pdf, jpeg, tiff files, and edit it too. Now I haven't touched a PC since I got my MAC. All I know from my past experience with PC software such as, the Word Processor, it can't do what Pages can do with graphics. I don't know about the recent Word software.
    • In designing an invitation card, you have to be creative, but don't over do it. All you need is the important information: WHAT, WHEN, WHERE. If you like being creative add a picture of the birthday celebrant as a background, or a side picture. Then add a short message of invitation. Sometimes I like to write a short rhyme/poem about the party. For instance, this upcoming party our theme is Prince and Princess. So I wrote a poem something like this (well, I'm not really good at it, but I thought it was just fun to do):
"Come as a prince, come as a princess.
Let's read and color the day away 
and celebrate my very 2nd birthday on...."
    • If you have a Costco membership, this can apply to you.  Because I like the postcard style on a birthday invitation, I only wanted to print on one side.  In which it gave me the idea of having printed at Costco. Or I'm pretty sure, other places that you can get pictures printed can do the same. So after designing the card and saving it as a jpeg file, you can go online and order these invitations just as you would order regular prints for 13 cents per (at Costco). Now for this particular party I ordered it as a 4x6 print, because it's just the right size for a small envelop that you can purchase from a paper store, or arts and craft store. 
    • Envelops are always a good touch to the invitation. It gives a personal touch, and makes it really special to give it your friends and family. For under $4 you can buy a 4.5 x 5.7 envelops. Here's the catch. Your prints are 4x6 in size, then you need to chop down the invitation. This must be take into consideration as you design the card. Give room for cropping. Anyway, the envelop cost me $2.99 per 25 envelops at Joann's craft store. I had to purchase 3 to send 55 invitations.  And because Joann's give coupon discounts that brings down my price lower.  This can happen to you too if you be a part of their Ad mailer, and also sign up for their homeschool teacher reward and get %15 discount all the time. Read more at Joann's website.
So after all the designing and printing, and shopping for envelops and stamps. My invitation came out to about $16 for 55 invitations. But of course it also depends on how many you're inviting. Although I made some comparison at Vistaprint, and right now they have a sale for 50 cards it will cost $18.49, not including the shipping yet.

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