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Five Rules to Help You Determine a Budget for a Child’s Birthday Party

By Luwen Qiu on August, 16 2019

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Luwen Qiu

Average reading time: 3-5 minutes.

It is a question many parents are wondering about - how much should I spend on a kids birthday party? It is not an easy question to discuss with your mom friends, and when you try to do some research online, the answers are all over the place. Ultimately, what anyone will tell you about party budget is that it depends. This is a very popular topic for discussion, and we have already published a blog on this, discussing the average costs and priorities when it comes to planning a child’s birthday party. For this blog, we are focusing on five general rules of thumb that will help you determine how much you should spend on a kids party, realistically.

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How much do I feel comfortable spending on a kids party?

While it is never easy to determine a budget for a child's birthday party, first ask yourself this gut question based on an assessment of the financial situation of your particular household. And this should always be the most important rule when it comes to setting a party budget. A big and fancy party might seem like a fun idea, but it is never worth it if it ends up impacting your standard of living. Second, asking yourself if you are comfortable with a certain budget also means that you should keep in mind that a birthday party is also an opportunity to educate your children about finances. From the party, your child gets an idea of what is acceptable to spend for an occasion like this and what to expect in the future. At last, with each party you throw for your kid, he or she will get accustomed to a certain level of expectations for how big the party is and what kind of gifts will there be. Therefore, when you and your partner are setting a party budget, remember that it is not only a consideration based on your current finances but also a decision that affects the future.

What is the bare minimum to put together a party?

Now that you know what you can afford, this next question will help you set a bottom line. Just because you have a budget doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Here is a list of basic elements for any birthday party just to keep in mind: 

  • A venue
  • Plates and utensils
  • Food or light snacks
  • A birthday cake and candles
  • Entertainment
  • Decorations
  • Party favors

But having all these elements at your party doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy them all. With your party theme and guest list in mind, try to determine what you have on hand that can be used for the party and what you need to purchase. For instance, is it a party that can be more easily held in the apartment without renting a venue? If so, you can consult our helpful blog about how to successfully host a party in a small apartment. Are the utensils you already have enough for the party? What decorations can you reuse from previous parties or make yourself? Having a bottom line in mind will help you save money effectively, and you’ll have a clearer view for how much more you can spend in case you decide to build the party into something fancier. 

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How long is my guest list?

While contemplating how much you want to spend on a kids party based on our list above, you may have noticed that it depends heavily on how big the party is. 

Keep in mind that it is always a trade off between the size of your party and your budget for party essentials. The more people you decide to invite, the more you will need to spend on things like a bigger venue, more food, more party favors, etc. And not to mention that if your child is younger than three, there is a good chance that many parents will stay for the party as well. 

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How much time and energy do I have for preparing the party?

While spending money is one aspect of party planning, the more exhausting aspect is how much time and energy a party requires, and this question helps you strike a balance between the two. If you have a lot of time and energy when preparing for the party, there are many online resources you can take advantage of. Looking at the list of party essentials, you will notice that snacks, the birthday cake, decorations and party favors can all be made from home. Even the entertainment can be craft projects and games you prepare in advance. One of the most useful resources is our Pinterest boards, where we have pooled together easy-to-do crafts, recipes and tutorials for kids birthday parties of various themes. On the other hand, if you are short on time, the good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to plan a party either. Although a professional party planner costs a fortune, here at Partify, we offer a free one-click party planning service to help you find all the vendors who are close to you and fit your requirements.

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How many kids birthday parties are we attending this year?

Here is the final question you should take into consideration before setting a budget. When it comes to kids parties, it is not a splurge opportunity for a once-in-a-year event. Instead, your kid is attending many other kids parties every year, and the cost of gifting really adds up. Although it depends on many elements, generally speaking, people spend around $15-$20 on birthday gifts for other kids. The good news is that the new trend of “fiver parties” is catching on, where each guest pitches in $5 for a big gift. It is a great way to simplify and reduce the cost of future gift giving, which we explored in our previous blog post. But for the time being, when you plan for a kids birthday party, it makes more financial sense to make a quarterly or yearly plan to outline all kids parties you will possibly attend. And by factoring in how much you will spend on gifting others, you can make a more conscious decision when it comes to determining a budget for your own child’s birthday party.

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