Investing in Family: Birthday Parties – Location, Location, Location

Investing in Family: Birthday Parties – Location, Location, Location

They say time flies, and I now agree with them (whoever that mysterious "they" and "them" are). My gals are turning six this year. This year, most of the kids in my girls' kindergarten class have had parties with friends, and guess what my two are clamoring for? You got it: a friend-filled bonanza at a happenin' spot. And what am I clamoring for? You got it again: a happenin' spot that doesn't break the bank.

So begins a new mini-series here at MomVesting about kids' birthday parties. Today, we'll take a look at a few venue choices for the big party day and how they can fit into a budget-minded family while allowing for the celebration of another year on earth.

Home Sweet Home

Don't immediately write off your home as a place to throw a party. For my girls' first through fifth birthdays, we kept the parties at our home. It's not a huge home (roughly a 1400 square foot ranch), but since our guest list wasn't expansive (close friends and family), it still worked for us.

The pros of having a shin-dig in your own home? You don't have to go anywhere or drag presents and decorations to another spot. If throwing a kid's party, they could be more comfortable receiving guests in their own space. Plus, you can be on your own timetable, not dictated by an opening or other events.

That's not to say that there is a potential downside to opening your home up for a party. It could be too small to accomodate a crowd, or maybe you just don't relish the thought of a herd of kids running rampant throughout it.

Another variation on this home theme: moving the party outside (weather permitting) to the back/front yard. Or, having the party at a friend's or family member's home (in which you promise to help clean up both before and afterwards!).

All-In-One Fun

A popular option for parties these days are places that do just about everything for you. You show up with kid in tow and they bring out pizza, drinks and cake for everyone. Plus, they usually offer up some kind of entertainment in the background (think Chuck E. Cheese).

The pros? You really don't have a lot to worry about besides paying the bill. The cons? Paying the bill. Seriously, though, this sometimes can be a costly option, especially if there are a minimum number of guests you have to pay for regardless of how many show up. Plus, these places can get crowded and loud with multiple parties happening throughout the course of the day.

The Middle Ground?

If home or the one-stop options don't appeal to you, consider a nearby venue such as a local park (again, weather and season permitting) or even a church or school gymnasium. Often, you can book these types of places for next to nothing, leaving you some monetary wiggle room for snacks and entertainment. The pros? It's out of your house, and you're not packed in like sardines next to twelve other birthday guests.

Of course, parties are not just about location (if it were only that easy!). There's also food and entertainment to consider. Keep watching for future posts that take on these birthday necessities – with frugal flair, of course!

Photo Source

femmefrugalitly's picture

femmefrugalitly wrote:

Tue, 03/13/2012 - 18:22 Comment #: 1

Park parties are my favorites! Grilling out and playing on playgrounds...what could be better?