Challenge: $100 Birthday Party for Little Girl

Little Girl is turning 4 next week!

Little Girl is a very friendly and social kid.   (The only extrovert in the family, for sure!) She also attends a mixed age school where she gets to hang out with kids 2-5.  For the past two years we’ve ended up inviting EVERYONE to her birthday parties.  Last year, we had 72 people planning to attend.  Luckily a virus running through the school and a snow storm that morning decimated the numbers.  We had only about 45 attend our Winter Wonderland Birthday party.  It was a serious relief!

This year we are trying something different.  For several reasons we decided to go small, “fancy” and much more manageable!

One of those reasons is certainly a deeply felt motivation to save more NOW… so I can work less later J.  This is much more of a challenge than you might expect.  Despite a refusal to do gift bags, a commitment to planning parties that focus on kid created crafts and fun, and all homemade food, these parties can quickly become extraordinarily expensive!  I have developed a habit of buying tons of new arts supplies and hunting down every little craft item to make the project perfect.  And, I ALWAYS end up buying too much.  (Oriental Trading Company, I’m looking at you now!)

This year, I am reformed.  I am putting a $100 limit on Little Girl’s birthday party.  That includes food and cake (!), craft materials, activity materials, paper goods and decorations.  I’m sure for some of you out there, this is not so modest… but if I were to do the math I’m pretty sure this is 1/3 to a ¼ of what I’ve spent in the past.

The most obvious way to do this is to scale back the guest list, dramatically.  Little Girl decided to invite the girls in her class and the class a year ahead.  We have invited 8 girls.  If everyone accepts it will be 10 including the Birthday Girl and Big Girl.  If the parents stick around, we are facing a maximum of 20 people.

Little Girl and I developed the theme of Fairy Tea Party.  On the invitations (which cost $6.99) we asked the kids to wear their favorite dress up clothes and to join us for a magical lunch, tea and cake.

Almost as soon as we decided on this theme I started googling, looking at Pinterest and searching on amazon.  I found the most adorable paper plates that look just like real china ($9.00), charming paper doilies to line other plates ($9 a pack and I had 3 in my cart to review later), and precious paper lanterns (another $9) and some sweet streamers ($4 a pack).  Then I found some awesome fairy making materials (silk flowers $18, ribbon $12) and was just about to go and begin figuring out what awesome items I should buy for wing making.  Then…  I did something really hard.  I emptied my whole cart.  I decided not to spend that $83 (minus tax) and instead use the stuff we have in the house already!

This is my challenge: to throw a fabulous Fairy Tea Party for Little Girl using the stuff we have rather than buying lots of new.  To make it happen, we are putting a limit on the new stuff (including the ingredients for the cake, sandwiches and scones) at $100.

Wish me luck.  Here’s what I’ve spent so far:

  • Invitations: Tea Pot invitations $6.99
  • Craft supplies:  Wooden Doll people $14.99, Paper flower petals $12.99
  • Paper Plates: $3.00
  • Hard plastic tea cups: $17.60

Total so far:  $55.57

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