A Frugal Birthday

Disclaimer:  This post is being written later in the evening than most of my other posts.  This is because I was busy making cow costumes for my family to get a free meal tomorrow at one of our favorite fast food restaurants.  Sometimes it seems I’ll do anything for something free.

IMG_0297Last week we celebrated our oldest child’s fifth birthday.  Though we had celebrated her younger sister’s third birthday this past fall in Wisconsin, this particular birthday felt very different from the others we have celebrated with our kids.

In Virginia, our birthday celebrations looked pretty much the same:  I would spend most of the money on food, a bit on balloons, easy decor, and plasticware, then invite at least 30 friends and family members to eat with us and share cake with the birthday girl.

I had lots of help for these birthday celebrations, in addition to my husband, I’d usually have a friend or two, my sister-in-law, parents, and maybe my own sister helping me to cook and prepare.

With a fresh start in Wisconsin, I wanted to change up our birthday routine.  A change in our normal birthdays will take my girls’ minds off missing all of the friends and family we used to be near to.  I was hoping to celebrate the fact that we’ve made new friends.

I was also hoping to stick to a tight budget in light of our new financial goals.

Here is how we celebrated:

  • I asked my daughter what would mean the most to her for her birthday.  What she wanted most of all was a cake with Elsa and Anna (from Disney’s Frozen) on it.  Fortunately for me, my dad pays for our Sam’s Club membership, so we were able to get a half sheet cake with Elsa and Anna on it for under $20.  (Side note:  my daughter was so excited that the cake actually had her name on it.  I love the innocence of children.)
  • Instead of feeding everyone a meal, which is more necessary when you invite more adults and/or have older children, I made the party earlier in the afternoon.  We served easy, inexpensive snacks like string cheese, baby carrots, and “snowman building” snacks (marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and chocolate chips).  I grabbed some lemonade to wash it all down.  Snacks set me back about $15.
  • To continue with the Frozen theme, I grabbed a snowflake covered plastic table cloth, and pink plates and plasticware (birthday girl’s request).  Target delivered for $7.
  • Finally, we needed napkins and cups.  Both set me back $3.

We invited my daughter’s new friends to the park early in the afternoon, and fortunately for us, the local town pool is in the park my daughter chose.

The kids spent a couple hours having snacks, swimming in the kiddie pool, and playing on the playground.  I’m not sure about everyone else’s children, but my girls had a great time.  They slept well that night, too!

The local town pool charges a small fee for moms bringing their children to the kiddie pool, so all in all, we gave our little five year old a fun birthday party for about $50.

The best part:  When asked the next day how her birthday was, our little big girl said it was her best birthday party ever.

Of course, she probably doesn’t remember the last four…

But I’ll take it!

Milestone Birthday Over Here


This little beauty turned 5 years old yesterday.

There is an immense amount of innocence, yet some seriously profound wisdom that comes with the 5-year-old heart and mind.  Her smile and laughter exudes joy.  She is insatiably curious about the world and the way it works.  She feels so deeply, not only for herself, but for others as well.

This little girl was celebrated yesterday with friends and family at her new favorite place:  the local pool.  In light of our new budgeting arrangements, we tried to keep the costs on our celebration as small as possible, while still making our big girl feel special.  I’ll detail more about how we did this in a post next week.

Enjoy your weekend, readers.