Next Friday we're hosting a birthday party for my 7 year old daughter. I'm feeling pretty calm about it, but that wasn't always the case. I remember one year I picked out a bunch of party favors and when the cashier rung them up they totalled three times my budgeted allotment for the whole party!
I'm a little savvier these days. I'm also stubborn. I believe in celebrations that don't break the bank. I also believe that if I host a low-cost party, other parents will feel comfortable hosting low-cost parties of their own. That feels much better to me than setting the bar uncomfortably high.
So how am I keeping my daughters' party low-cost? This year I'm having a cooking theme. I'm make pizza dough ahead of time in bulk and each child will be able to roll out their own personal pizza, and put on toppings. To cut costs when I make pizza I buy canned pasta sauce (under $2.00 per can), huge blocks of cheese from the warehouse store, and uncut pepperoni. For meat-lovers, you can also simply brown a bunch of cheap ground beef and add garlic and italian herbs.
While the pizza is cooking the kids will frost and decorate pre-made cupcakes. After lunch they'll play some traditional party games, and have some free time. Their goody bags will contain homemade prezels and cookies. I'm praying for sunshine, but we'll improvise if the kids need to be inside the whole time.
Simple, fun, yummy....done!