Recently, Nationwide Current Accounts in the UK conducted a survey and found that children’s birthday parties cost families £218: Half of parents admit blowing their original budget with £77 on a venue and £33 on food. You can read the article here.

Whilst this is not excessive compared to some of the parties my children have attended, here are my top tips for fun (and cheap) birthday parties:

Home is best!

Venue hire is expensive, so remove breakables and valuables, cover settees up with washable material, and allow children to run free in your house. And because you are not paying cost-per-guest, you can afford to invite the whole class! I think children have more fun anyway running wild in the garden.

Forget party bags!

Darling, they are so passé! The best thing to take home is memories of a rocking good time, rather than horrible sugary stuff and plastic nasties.

Make your own entertainment

We never hired clowns because my son Jack was terrified of them. But if you think entertainment is a must, then pay an obliging teenager to entertain little guests. My older daughter’s former boyfriend DJ-ed for my youngest child’s birthday, and the eight-year-olds thought that was so cool!

Bring back to old-fashioned activities

Anyone can tell you, it’s the people that counts! Charades, Pin The Donkey’s Tail, Musical Chairs, etc are all good fun if the kids are engaged. How about playing dressing up, or have a bake party? Water pistol shoot-out is an all-time favourite.

Party dress

Get old fabrics, make one up. Or if you don’t have time, check out thrift shops!

The cake

Bake your own (icing it is fun!) and provide simple healthy snacks. Or else get them the night before at the marked down section in the supermarket.

I have always stuck to these six hacks, and without exception, my kids all had unforgettable parties (our parties were legendary for their fun factor). Just as well, because when they were tiny, we never had the money for lavish parties.

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