Tag Archives: celebrating on a dime

A Birthday Party

As you know by now, I love to  challenge myself to keep costs of extras as low as possible.  My son is turning 8 tomorrow and a birthday party has been planned.  I just want to show you guys that a great birthday party doesn’t have to cost a whole lot of money.

Theme:  We purposely picked a theme that is fun and economical.  “Outdoor Summer Fun!”  The main event will be our local ice cream truck stopping at our house and treating the whole party.  The cost of the truck is $50.00 worth of ice cream being bought.  Now this was the extra expense that we had enough in our budget for.   We sacrificed gifts for this to happen. (Don’t worry he is getting a present from mom and dad… it was purchased for like $3.00 on clearance months ago!!)

We will play outdoor games.  I got a wonderful book full of old-fashioned outdoor games from the library.  The book is THE ADVENTUROUS BOOK OF OUTDOOR GAMES by Scott Strother.  It is 293 pages of games.  There is a game for every kind of kid!!!  The best idea for this theme is good clean old-fashioned fun that will be enjoyed by all.

We made our own invitations.  FREE!! We used what we already had!!

Cake:  I will be making a cake.  I decided to spend $22 on fondant icing.  The whole cake will cost less than $25.  Again, the fondant was and extra expense.  My original idea was to be a round cake with white icing and sprinkles.  But again, I had strategically planned our grocery budget to fit this expense.  Instead of a night of roasted chicken, we will eat hot dogs. My original cost of a cake would only have been $.83 for the mix, $1.26 for the canned frosting, and $2.36 for sprinkles. A total of $4.45.  Again, the family is sacrificing a more moderate dinner for a very cheap one to make the $25 cake.

Party Supplies:  I purchased cake plates (I know…. I am against paper but I will compost them!!) and paper napkins for $1.50 on clearance from the 4th of July stuff at Wal-Mart.  Plastic cups were $1.00 at Dollar General.   I also bought $4 worth of juice boxes for the kids to drink.   Plastic cups and juice boxes were only purchased because I didn’t trust my glassware with 8 year old boys outside.  I don’t have enough plastic cups for the whole party.  We will be using real forks though!!  We are baking cookies for take home gifts.  They will be placed in brown paper lunch sacks (they are left over from a year ago).  Baking cookies are roughly $3.00 to make.  My total:  $9.50

Oh, I almost forgot, I found plastic table clothes as I was cleaning my closet yesterday.  We are borrowing a couple of tables from our church.  So  FREE  covered tables!!  YIPPIE!!

Gifts:  We purchased our gift on clearance 6 months ago for $3.00.  It was marked down after Christmas!!  Our daughter purchased a webkin for$12.00.  So he will receive $15.00 worth of gifts.  Remember, gifts are nice but they don’t have to cost you much!!  He is more excited about the party!!  Gift wrap will be Christmas wrapping paper turned inside out and decorated with markers. Again, something we already had!!

Okay, here’s the grand total for our party:

Theme:  $50

Cake:  $25

Party Supplies:  $9.50

Gifts:  $15

Total:  $99.50

Whoa, now that doesn’t sound so cheap does it??? Now, remember, the ice cream truck and cake were extras that we made room for in our budget.  We are sacrificing in order for this to happen. Our original idea would have totaled the following:

Theme:  Free (just games and homemade invitations or phone calls)

Cake:  $4.45 (homemade)

Party Supplies:  $9.50

Gifts:  $15

Grand total:  $28.95

Big Difference!!! The same party without the ice cream truck and a fancy cake is only $28.95!  See a party can be cheap!!

I hope this inspires you to think cheap over convenience.  I know it is a lot easier to pay someplace to have a party.  But, a child can be made to feel special without the place!!  It is your time and love that matters!!

God Bless!!

Going Homemade for Christmas

This year’s goal for our family is to have a good old fashioned homemade Christmas.  We gave the kids the challenge of making us our gifts.  Everyone is up to the challenge.  We have put on our thinking caps and have come up with several ideas.  Most of all we are looking for affordable good quality ideas.  Here’s what we have found:

Homemade scarves

If you knit or crochet, make scarves for the ones you love.  You can get one scarf from a skein of yarn.  You can spend $2.50 at Wal-Mart for a skein or you can spend up to $7-$9 at Michael’s.  If you don’t knit or crochet you can purchase fleece and go to www.stitchnsave.com/fleece/Fleece_Projects.asp for simple instructions for scarves and other fleece projects.  Either way, you will be wrapping family and friends in your love!

Websites with ideas

Go to www.mormonchic.com for a list of crafty ideas for gifts.  There are instructions for each project.  You can find candles, frames and a whole lot more!!

If you are an “About.com” nut, you can find several ideas athttp://familycrafts.about.com/cs/giftgiving/a/120400a.htm

If you have kids you don’t want to miss this website. They have broken down the crafts into age groups. So if you need a gift idea for your toddler to make this website is going to help!! http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/christmasgifts_from_kids.htm


I love to sew. I have found a great website that has free patterns. The patterns are for just about everything imaginable.  You just click and print.  Then cut out the pattern….. easy as pie!!  Check out www.burdastyle.com


If you like to bake for the holidays, you can find lots of Christmas cookie recipes athttp://www.christmas-cookies.com/

There’s cookies for everyone on your list!! EVEN SANTA!!

We are going to add tags to our Christmas gifts.  We will add the Bible story of Jesus’ birth.  We will write blessings and prayers.  We will even add something about Christmas hope, peace and joy!!!  We want all of our family to realize that Christmas is about Christ!!

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Upcycling.  Love that new term.  Love to hear that people have caught the upcycling bug!!  Upcycling, if you don’t already know, happens when you take something old and give it a new purpose.  For example: An old Bike Tire becomes A WALLET!!  By upcycling, we create a new item from something we would normally throw away because it is past it’s prime.

According to many articles, Upcycling is all the rave.  BUT did you know that this has been going on for years but out of neccessity.  My grandmother used worn out shirts collected from her closet and my grandfather’s then made quilts from the material.  She would also upcycle old underwear into dust rags.  Old socks into pin cushions or dolls for me to play with.  When my paternal “Granny” passed away, we found tons of tuna cans that had been washed and given a new life of holding pennies, buttons, and spools of thread.

Upcycling is wonderful!!  Just think how much space we are saving in our landfills…..  So before you throw out that plastic butter dish, think how wonderful it will look after you have covered it in contact paper, added a few jewels and store your earrings in it!!!

Happy Upcycling!!!

My Newest Project

Someone very special to be is getting married in a couple of months.  I have offered to plan and create a “celebration” party after the “I do’s” are exchanged.   I am so excited because the happy couple has agreed to allow me to blog the process and planning of this celebration.

I want this celebration to be the most effecient, low cost, and yes, “green.”   I know the Groom personally and his response is going to be “throw away, ease please!!”  Lovingly, my goosebumps climb up my arm as I think about Mother Earth……  And my response is two-fold, “It will be done out of love….”

I hope, all of you out there, will enjoy this new project!!  If you have any tips, please send them my way!!