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Help - 4th birthday on a shoestring budget

(18 Posts)
goodbyesunhellomoon Fri 04-Sep-09 14:27:15

I thought I might possibly be able to get away with it for one more year until we are financially stable, but my DD is totally obsessed with parties at the moment and keeps drawing birthday cakes and talking randomly about the party she's going to have!

1. We are totally skint (Could probably scrape £200 from the grandparents to put towards things though)
2. I live in a little flat so not possible to hold a party in here for more than 2 children! (It's tiny)
3. Weekend venue hire round here is £200 for 3 hours. Even the church halls! (I'm in central london) - with entertainer, balloons, decorations, food, drink on top of that we are talking at least £500 - and that's doing it really cheaply.

Thinking possibly outside? It's early October so should be possible?

Any inspiration really appreciated.

luckylady74 Fri 04-Sep-09 14:39:48

Could you do a tea party with cake and grandparents and then take her and a couple of friends to the cinema?
Or could you go to a local soft play or evn a free museum and then to macdonalds or similar? You could have the cake as a family only tea again.
Or could you move all your furniture into your bedroom and fit 5 friends in for tea afte you've all been swimming/to the park or whatever.
Have you looked into every scout hut,school and so on in the area - or do you know anyone with a large room you could ask to borrow in return for a favour?
Dedcoarations/party bags and so on can all be made/bought at pound shops so don't worry about that.
I have said you can choose between a party or going to a major theme park type place with 1 friend -which is still cheaper in the end if youy use vouchers - if you have tesco vouchers their days out deals are ace.

Overmydeadbody Fri 04-Sep-09 14:43:41

Don't even consider trying to do somethign that costs hundreds of pounds.

Can you 'borrow' a friend or grandparent or other family member's house for the party?

Can you do a small teaparty, with four of her friends, take them to the park and picnic if sunny or home for little indoor picnic if not?

If you limit it to four friends it won't cost a lot.

Entertainers are a waste of money.

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 14:45:15

Ouch at hire costs (our village hall is £11 for the afternoon and I am moaning because it is a bit small - I shall stop complaining forthwith)

It seems venue is the major issue here - there are creative solutions to doing the rest cheaply (no need for an entertainer)

- As luckylady says, if you took all your furniture and piled it into (for example) your bedroom, could you have room for a carpet picnic?

- otherwise, are any of the grandparents close enough to be asked to volunteer their house (if you clear up) in lieu of money?

colditz Fri 04-Sep-09 14:46:00

Invite 3 of her friends, get them into Princess crap, buy a load of sweeties, icing and rich tea biscuits, and do Princess castle biscuit decorations. One round of pass the parcel, job done.

£200? You're 'avin' a larrrrrrrrrrrrrf!

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 14:58:51

LOL Colditz. I am sure I have spent more than £200 on some of DS's (whole class) parties, but pretty sure we have never got to £500, even with 25+ children.

goodbyesunhellomoon Fri 04-Sep-09 15:01:38

Thanks for that

Where I live birthday parties seem such an extravaganza - with everyone trying to outdo each other. It's horrible - but then, not everyone round here is skint! can't wait to move out of London!

Both sets of grandparents unfortunately hundreds of miles away they aren't an option.

Not sure about borrowing someones house.

will have a think!

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 15:09:40

I do know what you mean - having an entertainer, etc, is more or less the 'norm' round here as well, but I have never done it.

If you can't compete, you have to change the rules. Could you go with something along the lines that Colditz suggests - if your DD is into princesses, etc then invite 2 others, spend £10-£15 a head on princess tat stuff, do some kind of craft activity (try Yellow Moon for ideas/kits) and then give them a "grown up" princesses' tea party? I can guarantee they will be talking of nothing else for weeks, and with a bit of judicious moving of stuff into bedrooms I bet you could fit that into your flat.

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 15:10:36

I meant to say invite 3 others, actually - 3 little girls not being a good number IME.

goodbyesunhellomoon Fri 04-Sep-09 15:17:30

Well she's definitely into Disney Princess so that could be good!

I'm looking round the flat now thinking of where I could shove things grin

ninja Fri 04-Sep-09 15:22:06

Near us there's a countryside centre where you can do bug hunting and pond dipping for next to nothing. Would your DD be into something outdoors like that?

What about a treasure hunt outside with VERY obvious clues - the picnic could be more of a challenge but I guess you might find soemwhere with picnic tables?

Have you got a kids club at the local cinema, could she invite a couple of frinds to that?

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 15:25:51

Note, OP, that whatever you choose you are going to have to sell it, hard, to your DD as being unique and special and better than anyone else's birthday - if it is early October you had better decide and start the brainwashing marketing soon.

LadyoftheBathtub Fri 04-Sep-09 15:33:43

A lot of museums and attractions have packed lunch areas where you can eat your own food (eg the science museum, but there may be others your DD would prefer). You could do a trip to the attraction, and take party food and a cake.

Or agree with asking to borrow someone's home. DS is 4 and we have a small garden and all our parties so far have involved a handful of guests playing in the garden/with toys indoors if weather bad, a couple of party games (one pass the parcel, one pin the tail) and a birthday tea/cake. We invite the parents and have some adult nibbles and drinks on the go too. I've never spent more than about £50 on the food, prizes and party bags, all in.

I've been to many parties in venues and with entertainers and IMO they are not any better an experience. Just bigger, louder and more likely to descend into tearful hysteria.

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 15:38:51

LadyoftheB - out of interest - have you tried doing the museum thing?

Maybe it is because I am a country mouse, but the thought of being in sole charge of a selection of other peoples overexcited children in a public place scares me witless.

LadyoftheBathtub Fri 04-Sep-09 15:40:45

I haven't done it for a party, but if it was a party I'd keep the numbers down (5 or so? definitely no more than 8) and invite parents too. I wouldn't do it without a good group of parents to keep control. (I don't think I'd do a party at home either!)

goodbyesunhellomoon Fri 04-Sep-09 16:02:06

I remember as a kid going to swimming parties!!! Alone, without my parents.

I just could not for the life of me entertain the thought of managing 20 odd kids in a pool, wave machine going and only one or 2 other parents giving me a hand!

stealthsquiggle Fri 04-Sep-09 16:21:01

They won't let you even if you were brave mad enough to try it - DS has been to swimming parties and they mandate 1 adult to every 2 children in the pool - and some child still managed to have to be rescued by a lifeguard shock. Swimming parties are the only parties which I put my foot down and force DH to take DS to.

frazzled74 Fri 18-Sep-09 23:57:24

DD started school last year and has been to lots of great parties that must have cost at least £200-£300. I was worrying about competing, then she went to a party held in someones normalsized terraced house, 6 children in all,they did pass the parcel, decorated cupcakes and made tiaras,they ate homemade pizza and cupcakes.she has not stopped raving about this party.

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