Lately, bloggers have received a lot of backlash for having their children's parties hosted or sponsored by companies. The general feel is that this creates unrealistic expectations on mamas and puts pressure on us to throw extravagant parties that cost a fortune.
I am here to tell you that I am a self-confessed over-eager mom. I am a teacher, so I think its in my blood to laminate, print and type name labels LOL. But I also understand the average mom on the street (i.e. ME! Two teachers in one household means we aren't going to be blowing cash freely) can't afford most of the luxuries that influencers portray on their social media feeds these days.
I am here to reassure you that you CAN indeed throw a fabulous party for your child on a very limited budget. Please follow me on my step-by-step journey of throwing the ultimate PJ Masks party for my little guy. We set the budget at R1000 and this included all expenses, from invitations, to adult snacks, to the party bags, the cake and string used to put up the bunting. Everything.
Yes, I could have used the amazing designer who I usually use for invitations BUT, on my strict budget I knew that my invitations had to be free. Therefore I did a good old Google search and discovered a plethora of FREE and editable invitations. You can literally search for thousands of free invitation designs.
Next tip - DO NOT waste money printing invites. They get lost, misplaced, thrown out! I Whatsapp a digital invite to each guest. That way they can revert back to it at anytime and it literally costs nothing to send it.
I downloaded the invitation from PosterMyWall. Here is the link to the page with the editable PJ Masks invitation. They have many other designs too!
TOTAL COST FOR INVITATIONS: FREE
Pinterest has loads of free decorations that you can print straight off of your computer!
PJ Masks bunting can be found on here. (Although I ended up buying bunting from All about Celebrations for R34!)
Cupcake toppers can be downloaded here.
Who doesn't love popcorn? Popcorn boxes here. I printed them smaller as I don't see 3 years old polishing off an enormous box of popcorn.
Amazing center pieces of Owlette, Gekko and Cat Boy can be downloaded here (A4 size)
There is a party store in Retreat with a wide range of themes on offer. Here I bought themed PJ masks bunting (R34). The store is called All About Celebrations and here is the link.
I found knock-off PJ Masks serviettes at a Chinese shop for R12!
Printing costs R40
I projected each character onto my projector at school (perks of the job) and traced each picture. A friend and I then painted each character which didn't take very long at all. I used these as part of the backdrop. The silhouette of the city at night was made from black cardboard.
TOTAL COST OF DECOR: R156
3) Food for the kids
I think it is beyond ridiculous that kids come to a party, inhale food, and then leave with MORE food. No, just NO! I decided to pack a party pack for each child to enjoy at the party and then decided on a gift to take home after the party (later in this article).
I discovered a local wholesaler (one is right on my doorstep and I never even knew it!) 1UP Cash & Carry sells goods at wholesale prices. Find your closest branch here. I also made use of Wrap 'n Pack in Retreat - Nik Naks bulk buy available. Here is their link.
Party pack costs: (Based on 30 children at the party)
Party box - x30 R75 Cost per unit: R2.50
Kit Kat 20g bars x36 - R109 (Cost per unit: R1.60)
Milkmelo lollipops x55 - R38 (Cost per unit: 70c)
Nik Naks x50 - R50 (Cost per unit: R1)
Party blowers x30 - R50 (Cost per unit: R1.60)
TOTAL COST PER CHILD FOR PARTY BAGS: R7,40
TOTAL COST FOR 30: R222
Evidence that if you shop wisely, a party of this size can still be easy on the pocket!
I mustn't forget to add that we bought Gattis ice-creams for the kids! We paid R60 for a box of 30. We live near the factory shop in Military Road, Steenberg, so that was lucky!
We also bought 2 bags of popcorn to fill the little popcorn boxes.
TOTAL COST FOR KIDS' FOOD: R305
4) Party favours for the kids
Something to take home to remember the celebration! And NOT more food. We sent home some Night Ninja Sticky Splat Slime! BUT it wasn't slime because that's way too much work, too messy and much pricier! So my mom made orange play dough which worked just as well!
Here is the recipe for Night Ninja Sticky Splat Slime (a.k.a orange play dough). I designed the label for it using my Canva app. Sign up is free! Realistically, I think the playdough cost roughly R80 to make.
Cupcakes were made at R7 each and the cupcake stand was R45.
TOTAL COST FOR PARTY FAVOURS: R335
5) Food for the adults
Mini samoosas were kindly donated by a parent in my class - I insisted I pay for 'blog research' but she insisted that I didn't... so thank you to Mrs Kleynhans. Perks of being a teacher and having awesome parents!
Next, I'd suggest you turn to your good old mom and mom-in-law for some donations here. (They offered - I promise I didn't ask!) Mom whipped up some yummy sandwiches and Mom-in-Law brought some pies and eclairs. Even hubby's aunty wanted to bring a milk tart, so family really does help in situations like this!
I went and bought 8 cooldrinks from the 7/11 as I had planned to fill drink dispensers with cooldrinks. I went and bought two the day before, but they ended up leaking all over the table! Twenty minutes before the party started I had to roar down to the shops to buy the cooldrinks. This was unfortunately an unplanned cost. The cooldrinks cost R160.
TOTAL COST FOR ADULTS' FOOD: R160
6) The cake
My suggestion - do NOT go to a professional baker. The cake will look awesome but you will be paying a small fortune for it. My mom and I were all set to make the cake ourselves until my friend Nix Kallis offered to make it as Nunu's gift. How could I say no? Have a look at her gorgeous baked goods here.
TOTAL COST FOR CAKE: FREE
You want to have memories of this special day to look back on, but professional photographers are frightfully expensive. If you're like me, you're so busy being the hostess that you forget to take any pics.
Ask a friend who has a camera to take photos. For Nunu's first birthday, my friend Inky brought his dad's camera and snapped some great pics for me. This year, I am using Lerone from Labelle Vita. I was lucky enough to win this prize through a competition on the Cape Kids Collab page!
TOTAL COST FOR PHOTOGRAPHY: FREE
FINAL COST FOR THE PARTY: R956
So chuffed that we made it! We had 30 children at the party and over 50 adults. Success!