10 Eco Friendly Money Saving Tips for Kid's B-day Party
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The Kid's Birthday Party Club! Comes With Green Solutions
Below are 10 planet friendly money saving ideas for a kid's birthday party. There is a eco-frugal tip for just about everything at a birthday party: wrapping paper, birthday gifts, party plates, balloons, invitations, pinatas, food, goody bags, party decor and after party. If I missed something please feel free to let me know. The tips are simple and kid enjoyable. Trust me it wont make a boring birthday party. It does involve some imagination, frugal thinking, and kid fun as well as adult fun crafts.
Birthday Party Poll
How Planet Friendly is your kid's birthday party?
Why EVITE Saves Paper and money
I'm a big fan of EVITE. For any celebration I throw (usually my kids birthday parties) I use Evite, a website that allows you to send party invitations for free. It works like this: I log in, type up my invitation then I email it to multiple recipients in seconds. My recipients then respond by logging onto Evite and letting me know if they can make it, not make it or maybe. It is all very organized, easy, free and very eco-friendly. If a recipient does not have an email, like my parents or I don't know someone's email (ex. my kid's friends parents) I print out an invitation on my recycled office paper and give her the invitations to hand out in person.
Evite isn't the only eco-friendly invitation alternative. There are also invitations made out of recycled paper, tree free invitations (not made with paper but instead with other sustainable material), and seeded invitations (embedded with seeds). These type of eco-invitations tend to be a bit pricier though and I usually would not spend the money on them if I have a free and more eco-friendly option.
There is also the option of making homemade invitation out of recycled paper and other material you have around the house. This can be a fun kid-friendly/family craft, but it is time consuming so...it depends on time.
Make Paper Balloons For Wall Decor
There are even eco-alternatives for balloons. Make paper balloons for the walls. Making balloon cast with flour glue and newspaper for table centerpieces. Balloon shaped streamers can be used again and again. Framed balloon paintings and drawings can be hung on the wall for birthday and put away when the party is over. If your kid really wants real balloons... blow up a few her and her and her friends, but make the balloon decor eco-friendly.
Even the decorations can be eco-friendly
For my party decor this year I turned to freecycle and resale shops. One woman from freecycle offered me a small box full of left over party items from her kids left overs. Between some of that decor and the resale shops I managed to get enough decor on the wall for my daughter to appreciate the new decor. She was so happy. She'd grown bored of the same old Birthday Party stuff we had been using for year. I have thrown out the old stuff yet. As I gather more decor I plan to incorporate it all and switch it up here and there.
Leftover material to collect from others
Go online and post a want ad or ask friends and family for their left over and/or gently used party materials. Collect it all and then create your very own imaginative themes party. Use it to decorate or to let the kids play with. These items can also be found at resale shops. What else should I add to the list?
- fun hats
- dressup accessories
- paper balloons
- someone's left over party decor
- party art
- fresh cut flowers from your garden center pieces in recycled redecorated plastic bottles (fun kid craft)
Cardboard, Newspaper and Wrapping Tissue You Saved
For the Pinata
Making a pinata isn't as hard as you think. My husband and I made one this year for my daughter's birthday. Ours wasn't perfect but it was much better than expected and so much easier to make than the balloon pinata. It was much bigger and more durable too. My daughter loved it! and that was enough for me.
Where does the food come from
Making the birthday food yourself is less expensive and healthier, but it also more time consuming. So, if you're limited on time make some of the food yourself and buy the rest. No one said it's a rule to do all or none. Also if you buy food buy food buy in bulk if you can and buy food with the least amount of packaging. If financially able, buy organic and/or locally grown foods.
For the cake, my favorite boxed cake mix is Organic Arrowhead Mills Cake Mix. I buy it from Amazon at the subscribe and save price. Then I make my own homemade cake frosting. My family loves this cake mix too. It is simple to make, it's cheaper than a premade store bought cake and it tastes much much better. Sometime I use this same cake mix to make my cupcakes.
My party meals consist of a lot of finger foods. They are easy to make. I cut the veggies and place them on a reusable tray. I pop popcorn, pour out a bowl of organic chips (on sale), serve a bowl of mixed nuts or chex mix and then present the sandwiches. This year I also included a homemade very easy to make fruit salad consisting of a variety of fruits, nuts, granola and yogurt. Yum!.
My party spread changes a bit here and there in flavors and side dishes, but it remains pretty much finger food and everything is served on reusable plates (my regular plates).
Plates, Cups and Cutlery
What you serve it on matters too...
The most economical and eco-friendly option to serve food on is to serve it all on reusable dinnerware. Unfortunately this also means you and whoever is willing to volunteer will have to wash dishes after the party. I tried this for a few years and after hosting a birthday party all day its exhausting. Still I did to save money and for the environment. My mom and MIL didn't like it so they began to bring disposables dishes to the parties for me. I tried to explain to them why I did it, but they thought it was silly to inconvenience myself that way. When I saw I couldn't change their minds I began to buy eco-friendly disposable plates (made of recycled material and other dinnerware to keep them from buying the styrofoam stuff. It costs a little bit more and its not as eco-friendly as reusable, but it is a lot better than styrofoam plates. My napkins are also made of recycled material. And I still serve my food spread on reusable dishes.
Recyled Plates, Cups, Napkins and Cutlery
Between Preserve and Seventh Generation all your serving plates, including food storage contianiers, serving dishes and mixing bowls for the party are available on Amazon.
What you put in the bags matters
You want something safe and non-toxic for the kids to play with. You also want healthier snacks to put in the bags. The trick I always learned from my mom is to put something big in the bag, 1 large fruit and 1 large non-food item. Then maybe 2 smaller (maybe two chocolates) snacks and two smaller non-food items can be placed in the bag. I like to add a box of colors, a fruit (apple or orange), and then two little chocolates and erasers or stickers.
Some people are afraid to put anything healthy in the bags afraid kids will throw it away. I say don't give them much of an option. If they want to switch their orange for someone else's apple or banana then that's fine, but make sure to give them a fruit. If they want to trade their pencils for someones crayons or small notepad that is fine too. Maybe one or two kids wont eat or use what they have in their goody bags and even throw it away, but for the most part kids like to eat fruits and they like to write or color. Once they don't they probably don't need a goody bag anymore.
If including a toy is really important consider eco-friendly option like the ones below.
Super Quick super Easy Eco-friendly Birthday Party ideas
Eco Friendly Gift
The Eco-friendly Birthday Gift
In my Evites I let guest know that it isn't necessary to bring a gift. They are welcome just as much without a gift. but if they insist on getting one I let them know gently used/second hand/ resale items are welcome. Because I know not everyone is comfortable with buying these sorts of gifts I also list gift possibilities with eco-friendly alternatives that I know my children will love. Luckily my children are not spoiled and don't ask for much. In the end people will gift what they want to give. Some do their best to respect our eco-living requests and some don't. You can't make people do what they don't want to do, but you can teach your children the importance of green living and that in itself is a gift. You can also make it a point to make sure that whatever gift you give your child is eco-friendly.
Wrapping Paper Use and Reuse
I'm one of those strange moms that goes around the room collecting all the gift bag and wrapping paper on the floor after the gifts have been open. I'm not being cheap I'm being creative. Like I mentioned above this is the stuff I used to make pinatas. I also use this stuff to make crafts with the kids. Sometimes if the wrapping paper isn't in bad shape I do reuse it to rewrapp by kids and husbands gift during our personal celebrations. I do the same with the gift bags. It does save us money and I am not ashamed of doing it. I consider myself frugal not cheap.
Believe it or not after a couple of years of doing this I decided to start showing people what I do with the wrapping paper and gift bags and now a few begin to help collect the paper. I'm proud to say I even inspired someone to do the same.
Another thing I do with the gift bags, if I have too many collected, is to trade or consign them. It's easy.
Recycle, Reuse, Eat Up
After the Party Is Over
When the party is over, if you haven't already, gather all the wrapping paper, gift bags, and wrapping tissue. Save it for another occasion, freecycle it or, take it to a resales shop. Put all the left over food and save it for tomorrows lunch and dinner. It will save you a lot of cooking time the next day and that is great! If you have too much food ask everyone if they would like to take some home. Gently take the party decor off the walls and save it for next year or freecycle it.