If you have been around for awhile, you know I love to throw a big party with lots of handmade details. It isn’t unusual for me to spend months planning a party.
But my kids are getting older and hand painted cardboard cutouts are no longer my big kids’ jam. So this year I did a 180 and planned the party based entirely on stuff I had in my clearance stash, around my house, and what I could get at Dollar Tree and Aldi. I hope this budget friendly party inspires you to shop your house and shop cheap for your next party.
The Photo Spot
I love having a photo spot for my parties. I used a paper background that I have had for a few years and spruced it up with garlands that I bought at Target 90% off (for 30 cents each). These types of garlands are always in Target’s dollar spot and can usually be found on clearance.
The Tablecloth & Table
This was a $1 tablecloth from Hobby Lobby. They have the same ones at Dollar Tree. It is amazing how a simple plastic tablecloth makes a table so much more special.
In the center of the table I put flowers that I was given at work. Because it is summer I would have simply picked flower from our garden had I not received those bouquets.
I like to give favors that kids will actually use and enjoy. Since Adeline was having a sleepover, I bought plush unicorns 90% off at Target after Valentine’s Day for $1.29 a piece. I also bought Jo-Jo Siwa tattoos after Valentines. The BFF necklaces were $1.48 for three on clearance at Target in the girls’ section. All the girls immediately put them on and loved them!
Adeline wanted to make a bunch of crafts for her party. Here’s how we kept it affordable.
Craft 1: Puffy paint trucker hats
For summer Dollar Tree had these fun hats. I bought one for each girl. We used puffy paint I had in my craft stash to decorate them. (Buying a bulk puffy paint kit a few years ago was a great investment and something I have used again and again.)
Every girl loved this craft. I definitely recommend doing them at the start of the party so that there is plenty of time for them to at least start to dry. The next morning, the girls looked so cute wearing their hats!
Craft 2: Watercolor ice cream cones
Adeline took Emily Lex’s online watercolor class this summer and loved it so much that she wanted to do watercolors with her friends. A few watercolor palettes and watercolor paper was all we needed for the girls to make stacked ice cream cones from the class.
When the girls finished their hats, they sketched the ice cream cones, then painted them.
Every girl’s painting was unique and they had so much fun painting them.
Craft 3: Homemade bath bombs
I bought Crayola bath bomb kits 90% off after Christmas and the girls were so excited to make them. Unfortunately, the kit was a bit of a bust and more than half of the bombs didn’t turn out. (Check out other kits here.) The girls had great attitudes about the project and still had tons of fun mixing and molding the bombs.
I bought nearly all the food at Aldi, which kept things very affordable. Here’s what we had on hand:
Pizza: Aldi’s giant fresh pizzas are just $5-$6 a piece. Two was perfect for our group of 10.
Fresh fruit: Watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes and strawberries all for less than $10
Ice cream: More on that below, but just $2 for a half gallon.
Cake mix: At 88 cents a box, you can’t go wrong. One box was all I needed to make the cake pops.
Frosting supplies: I was able to buy powdered sugar and butter for the frosting for just a few dollars.
Popcorn: Microwave popcorn made the girls’ evening movie marathon a success. (If you don’t have a silicone microwave popcorn maker, get one. Best $10 you’ll ever spend!)
Pancake mix: We had Kodiak pancake mix on hand, but Aldi sells it in store.
Rather than do a traditional cake, we decided to do cake push up pops and ice cream sundaes. The cake push pops were so fun to make. I bought the forms on clearance after Christmas several years ago, but you can buy them anytime on Amazon.
We also had an ice cream sundae bar, with four kinds of ice cream, whipped cream, sauces and sprinkles in waffle cone bowls. It was super easy and the girls loved it.
The girls watched a movie, had popcorn and finally fell asleep close to midnight.
Frugal Party Recap
To recap, shopping clearance, The Dollar Tree and Aldi is a great way to save a lot of money and throw a super fun party. The kids will have a BLAST and your budget will still be intact.