Lavish Party Planning Without the Sticker Shock

Consumer Savvy Party Planning 101

The other day our dear friend Max Anderson had discussed party planning on one of his other blogs ( He was talking about the extravagance of today’s party planning when it comes to kid’s parties. In his article, he mentioned that his friend had been able to save quite a bit of money by planning properly. However, I thought it could still be done for less. I was right. If you want to plan a party to remember but don’t want to spend $1,000 I have some tips for you.

Mission Impossible: Cut Party Planning Costs By More Than Half

Here’s our mission — plan an extravagant party for a little girl for less than $300. Can we do it? When it comes to party planning, I’m not a pro, but I was pretty sure it could be done. And I was right. Here’s how I did it.

The Facility

First things first, you need a place for your party. Most extravagant parties involve renting a facilities of some sort. I say have it in your backyard. With a little creativity and careful party planning, you can have a fabulous party right at home.

The Entertainment

Little girls love clowns, but hiring a pro can cost you $100 an hour or more. What’s my low-cost party planning solution? Buy some face paints and a clown nose ($10) and run an ad in the local paper that you need someone to dress up as a clown for your child’s party ($25 for the ad, $10 an hour for the clown for 3 hours = $55).

The Activities

For our party planning experiment this is where most of our expense is going to come from. First, I checked into renting a moon bounce. Yes, it was costly but it was well worth it.

A moon bounce rental can cost $200 or more, but there are ways to keep the expense to a minimum. First, rent it by the hour instead of the day and agree to pick it up and set it up yourself. This way you can get a moon bounce rental for $100 to $150.

I also bought a pin-the-tail on the donkey game ($5), a pinata ($20) and a rope for tug-o-war ($10). I also had musical chairs included in our party planning itinerary, which didn’t cost us anything because we would use our own fold-up chairs.

The Food

When it comes to party planning costs, timing is everything. If you time your party right you won’t have to provide any food other than cake. Our party was planned from 1 to 4. After lunch, but before dinner — which left us with our cake. I added one of those “doll cakes” (cakes that look like a Barbie doll) to our budget for $30.

The Favors

Of course, you can’t send your guests home without a goody bag. I went on eBay and looked for some party favor ideas for my party planning experiment. I found personalized candy bar wrappers for about $5 (plus $5 for the cost of the candy bars) and personalized coloring books for about $1 each ($20 for 20 of them).

The Cost

So how much did a party with a moon bounce, designer cake, clowns, games and cool party favors come to with my party planning experiment? My total came to EXACTLY $300, and no, I didn’t plan it that way. Of course, there are always unexpected expenses to consider when party planning, so I say a budget of $350 would be wise, but for a party with a live clown, a moon bounce and tons of fun, it’s a bargain.