Sunday, December 21, 2008 did it go???

Well I thought it went great!! I stuck to my budget! Here's the breakdown:

Beginning Budget: $75
The following are updated totals. My amounts before were "guess-timates", but I have included ALL aspects of doing the birthday party.
  • Gift: $35
  • Invitations: $0 FREE using Evite
  • Cake & Ice Cream: $2.64 I got the cake mixes free with coupons, I made the icing myself (had all ingredients but the confectioner's sugar and Jello pudding). I also had a coupon for free Turner Ice Cream. I got the "Happy Birthday" candle set free from Wags and then found the other set at the Dollar Store- perfect because it had 3 candles in it: a #1 for the big cake, and 2 stars for each of their cupcakes. As for the cake decorations, they were FREE. A big thanks to my sister for helping me out there!
  • Food: $13.18 I purchased Velveeta and Rotel tomatoes for the dip, Tortilla chips & sausage, cheese and Bisquik for the sausage balls.
  • Drinks: $1.69 This was the price for ice. I used an arrangement of soda I have been getting free (even PAID to "buy") from Wags all week!! I put the drinks in a large tub filled with ice. Added some color to the mini buffet.
  • Plates/Cups/Utensils: $5 from the Dollar store

  • Gift Bags for adults: $2 I put 2 gourmet chocolate bars in each (FREE) and a party blower, so all I paid for was the bags and the blowers.
  • Decorations: $0 for balloons. I did notinclude the cost of the balloons since I actually bought them for their 1 year pictures and repurposed them. I also took all of their birthday cards and put them in a picture holder I already had- instant center piece!!
GRAND TOTAL: $59.51! That's $15.49 under budget. Guess I'll get myself a birthday gift with that, lol!
Here's the boys in action eating their (delicious) homemade cake. YUM!

The boys had a great time and got some wonderful gifts: books, Step2 wagon, a play kitchen, 2 new big boy car seats (kind of for mom, too) and a xylephone!! WOW! And as for the cake...they loved it. So funny how different their personalities are, and it really came through during the cake eating process! Levi grabbed his with both hands and shoved it in! Noah on the other hand had to analyze it first. He poked at it, wiped at the icing, then picked it up, pulled it apart and made a little cupcake pile. Finally, he got a little taste and decided it was time to dig in as well! When it was time for ice cream, same sort of thing, but poor Levi realized that it all shouldn't go in at once- brain freeze! But it was so much fun, I was pleased at all I did myself and the boys never got fussy.

Thank you to all those that gave us birthday wishes!! I hope you got some great ideas from here!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Decorating on a Dime

But first...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BOYS, NOAH & LEVI!!!!! (oh, and to me, too!)

Now back to our regularly scheduled blog posting: Decorating on a Dime...

Or closer to a dollar- I am making a trip to the $1 Store to check out their party supplies. I went and purchased the following:

Plates $2
Cups $2
Napkins $2
Spoons $1
Decorations $0
Balloons- $6 (These are for their 1 year pictures tomorrow, and I'll reuse them at the party.)
Goodie Bags $2-for the ADULTS, not the children!! Includes gourmet chocolate (FREE) and favors

To decorate other areas, I am simply using their toys. We will have other children there, so having toys out to play with will be a great way to keep them entertained. It will also be a thrifty way to decorate!

Budget: $75
Gift: $35
Party Supplies: $15
Food: $?
Subtotal: $50

$25 left to spend!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Throwing a Melt Down Free Birthday Party

Here are a few tips I got from to throw a stress-free, 1st birthday party. Even if it doesn't all go to plan, have fun and enjoy this special day that only happens once in their lifetime!!

Keep it short -- about two hours. Little kids can't keep it together for more than that.

Don't make yourself nuts baking, decorating, and hand-making everything. It's a big event for you, but it's not like your child is going to have a clue what's happening. So do the one or two things you enjoy and are good at, and farm out the rest.

Pay your nanny or favorite babysitter to be on hand -- her familiar face may help comfort your baby if she's overwhelmed by all the family and friends.

Don't bother with elaborate games or activities. These are 1-year-olds we're talking about. Approach it like a big play date instead.

Ask a friend to take photos or video the event so you can be in the pictures, too.

Set up two snack tables -- one with kid-friendly foods, like Goldfish crackers, and another that's higher up and out of reach with nibbles for the adults. Remember that some of the food you like can be a choking hazard for babies (carrots, popcorn, nuts, etc). I'd also like to add some foods aren't recommended for children until a certain age due to allergies, such as nuts. Keep that in mind!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Menu

Well, besides presents, this is where the budget usually goes downhill... Hopefully with a menu plan, it will keep that from happening! Here's what's on the menu:

Rotel Dip with Chips

Sausage Balls?? Maybe...I just LOVE these things!!

Fruit Plate or Salad


Ice Cream

Punch or Other Beverage Item

I am trying to keep the snacks kid friendly, with the exception of the chips and dip. After all, it is for the kids, right???

I have .55 off coupons for Velveeta block cheese which will get doubled. BUT Kroger has Nice and Cheesy which is, well, nice and cheesy. The chips will be from Aldi. They are .99 a bag! GREAT price for those!!! If I'm lucky, I'll find some of those free sausage with the purchase of links coupons... I'll need a few other ingredients for those, too, but not much.

The fruit I will buy and cut it myself. That will save quite a bit!! I won't have to buy too much because me husband received a gift basket with quite a bit of fruit in it; it will keep it from going to waste and save money, too!
As I mentioned, I am making the cake myself. I bought the mixes this morning and paid $0!! I love my new coupon addiction! The icing will be homemade buttercream icing, for which I already have all the ingredients. I have a coupon for a free gallon of Turner ice cream; it's the only perk I've received from my cable company, lol! As for the candles, I bought the ones that spell Happy Birthday! just like in the picture above. I got them FREE from Walgreens last week. They were a filler item so I could use my $5 Register Reward.
As for the punch, I'm still looking for a low sugar option. I guess that's what they call water-

Well, I'll keep you up to date! Tomorrow is decorating on a dime. Hmmmm....what a great name for a blog!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Birthday on a Budget: Party Invitations

Invitations can get expensive, especially after you add the stamp. So what have I done to resolve this?? I used Evite. Evite is an on-line invitation generator. The great thing is, you can retrieve addresses from your hotmail, yahoo or google account. Another nice thing about it is saving paper and stamps. Oh, and ANOTHER nice thing about it is the RSVP set up. Guests can reply to your evite and RSVP on the spot, whether they can make it or not. Once you get a final count, it will also help you generate number of servings needed for food, beverages and cake. Evite will also automatically send out reminders to your guests as well, and if you choose, send you a notice when someone has RSVPed. How cool!

Now I will probably send out a few paper invites to immediate family, and so I will also have one for the boys' scrapbook. I am probably going to try to create my own and print it on card stock. You can also look at the $1 store and the $1 section in Target to find some great invitations!

Birthday Budget: $75

Spent $35 on gift

Invitations $0

Friday, December 12, 2008

Get PAID to Decorate from Walgreens!

Well, if giving me money for spending "money" at Wags wasn't enough! I say "money" becasue I am only spending pocket before coupons today %47+. After Qs, $1.08!! THEN I got a $5 Register Reward. I just didn't think it could get any better.

WRONG! I was at my Wags tonight and they had all lighted Christmas decor 50% off, including the items on page 69 of the Easy Saver. I bought the Lighted Crystal Gift Boxes and added fillers to get my total to $25. So it went something like this:

Lighted Boxes $29.99, 50% off= $14.99
Fillers = $15.01 (rough estimate)
Minus my Qs ($15.00) I got free after coupon items: Sure deo, Nivea travel size, etc
Minus previous $5 RR for $25 purchase
Less $10 Rebate
Plus 10% for adding to my gift card
PROFIT of $1!!! Plus I got the $5 for spending $25 again. I just count that as paying for my tax on this purchase :)

Some other things I noticed:
3x5 Digital Frame Clearanced to $39.99
- $20 rebate (page 56 ES)
Plus extra 10% for putting in GC
= Great Digital Photo gift for only $17.99

7" Digital Frame Clearanced to $59.99
- $20 rebate (page 56 ES)
Plus extra 10% for putting in GC
= Another Great Digital Photo gift for only $37.99

I hope you can find the same deals!!

Walgreens Toy Sale!

If you are looking for a few toys, now's a good time to visit Walgreens. Going on today and tomorrow their $6.99 toys are buy 2, get 2 free! Great way to get your total up to $25 to get that $5 holiday register rewards. You could put a few extra toys under the tree, or better yet, donate them. Happy shopping!

To Theme or Not to Theme?

Everyone loves a theme to a birthday party. Really, it could make decorating for a party quite easy. The problem? It can get expensive and out of hand. You start with the idea, then buy the plates, cups and hats. Then you need goodie bags filled with favors. And what about the games?? And the balloons?? And the table cloth?? Before you know it, you are having a breakdown because you can't find the right color of red to go with the red streamers hanging in your daughter's hair!!!!

Okay, that may be a little over the top, but it shows how being so stuck into a theme can really make you lose site of the real reason to have a party: the birthday child, or in my case, children (oh, yeah, and mom, too!)

So what am I planning to do? Well, the boys are too young to tell me what they want in a party, so I am keeping it simple. Close family and friends on the invite list, snack foods, cake and ice cream and a simple theme or, um, non-theme.

The boys have a lot of music toys since their dad loves music. So what I've decided to do is use some of those toys to decorate with. I'll go to a dollar store and get a solid color table cloth, plates, cups and napkins.

Now, about the invitations. Those thinga are about $5 for 10! Then add stamps, and things could get pricey there, too. Check back to see my ideas on how to do invites inexpensively without missing out on the cute designs out there.

For their cake, I am going to make it myself. I haven't chosen on a specific design, so I'll just see where an idea takes me. I will reserve enough cake batter to make each boy their first individual cake: a cupcake.

So there's the plan. Keep an eye out to see how I do.

8 days and counting!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday Present: FOUND!

As thrifty mamas, I'm sure you have visited Free-Cycle or Craigslist. If not, you should!! I was looking for a possible gift, and boy did I find one!! I got the Fisher Price Incrediblock with 25 extra blocks for only $35! The Incrediblock alone is $50-$60 and extra blocks are about $30. The toy is educational, provides hours of fun AND is big enough for both of them to enjoy together. I also avoided the cost of gas. The person selling it works up the street from me and is going to drop it off for me. SCORE!!!


Birthday Present $35

TOTAL left to spend: $40

Wow, this is going to be a challenge!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Birthday on a Budget!

My twins are turning one next Saturday, December 19th. That's actually my birthday, too, but I think my thunder may be stolen, lol. That's okay because I've had thirty-one of them on my own!
Since it's holiday season, money will definitely be tight. And since I'm going to try to be thrifty, I've decided to give you an inside look on my birthday planning. I would like to get this party for two, um three, done for less than $75, including invites, snacks, cake and gifts. I'll be using items from my stockpile and stored up craft items. Let's see how I do!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Money Maker at K Mart!

The only good deal I found on my K Mart Super Doubles run this morning!

As I wandered through the aisles disappointed that ALL the good deals were gone, I went to check out some of the cleaning supplies. The Pledge multi-surface wipes were on sale for 2/$7. I had $1.50 off Qs, doubled to $3, so I got them 2/$1!! BUT a $1 Cat printed out for EACH one!! I made $1. So I bought more, and rolled the cats. These did not double at my K Mart, but I bought 3 cases of soda with my $1 OYNO coupons! FREE SODA!!
Here's the fine print: it seemed to only be working on the blue packages (multi-surface wipes) even though both were marked 2/$7. The other kind (allergen free) wasn't even ringing up correctly. And again (unfortunately!!) these did not double.
I found my coupons at Kroger. They are blinkies!