Just something small
Just something small
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
Ever applied for credit? The bank usually asks you for a breakdown of your monthly expenses vs. your income. It’s quite easy to list the standard expenses such as rates, bond/rent and school fees (for example) and to just skim over the hidden extras. That’s all very well, until it comes to planning something like a child’s birthday party.

“Ah, just something small,” you lie to yourself, “a few friends, some snacks… nothing elaborate”.

If you’re very organised, you may have a budget, but most of us aren’t. If you’re anything like me, the “MISCELLANEOUS” item on a budget inevitably ends up bigger than the rest of the items combined. The problem comes in when trying to pare down what’s really necessary. Do you absolutely NEED the sky-writing plane, or that team of fire dancers? Of course you do!

Almost every child’s party I have ever attended has been wildly over-catered. I’ve been to parties where the parents are particularly health-conscious, and yet there will still be bowls-full of bran muffins and platters of haloumi and dried fruit left over. If the party is more of an “eat-sweets-till-you-puke” kind of affair, there will be cupcakes and Fizzers all over the house for years to come.

The problem with leftovers is that you can never be too sure that some small child hasn’t just tasted the cake, changed his mind and then placed it back on the table with the other pieces. Do you throw everything away just because one has been licked?

The only item that always disappears will be Flings. Kids love those. So do the adults who pretend to be inspecting the cake decorations while secretly guzzling handfuls of Flings, the crumbs of the addictive snacks falling like golden dandruff to their shoulders to expose their filching.

Balloons, cakes, party games (and the ubiquitous party packs) all add up. Even the invitations (which nobody seems to R.S.V.P. to anymore) can be expensive to print. You’ve probably already spent more than you can afford on a birthday present for your child, so by the time party day comes, each additional expense can be worrying.

So with all of the stress of getting up early to do the decorations and hide the breakables followed by the mad rush to corral sugar-crazed kids, there’s nothing better than that post-party collapse, once everyone has gone home.

Especially if your bank has been kind enough to help you pay for this year’s party.

How do you keep birthday party costs low? Share your ideas with us at chatback@parent24.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.


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