Welcome to my new regular blog feature “Thrift for the Weekend.” I have always been thrifty, I come from a long line of money savers. Some might call them extreme moneysavers, some might be less polite. For example my granddad used to spend his mornings handwriting the TV guide from the teletext (if you are under 30 this was a pre-internet TV based text information service) to save buying a TV guide. I remember watching in awe as my mum negotiated ten free CD’s when she bought her first ever CD player twenty years ago. Moneysaving is in my blood.

In this section, every Friday, I will be sharing my thrifty secrets. For me thrift is not about darning socks (boring) or reusing tea bags. To put it bluntly I don’t like my family to go without, meaning I have to make our household income stretch further than an olympic gymnast. Now (you lucky things) I am going to share what I have learned with you.

This week I’m going to tell you how to throw a thrifty children’s party. If you are a parent at some point you are going to end up throwing a children’s party. When you add up venue hire, entertainment, food, and party bags this can end up costing a fair whack. Here are my ideas for money saving in all of these areas.

Venue Hire : If your child has a summer birthday then where better to have a thrifty children’s party than the park. Plenty of space to run around and absolutely free. Consider borrowing a gazebo (studies show we are all only a few degrees of separation from someone with a gazebo) in case of rain.

If you have a winter baby don’t worry, you could hold the thrifty children’s party in your own home for absolutely free. Alternatively if you really don’t want 20 excited five year olds in your home then consider hiring a local community centre or church hall, which you can usually hire for ten or twenty pounds for a couple of hours.


Entertainment: If you are throwing a thrifty party for young children then put on some good old fashioned party games. Pass the parcel (visit the pound shop for a prize), musical statues, pin the tail on the donkey, to name just a few, cost next to nothing and kids love them. Take an CD and let the kids have a dance with you, kids love seeing adults being silly.

Another great activity for younger children is colouring in. Print off some (themed with the party) free colouring in sheets, add crayons and you have free entertainment.

If you are throwing an older child’s thrifty party then consider their interests. If you have a budding chef put together a cupcake making party, ingredients don’t cost much (especially if you buy value). If you have a girly girl how about a manicure party , buy some nail files, hand cream and cheap nail polishes for under a tenner.

Food: The secret to thrifty children’s party food is timing. Hold your party so it doesn’t go over a meal time, say 2-4pm. Then just provide snacks such as home made popcorn, cakes and crisps.

Alternatively make your own pizza and chips, its as cheap as … chips and kids love pizza. Also the kids can do their own pizza toppings and you have a party activity thrown in as well, bargain.

Party Bags: There are two routes to the thrifty party bag. One is to avoid a bag altogether. Give one gift instead. That way you can buy bulk from the book club or hit pound land for cheap toys.

The other route is to avoid expensive themed party bag supplies. Jazz up a sandwich bag with ribbons. Fill with home baked biscuits, pots of bubbles, a balloon, and a slice of cake.  This will come in at under a pound per bag.

So there you have it a thrifty children’s party. I firmly believe a great children’s party is all about the attitude and nothing to do with the outlay. If you have fun, relax the rules and let your children let loose then your party will be a success.

So thats it for this weeks “Thrift for the Weekend” if you have a particular area you would like me to cover please let me know in the comments section.