Spunky Girl is having a birthday in a few weeks, so it is time to plan her party. Natch...I start by going to the yearly budget to see what funds I set aside for her party. $100. Sounds quite reasonable.
Then I work on the guest list. I really need to invite all her preschool class if I'm going to invite any. Spunky girl plays with the boys in her class more than she plays with the girls and I think it would look WEIRD if I just invited the boys to her party to keep the guest list reasonable. So we start with 19 kids and work up from there...add 6 kids from her bible class at church...add 2 cousins...add 3 friends that we really like...plus her brother and sister...30. Really? Yeah. 30 kids. Too many. Way too many for the home party that I had in mind. It might be possible in the summer, but I'm not locking 30 kids in my house for 2 hours.
So a new venue is needed. We did McDonalds last year (delightfully cheap and easy). There just aren't that many options out there if you are trying to keep the cost down. I decided on a local park. At $80 to rent the picnic shelter, it makes coming in under budget difficult. I could chance it...not rent the shelter and just hope and pray that it is free the day of her party. That will make me anxious. For the next few weeks, I'll be worrying about what I'll do if someone else rents the shelter or just gets there before me to camp in it.
So, the $80 goes into the birthday party budget. A quick budget breakdown:
Evite invitations -- FREE
park shelter and playground -- $80
cupcakes and ice cream, drinks -- BUY w/WEEKLY GROCERY BUDGET
face painting -- $15 FROM DISCOUNT SCHOOL SUPPLY
party bags -- $20 A NECESSARY EVIL
cups, plates, banners, etc -- PREBOUGHT ON SALE
Total: $115 -- $15 over budget. Seems like I'm always 15% over on everything. I still think it is worth it to rent the picnic shelter, though. While it is nice to dream about not paying the $80 and having more cush dollars to spend on the party, it is better to have a solid plan in place.
I do like that my $80 goes to support our local parks, which I use often with my family. I should pay to support that. Of course, using that logic, NPR should get a check too. =)