GUEST BLOGGER: Saving Hundreds: The un-crafty birthday

Hello everyone!

My name is Hayley Hayes and I am SO very honored to be guest posting once a month for the next few months here on Mommy on Demand. I am the author of – so if you like what you read here be sure to check me out!

One of the things that I pride myself in is the ability to be cheap frugal. Call it a gift. Also call it being poor. Whatever you want to call it is fine with me. Once a month, I’m going to share with you 1 way that your family can save big money. This week, I’d like to introduce you to:

The Un-Crafty Birthday

Alright. If you’re crafty and you know it- good for you. Some of us however, like me- can’t transform an empty cereal box into the preschool version of the Mona Lisa. I just don’t have the vision. So of course all you DIYers out there can fart confetti and have a pinterest penthouse pinboard (say that 3x fast!) of your child’s shabby but not too shabby chic birthday party. I’m not hating. But that’s not me.

If you’re a fellow passenger on the not naturally crafty bus with a limited budget- this is for you. Here’s how I save hundreds without doing napkin origami.

1. Shop your house. And your mama’s house. And your sister’s house.

My daughter’s birthday is coming up in October. Naturally, I feel anxiety to make it local news worthy because I’m a mom in the social media age of comparison. But, as I’ve mentioned, we aren’t exactly raining dolla billz over here. Our goal was to do our daughter’s birthday party on a $100 budget.

My first step was to not spend any money. I shopped my house and my mama’s house. My sister had recently been involved with a bridal shower that had used this wreath. I literally wrapped some of her leftover shower lace around it once and wrote “Happy Birthday Ellie” on an envelope…. and that was free. Here is a list of other things I’ve borrowed from relatives for this party:

-some blue Mason jars

-burlap and lace from the same sister’s project. (Thanks Hannah!) (She doesn’t know I borrowed.) (You’re the best Hannah!)

-an old white wagon found in my husband’s cabin’s shed. (More on that later)


2. Find a free, pretty place.

My husband has a family cabin a few hours away that is beautiful and perfect for a birthday party.

Here’s the view from the back porch. Don’t hate me cause its beautiful.


Now I know. I KNOW that you’re rolling your eyes. Saying “Oh, yeah Hayley… must be nice… having a pretty place like that in your family… must be easy to save hundreds with a lavish lifestyle like that.”

Okay, don’t be so harsh. If no one that you know or are related to or know through a friend of a friend has a pretty place like this that you can use, think smaller scale. Local parks that are pretty. Lakes, oceans (assuming all of my readers aren’t coming from Arkansas where we have 0 oceans), a pretty pond. You get the idea. Find a pretty free place. So far, you’ve still spent $0. Look at you, with your bad saving self.

3. Find something expensive.

Now, I’ve been taking all of these monthly photos of my baby and I really wanted to display them in a cool way. Pinterest did nothing for me on this search. Thanks for nothing. The good people at google, however, helped me conceptualize this:

Which, after much deliberating, (just ask my husband who had to help me decide between white or gray or black or maybe gold? (does gold exsist?) foamboard- thanks babe!) inspired

this: 20140908-084550-31550090.jpgSo, I found something expensive that I liked (first picture) and figured out a way to make it VEEEEERY cheaply. For this display I bought pictures ($3 after using a walgreens code from ), a foamboard ($3) and some brown cardstock ($3). I also sprung for the fun orange tape because I COULDN’T RESIST. ($3). The flags were made from more leftovers from my mom’s closet. Total spent: $12.

(Note: I am obviously a gifted photographer. Such blurry artistic swank. Such detail with the background toys… I’m available for weddings, just hit me up.)

4. The world’s easiest craft.

Don’t go fetal position on me. Seriously. This craft is easy. I did it while containing my child in the 1 corner of this cabin not decorated in sharp objects. I bought some twine ($4) at Walmart, and some old curtains at a garage sale ($1) and cut them into a million tiny triangles.

I have no patience for measurements and exactness so I just willy nillyed these babies. I put one line of hot glue at the top and folded it over. Since the moon was aligned correctly with the ocean currents that day, I didn’t even get burned by the hot glue gun. The lace is just tied on in between flags for added pizazz.

Here are some more curtains for even more flags found at goodwill for $2.

5. No free cake.

I’m kidding, of course. I would never put a tip jar by the birthday cake. But feel free to use that idea.

However- I’m not afraid to ask relatives to bring things. I’ve realized that most people LOVE to help with things like this. It makes it feel like a group effort. We are planning a cookout so I’ve assigned out buns, sides, and chips to grandparents and aunts and uncles. We are borrowing a grill from a relative. It’s going to be awesome.

So here’s our budget breakdown:

Roughly $20 spent on craft supplies

Splurge on a helium/balloon set & a pack of white balloons $25

A beautiful cake from Harps. (And I’m not kidding- they have legit cakes.) $23

Roughly $30 remaining for hamburgers, drinks, and paper products (planning to get from the dollar tree.)

Not too shabby, huh?

But it is… shabby chic.

What do you think? Could you do a birthday party on a $100 budget? Let me know your tips and tricks!

P.S.- I’ll post some of the finished party pics on my next post next month- stay tuned!