As of 7:52 pm last night, our youngest is 5 years old. How does a child in a frugal home celebrate a birthday?
- Throw a party at home, maximizing the use of your living space, furnished basement (that is often neglected) and the backyard. All that space costs money -- my husband could tell you the cost per square foot without blinking an eye!
- Keep the games simple: squirt guns and a bubble machine equal target practice; paper plates, string, markers and glue become a mask making area; baskets of Halloween costumes combined with music on the stereo give you free-tag dance party. And then of course there was the pinata -- not exactly frugal, but rather fun.
- Order 5 large cheese pizzas from your regular place, and you use the 25% off reward you have on file. Everyone loves cheese pizza, and it will be gone in a flash. Avoid the oven and stove by putting pork roast in the slower cooker, combined with broth and apples for 24 hours. Add a stack of buns and you have tasty sandwiches for the older crowd without heating up the house. Round out the mix with veggies, that if leftover, make an excellent soup.
- Turn to Betty Crocker for a classic cake recipe, and whip one up at home. Midnight chocolate cake was the winner for yet another year!
- Presents presented in gift bags with homemade cards. All wrapping is tucked away for future use or the recycle bin. Nearly all purchased via Amazon Prime for efficiency and the 3% back credit card. which is always paid in full each month;
- Make another batch on child's actual birthday, making cupcakes this time. Baking with the soundtrack to Frozen while she wears a new swimsuit and apron while mixing the batter is a priceless memory for her, and the frugal parent.
- After five years of frugal living you will likely have a child with frugal tastes. For the actual birthday, parents didn't work (okay, dad worked a half-day) and we focused on time together. Her request -- swimming at Gov. Dodge State park (free with the $25 annual sticker), dinner at home (pasta), followed by a night hike where we spotted toads, bats, and fireflies.
- The empty pizza boxes never make it to the trash -- the plastic inserts to prevent the top from settling on the pizza have been cleaned and are now used to support Lego creations, and the plastic mesh lining and box itself are set aside for future garden projects -- drainage and weed control.
- And the #5 from your cake has been posted on Facebook (and here) to re-home. No need to hold on to it until our next frugal member has a 5 in their birthday numeral (the author, in 2018 will be 45).