Amy Clark

Celebrating With Cheap Class


Can cheap and classy go hand in hand? Maybe I am wrong, but I believe these two can be intertwined, as long as you can try to not look TOO cheap in front of your friends and family.

Ethan celebrated his 5th birthday and had a wonderful birthday party to remember. We picked the Fourth of July for celebrating because we figured the majority of the family could come since it is a holiday. We offered to host a cook out and everyone offered to bring a dish and their gifts for the birthday boy.

I decided to make this delicious birthday cake out of ingredients purchased at Aldi. The results were fantastic! This tasted close to a DQ ice cream cake, but without the make-your-teeth-hurt sweetness from that frosting. I would recommend this cake to any mom whose child doesn’t like real cake (my sister was one of those children) or as a fun summer party treat. We decorated it with little cars on top from the movie, “Cars.”

Price Breakdown:

1.5 packages of frozen burger patties- $4.99 each or $7.48 total
2 packages of beef hot dogs- $1.99 each or $3.98 total
4 packages of buns (hot dog and hamburger) $.65 each or $2.60 total
2 packages of ice cream sandwiches $1.69 each or $3.38 total
2 containers of whipped topping $.99 each or $1.98 total
1 package of cookies for crumbling $.99
2 bags of chips $.99 each or $1.98 total
Homemade Pasta Salad $3.50
Birthday Banner $3.99

Total Spent: $29.88

19 Guests= $1.57 per guest


Things that we omitted this time:

Friends- If we had a small family, I would feel really inclined to do friends at the party, but our family is big and just a family party for me can feel a bit overwhelming. We are doing little play dates with friends this week and maybe we can polish off the rest of the cake as a small celebration of his birth. My nephew & Ethan are just nine months apart though and are the best of buddies so he still felt like he had a friend there to celebrate. Of course, he was the center of attention and who could possibly love or appreciate you more than your family? No one!

Party Favors- I have never been a big fan of these, personally, and so I avoided this cash trap this time. It helped that we didn’t have friends coming and the kids had the best time playing with all of his new things that I felt like the party favors would have been lost in the fun anyway.

Paper Products- With the exception of the infamous birthday banner, I didn’t do paper products this time (other than paper napkins that I keep for such occasions). I did do two loads of dishes, but everyone pitched in with clean-up so it wasn’t a big deal at all.

The “Only Me Mentality”- I was thinking that I wanted to ask people to bring a dish since it was a cookout, but then thought that might give the impression that I am cheaper than my usual cheap self. Instead, when I called to share that we were having a get together, everyone asked what they could bring to the party. Usually, I would say to just bring themselves, but everyone seemed insistent that they did want to do something to help. And you know what? I pushed my pride aside and let them. Everyone had such yummy dishes and they were happy to share. And that made me happy to not have more dishes to have to cook. It helped that it was the Fourth of July and we would have probably done a family cookout together anyway. Combining the two events helped me feel a little less cheap.

I know many people forgo the dinner/lunch portion of the party, but we live a bit of a distance for our family to have to travel just for cake. I love to sit and visit and share food with everyone so while this could have been more affordable, I still feel like we did really well for the money and we hope Ethan will have many happy memories of his special day!

Sound Off: Can cheap & classy go together? How do you save money when it comes time to celebrate?

Related Readings:

Kid’s Party Etiquette for Parents
Ten Easy Steps to Great Kid’s Party Pictures
Find an Activity
Birthday Party Ideas
McDonald’s Birthday Parties
Simplifying Gift Giving

Published July 10, 2007 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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