Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Save $$ on Kids' Birthday Parties

You don't need to spend a lot of money on a little kid's birthday party. Whenever I throw a party for one of the neighborhood kids, I keep it inexpensive and simple. Here's how:

1. Keep the guest list small. If your kid is turning four, invite four kids. Plus, keep party interlopers away from the food table by posting a sign that reads "PRIVATE." It really does deter any food moochers (neighbors, former colleagues) who might appear. (Savings tip: Bought a Betty Crocker mix on sale for $.99 and got some frosting for a $1.59. Had a $1 coupon for buying the two together.)

2. Remember that project you were gonna do? The one that required bags of sand and stone pavers for a little walkway? The one you never started? Yeah, take that sand and put it in a plastic tub. Then buy some gold spray paint ($3.99 at hardware store but probably cheaper at Wal-Mart) and paint some rocks. Put the rocks in the sand and tell the kids to dig for gold. This will keep them busy for hours. Trust me. (Savings tip: Find rocks around the neighborhood, restaurants, a creek bed, anywhere they're free.)

3. If people ask if they can bring something, say yes. Be specific. Say stuff like, "Bring the private cake." Or, "Bring the potato salad." Or, "I sure could use some plasticware." But, tell folks not to bring gifts. And mean it. Does your kid need another toy? No. You're inviting people cuz you like them--not cuz they're gonna buy stuff for your kid. If someone happens to bring a gift, whisk it away to another room and let your kid open it after the party. (Savings Tip: Some kids are happy with a bun with ketchup. Ask them and see. You'll save on hot dogs that way.)

4. For party favors, send the kids home with some gold rocks.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm all about philanthropy

When I first came up with the idea of giving a button with my face on it to people who made a $10 donation to the Red Cross, I didn't expect much of a response. As the weeks went by, however, people told me of their generous donations and it truly warmed my heart. Using the honor system, I have no way of knowing whether people really made donations to the Red Cross or not, but I like to believe in humanity and hope each person made a donation, however large or small.

For Christmas and for the Chilean miners, I will unveil a larger, more festive Bede button made from the picture on the left. I hope it's also a hit with my many fans.