Friday, March 20, 2009

Birthday Party Savings: Thinking Ahead

Well, I don't really know why I started thinking about it already. I don't want my son to turn 2 any faster than he has to. :( But something triggered my brain this week to think about preparing for his birthday--which is the end of June and seems so far away. I guess we were at Kmart browsing, like we often do (because Kmart is really good about leaving out coupons for their shoppers, and I like to be part of that scavenger hunt.) Anyways, we strolled by the party decorations/favors/plates section and we were checking out the newest additions. My son is a fan of a couple cartoons, which of course, he watches in moderation, but he really likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, (1st birthday theme), Handy Manny and The Backyardigans. And Sesame Street too, mainly Elmo. So those are my options.. He had really become a tool man, just like his grandpa, and carries his plastic screwdriver all over the house "fixing" things non-stop, all day. Cute! Kmart did not have Handy Manny, though, but I noticed that Kmart has added The Backyardigans to their decoration mix, so that was a thought. Well, I guess I forgot about it a little, and then my mom stopped by today and it triggered me to think about it again, because I asked her what she thought for a theme. She agreed that Handy Manny would be cute, because he's so into it.

Later in the evening, Cooper and I decided to get out of the house a little bit, mainly because my husband was tired (he's dealing with 3rd shift issues right now) and we wanted to be quiet for him to rest. It was head to...Party City...and check things out. :)

Right away, I stopped at the clearance bins they have at the front. I naturally go to all the clearance spots, regardless of what I'm looking for. It's just instinct. :) Low and behold, there were several Backyardigans clearance items. Party favors, mainly, but it was something. So this sent me to the other clearance spot and, to my amazement, more Backyardigans stuff! Invitations and Thank You notes, even!!! A couple more party favor things, but not much. The thing is, the price sticker was not on the Invitation/Thank you note spot, just the regular price ($3.79 or something.) So I grabbed a stack, and some other items and kept looking around the store. Out of the party favor stuff I picked up, the little magnetic picture frames said $2, coloring pads $2, temporary tatoos $0.50. So I figured the packs of Invitation/Thank You's would be $2 also. NO WAY! I had the cashier price check them and ... a pack of 8 invites with 8 postcard thank you notes ... $0.50!!!! I was sold. And since there was no Handy Manny anything, I knew this was a good decision. I also price checked the other stuff and the picture frames were actually $1 for a 4 pack (yes!) and I decided no on the coloring pads (they were some sort of water color thingy--not worth $2 to me.) I did buy 2 of the $0.50 temporary tatoo tapes--thought the kids might like to get a tribal tatoo of the Backyardigans on their arms. :)

There was a section of regular priced Backyardigans stuff too. Not outrageous prices, but nothing like clearance prices. I will definitely get either napkins or plates (I usually do a solid plate with a print napkin, or vise versa, instead of two prints--to save money of course.) The 16 packs of lunch napkins were only around $2, so I thought that was great. I want to price check Kmart to compare, but I imagine they aren't cheaper than that. I will also check out Big Lots for the solid plates--a lot of times they will have packs of solid color plates (not just white) so hopefully they'll have something that matches. And they always have huge bags of plastic utensils for around a buck.
So for my trip to Party City, in my way advanced preparation, I got 6 packs of 8 Invitations/8 Thank You notes ($0.50 each), 5 packs of 4 magnetic photo frames ($1 each), and 2 rolls of temporary tatoos ($0.50 each). Total of $9 plus tax. I really like the postcard Thank You notes, but may do something different with the invites. Since they all came in the same pack together, it was a win/win, even if I only use the front picture and not the inside or something. 8 Backyardigan Thank You notes for $0.50 is a great deal!!!

I also am going to check out the Nick Jr. website, because sometimes they will have party ideas and stuff. I know Disney does (, which I used for my son's 1 year birthday and the Mickey Mouse clubhouse theme.)

So, the moral of the story: Sometimes it pays to think and shop ahead. I really don't think I could find pre-made invitations and thank you notes that cheap, even if I made them and printed them off myself. And it saves me the brain power (which I am sometimes lacking) and the time. So I was happy with my pre-birthday planning. Now I can enjoy the next couple months even more before my baby turns two.

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