I remember heading to parties as a child, all dolled up in whatever
hideous lovely outfit my mom had picked out for me to wear that day. (I likely had lace trimmed socks to wear with my Mary Janes as well.) Anyway, I am digressing – my unfortunate fashion sense as a child has nothing at all to do with this post. I absolutely loved going to those parties, and one of my favorite parts was getting a “loot bag” at the end. I loved going through that little bag of goodies to see what knick-knacks and treats were hidden inside.
As a parent, I cringe when my children bring home these bags. (If you are my friend and reading this and you have given my child this bag of crap, I’m sorry.) Those plastic dollar store trinkets will end up under my foot (and ultimately in the trash if this is the case), or stashed in some drawer in my daughters desk, waiting for me to clean it out and throw it in the garbage. So really, they have one end.
I may be kidding myself, but I really like to give favor bags that won’t make parents cringe, BUT they also have to be easy and budget friendly for me to assemble. When I have a party with 15-20 kids, I can’t afford to spend $10 per kid on favors. (Even if I could, I feel it’s a little excessive.) Yet, I still want the kids to love their little goodie bags as much as I loved them. Sigh… it can be so hard to please everyone, can’t it?
Unless, of course, it isn’t… which was the case with these Lalaloopsy party favors.
Enter my system of budget friendly party favors. I always give super cute parting gifts, and this party was no different. I had 16 kids RSVP to attend, so I knew I had to pay attention to my bottom line. It would be so easy to go buy some super cute licensed Lalaloopsy items and call it a day, but it wasn’t realistic. So here’s how I create great party favors for less… The great thing about these “rules” are that they can be adapted to every single party you throw, regardless of the theme or occasion!
- If you see something cute months ahead of time, grab it. You may not know how you will use it exactly, but stash it away. Trust me, it will come in handy. Those super cute cupcake erasers? They were at Target over Valentines Day at a price of $1 for 8. At the time, I had no idea what theme I would be doing but they were cupcakes – cupcakes will always go with any party theme!
- Watch for things in the post-holiday clearance section. That adorable pack of coloured pencils? I snagged them at Target in the Easter clearance section at a cost of 8 for $0.30! Only one had a bunny rabbit on it, the rest were just fun patterns and colors that worked perfectly with my colour scheme.
- Look for things you can customize. These notebooks started out so boring. At a cost of 4 for $1 though, I couldn’t find any other notebooks that were nearly anywhere near that for cost. So, I unwound the coil, took the cover off, flipped it over so the printed side was facing inside, and attached a printable I created in GIMP. Instant Lalaloopsy gear without the licensed price!
- Items specifically promoted as party favors are usually one of two things: junk or overpriced. Its because they know people will buy it. Don’t fall for it! However, sometimes things are on clearance, like these pack of lip glosses that I found in the party section at Target for $0.90 for 4. My daughter is a lip gloss nut, so I knew it would be a perfect addition. Also, avoid licensed things! They are also always overpriced!
- Shop early and shop around. My favorite places to shop for favor items are Target (in case you couldn’t tell), Wal-Mart, Michaels, and the dollar store (but watch out, sometimes this ends up costing more than other stores – for instance, the sidewalk chalk for my Monster Party favors was actually way more expensive at the dollar store then WalMart).
In total, these cute little Lalaloopsy party bags cost $6.10 for 8 favors. I had 16 guests, so it cost me $12.20 to create 16 favors, not including printing cost (I printed my printables at Staples – its $0.39 a sheet there) or bags. I always keep cellophane bags on hand – I use them for everything! I pay $1.50 at Wal-Mart for 30 bags… so $0.05 cents a bag. When you total everything up, it came to well under $1 a favor – isn’t that awesome? And they don’t look cheap… they look like someone carefully thought and planned them out (which I did) and I think they re much more useful and prettier than the usual bag of plastic trinkets from the dollar store party section, don’t you?
What is your favorite part of birthday parties? Have your kids received any clever party favors lately? I would love to hear about them!