Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Tips for Planning Kids Parties Part 2 - The Dollar Store is Your Friend

For the second post in my five-part series on Tips for Planning Kids Parties I am going to give you some sage advice - LIVE, BREATHE, LOVE THE DOLLAR STORE. It's very easy philosophy to follow and not a hard thing to do.  Just go there and saunter, meander and stroll down the aisles and take it all in. 

Dollar stores have an expansive amount of items that are just as good as those you find at the party stores. This is because most of the items are remnants and leftovers from warehouses that get passed on. I have found plenty of decent items at the dollar store for my parties. When it comes to party supplies & decor, the dollar store can definitely be your friend.  Here are my tips on shopping at the dollar store (or as I like to call it the 'DOLLAH STOW').

Stick to your list
When it comes to planning parties I try and keep costs as low as possible and in this economy every dollar counts.  You can always go there for the basics like plates, napkins, cups, utensils, candy, snacks, gift wrap & bows, games, party favors and a host of unique items to create a fun-filled event.  You can even get your balloons there!  It is however easy and tempting to want to put everything you like in the cart.  Go in there with a list of what you need and a budget.  Otherwise, you could easily turn your bargain shopping trip into a wallet busting disaster.

Somtimes, there is a good reason it costs a dollar.  Don't look to buy dollar store items and hope for an investment piece.  Some things you will find are just not going to hold up.  A lot of the toys you'll find are not going to be made with the greatest quality.  I purchased a butterfly net for The Mini Diva over the weekend - and it lasted all of 2 hours.  So be careful when purchasing items for goodie bags or favors.  Consider the age of your party guests and use your best judgement.  Realize the purpose you have for the item and determine if it's worth purchasing.

A bit of ingenuity and imagination will see you through.  You might not always find an item that matches your theme exactly but, with some creativity you can take items you've purchased at the dollar store and use some crafting items to make them your own.  I am currently working on making tutus for the Princess party next month.  I found some dress up tutus for sale at the dollar store! I purchased several bouquets of fake flowers to enhance them and they are so adorable.  There are even sites dedicated to using dollar store finds to create budget friendly party decor.  Check out dollar store crafts for some ideas.

Pick your favorite and stick to it
Depending on where you live, there are several dollar store franchises to choose from.  Prices generally ranges from $1 to under $20 per item. I prefer The Dollar Tree (where you can shop online wholesale) and my local mom-pop shop dollar store, Clinton Dollar.   I just know what to look for at these particular stores and when to go to get the good stuff, plus the customer service is up to par.  If for some reason you don't have a dollar store near you, check out the dollar &  bargain bins at Target, Walmart or one of the larger craft stores.  There are always great party items there as well.

These are just a few of my tips on 'dollah stow' shopping.  Please feel free to leave a comment on any tips you might have.

Also - don't forget to enter this week's giveaway for a custom Princess and The Frog themed party pack!

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