cupcakes intro pic

Recently, my daughter turned 8 years old and I was at a loss for what to do for her party. With three kids I just can’t afford to splurge on $400 parties (which we know easily ends up being $600 with all the add-ons!) for each of them. So, I challenged myself to stay within a $200 budget & still make it special for her. Let’s see if I succeeded!


Rainbow Looms are the newest craze among girls and they need a loom board (with plastic pegs to wrap the rubber bands around), the colorful bands and crochet stick (which comes in the kit) to make one. You can find the kit on Amazon, Learning Express, Toys R Us, Michael’s, and even at a kiosk in GSP mall. It costs around $15 to $18 for the kit and comes with enough bands to make a few bracelets.


working on loom

Most of the girls I invited (around 8 came) had their own board. If they don’t, no worries! One of the prettiest bracelets is the Fishtail one and you can make it on your index and middle finger. It’s very easy to make.

You also can take apart the board and let the other girls borrow a row to make the fishtail. I hired a girl to do one hour of instruction for $50. She showed them a simple bracelet, which about half of them knew how to make already. That took about an hour.

If you have one instructor, I think you can have her help them with a fishtail and/or a single row bracelet and that will take up an hour. If the girls already know those and are more advanced, I would pick a harder design and work on that for an hour. But, you would need to hire two instructors for the harder bracelet because one instructor per 4 girls is ideal.

We did the starburst one (pictured at end of post) and about four of the girls tried it but they needed ALOT of hands on help and one had to be redone by the instructor. We did this after eating pizza and it took about an hour and a half. It’s a really pretty design but I would suggest one that isn’t so complicated. The other four girls watched a movie downstairs during that time. Because we went over time, I paid the instructor an extra $20.


table decor

My daughter loves owls so I bought the HIPPIE CHICK set from Party City:

Tablecloth: $3.45

9inch plates: $2.20

4 pint paper pails: $3.69

16 count napkins: $2.17

TOTAL: $11.51

I’m not one of those super creative moms who have beautifully rendered themes, but I did check out this website: and was inspired by her owl party.

The toilet paper roll craft looks easy and cute.  However, I didn’t have the time to prep. I was also thinking of having a back up scavenger hunt planned–with the theme being “wisdom”–in my basement. Again, if I had more time…maybe. This Pinterest board had cute ideas for scavenger hunts for kids:

I used the 4 pint pails to put the rubber bands in. At Learning Express I bought 4 packs of 600 colored bands. I bought Purple, Mixed, Pink and Glow in the Dark for $3.99 each. Total: $15.96. These are the bands they use during the party to make the bracelets.


favors bigger size

I bought a 12 pack of pink bags from A.C. Moore at $2.99. I bought 12 because I wasn’t sure how many girls I was going to have attend and it’s always a good idea to have extra! They also had small packs of glow in the dark bands for $1.99. I bought 10 of those to be on the safe side.

They have these cute TwinklePop organic lollipops so I got 11 of those for $.39 each.

Glow in the dark bands: $19.90

Lollipops: $4.29

For the rest of the favors I sourced Learning Express. They have a really cute favor section. I got two packs of glow in the dark nailpolish that had 4 (or 5?) in each pack. $9.99 each pack. I also got these cute ice cream lip gloss keychains for $2.49 each. I got 8 of those. By now I knew I was going to have 8 girls attending.

Nailpolish: $19.98

Ice Cream Lip gloss: $19.92

Total: $67.08

closeup favor bag

The favor bags looked a bit plain so I found an image of an owl on Google Images (Link here) and colored in the design the night before. You can go to Google Images tab and search “owl printable coloring pages” and a lot of templates will pop up. Simply right click and save image on your computer.  Then, you can copy and paste it into Word and make columns so you don’t waste paper, print, cut out and tape onto your favor bag. I also wrote their names in a pretty font and taped that on as well.


I ordered three pizza pies (just in case the moms wanted to eat too) and that came to about $36. I was going to do corn dogs (you can buy the Applegate Farms brand from Whole Foods for around $7)  and macaroni and cheese but got lazy at the last minute.


I decided to forgo cake and do cupcakes. I got them from Mr. Cupcakes because they are close to me and easy to pick up. Recently, there was a Groupon for Mr. Cupcakes, which I used for my son’s birthday party and saved about $10! I got 10 cupcakes, which came to $20. I got a variety and found the popular ones were the chocolate ones. Figures…girls!


Rainbow Looms girl: $50 + $20 tip for extra time: $70

Decorations: $11.51

Extra Bands for use during the party: $15.96

Favor Bags and Favors: $67.08

Pizza: $36

Cupcakes: $20

TOTAL: $220.55

So, I came close! (pat on the back). But I would recommend paying for the extra girl, which would be $100 total and bump up the cost to $250 total for the party. Or, you could still have the one girl and just do a simple band and learn it ahead of time so you can help out too.

bracelet resize bigger

If you are interested in hiring the girl I used, email me at and I can provide more info. She was very patient with the girls.

Are you an expert at thrifty parties? I’m looking to make this a regular feature and would love contributors. Stay tuned because I have some ideas in this arena like a giveaway (working on getting sponsors for it)! If you use this idea, please let me know! I’d love your feedback 🙂