When Pricey Pairs With Cheap-O

by Katy on October 18, 2009 · 5 comments


Last night, we held my 14-year-old son’s birthday party at a Portland Parks and Recreation roller rink. And yes, we booked the whole rink, which set us back a cool $115.

Although the initial outlay of cash put a bit of a tight feeling in my chest, (it is very against type) I do feel like providing an occasional blow-out party is something that I’m happy to do. I don’t want to get through the last few years of this son’s childhood and feel like I was too tight fisted to splurge here and there.

However, having spent the big bucks did not mean I was going to keep up a spendthrifting pace. I made 75 cupcakes from scratch, filled a big insulated container with watery lemonade from concentrate, (I rightly figured the kids would be thirsty from all the skating) brought my own ceramic mugs from home, invested in a few bags of chips and called that good. I didn’t buy party favors or feel the need to put up decorations.

My son put together a play-list on his iPod which we were able to hook into their sound system. The combination of Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix and Michael Jackson was a big hit and helped set a party mood from the get-go.

The man who worked the rink was fabulous. He kept a tight eye on safety issues, (even providing a fan and a popsicle for the one kid who got overheated) kept the action fresh by providing balls and hockey equipment, and even got a game of dodgeball going at the end.

Alas, I didn’t find any coins on the ground, but I did pull a glass leftovers container, (complete with plastic snap-on lid) from the garbage.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jinger October 19, 2009 at 5:53 am

A celebration your son will always remember!


Jennifer October 19, 2009 at 11:09 am

I just did the same thing! We are extremely frugal, but I just paid $139 to have my son’s 7th birthday party for 10 kids at a place called Fun n Stuff. But like you I made my own cake and brought it and I didn’t do party favors. I had found the perfect present at a garage sale for $10. Expensive yes. But worth it for my son for sure. Glad yours worked out too.


Kristin October 19, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Yep, did the same for my son’s 4th birthday party yesterday. $30 to reserve a tent with tables, we brought homemade cupcakes and snacks and ran a $20 tab at the concession stand at a local pumpkin patch (no admission) for five kids and their parents.


Rosemary October 20, 2009 at 6:03 am

Just a note to tell you how much I love reading your e-mails. I hope you continue for a long, long time. Thank you for all your good tips and for sharing them in the format of your own life. That makes them real.


namastemama October 20, 2009 at 7:14 am

DID that last year. Small fortune on a roller rink party with food, drinks and cake included. Not a bad initial price but we invited more people than included in the price. My daughters birthday is around Christmas and there are ALWAYS invited friends that can not come. Well, everyone invited came. So, we had to pay extra. We had never done a paid for birthday party, thought we were doing it cheaply, compared to the hundreds usually spent on kids party’s. One thing we did right, I asked the guests to bring canned goods instead of gifts. Most families obligued and we raised almost 50 lbs for the food pantry!


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