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LUAU on a Dollar Tree Budget

Saturday, August 26, 2017

In all of my party planning years, I have spent countless hours and countless dollars on parties. I normally plan birthdays for at least 6 months before, if not longer. I bend myself to the point of breaking in order to pull off the most elaborate theme, best food, etc. This year, I decided I was not going to break myself... or the bank. 

My daughter went to Disney World in March and got to experience the Polynesian Luau for the first time. She absolutely loved it! With her birthday falling in the middle of July, I thought there would be nothing better than recreating the luau she obsessed over combined with a swimming party. Keep in mind, on her first two birthdays, I spent somewhere close to $1000 each on decorations, party favors, food, games/activities, etc. I was determined not to do so this year. After all, what is the point? Sure, we have the pictures. In all reality though, my daughter is worried about two things - blowing out her candles and playing with her friends. With that in mind, I set out to pull off a super fun, super cute luau with a TINY budget and very little effort. 

I started stalking every Dollar Tree within a 25 mile radius of my house. Luckily, there are a few around. Starting in the early summer months, their shelves are stocked with tons of luau and beach gear. You'll find everything from leis and pineapple cups to blow up pool toys and beach pails. I started collecting things slowly from every store I visited. I also purchased a few of the "nicer" items from Amazon at super low price. Some of these were not required, but the space I was using was huge, and I didn't want it to look too empty. 

I saved a ton of money this year by making the majority of the food myself. We had homemade cupcakes (find the recipe here), Captain Rodney's Dip, BBQ Cocktail Weenies, Chips with Ranch Dip, Pineapple Dip, Fruit, Sandwiches and my FAVORITE Pinterest Punch. For such an effortless-seeming spread, I have to say, the food was great! It makes me wonder why I've stressed so many times about party food. (Note to self - people will eat what you put on the table. End of story.)

I must say, having a stress-free, low budget party was the best idea yet! For once, I was able to get everything done with hours to spare before the party. I relaxed and spent time with my daughter during her birthday instead of stressing over every detail. She had an absolute blast, and where her decorations came from or how much I spent on them was the last thing she cared about. She walked into a luau paradise and was SO excited! That, in itself, made the entire process worth every second and dollar that I saved. 

Without tallying up the food cost, I was able to pull the theme of this party off for less than $100 total! Crazy, isn't it? Considering how much I've spent in the past, I wouldn't trade this budget-friendly luau for anything. Here is the entire list of what I purchased:

All in all, the party was a complete success! As always, we'd love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below with questions, tips or suggestions. Remember to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for updates and more! 

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