A Frugal Slumber Party


She is 9 today.

No longer a little girl, a princess party is now out of the question. She wants something cooler. Something big. Something impressive.

We compromise.

Her first ever slumber party. {gulp}

She wants to take her guests to the movies.

But instead they will enjoy a $1.00 rental from Red Box and stove-popped popcorn while in their jammies.

She wants a trip to the fancy kiddie “spa” for makeovers, pedicures and glitter.

But instead they will enjoy painting their nails at home with my abundant stash of free nail polish from CVS.

She wants a restaurant meal at [insert name of family chain here].

But instead they will munch on pizza and fresh fruit at home.

She wants a trip to her favorite ice cream shop down the road.

But instead they will enjoy home-made ice cream sundaes and all the trimmings with their chocolate cake.

She wants to visit a bowling alley or a trip to the local gymnastics center.

But instead, she and her friends will play board games and take turns on our new Wii.

And you know what? It will be fabulous.

Because you can say no, but still say yes.

I predict this will be her most memorable Birthday to date. Five fourth grade girls will invade my home tomorrow evening. Pray for me, m’kay?

For more frugal fun, visit Life As Mom.


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About Alyssa Francis

A thirty-something wife and mother of four! Two daughters by birth, one son by marriage, and a sweet baby boy born in April of 2009. Oldest sister of four girls raised by a single mom. California native. Grew up in Hawaii. Somehow ended up in North Texas. Once a single mom. Former agnostic. A survivor of abuse and addiction. Forgiven by a great big God. Married to my best friend.


  1. April Lewis says:

    You’re right! It will be fabulous!!! We did something similar for my 10 year old step daughter in July and it was so much fun. We sent my two younger boys to my parents for the night and my husband and I entertained 5 – 10 &11 year old girls. We had just as much fun as they did. If anything, I just wanted to be 10 again – - but only for the night! :)

  2. Wow, that sounds like a blast! She and her friends will have fun (and you will definitely be “Cool Mom!”). :)

  3. That’s exactly what I did with my daughter a couple of years ago. Now it’s a tradition; she invites the same girls every year. This year she wanted to do a “hair-around” where they sit in a circle and do each other’s hair. So, I went to the dollar store and bought hair brushes, mirrors, hair items, and a clear pouch (they got to decorate with sticky jewels I had from my scrapbooking stuff), and that was their “goody bag” to take home the next day.

  4. Excellent post. Sounds like my kind of birthday party!
    .-= Amy @ Finer Things´s last blog ..Finer Things Friday: Summer Bounty =-.

  5. My daughter is in college now in Texas, but one of our top memories of her growing up years were frugal birthday parties of another variety. We live in Birmingham and the University of Alabama, about 45 miles away, has one of the top women’s gymnastics programs in the country. Children’s tickets to gymnastics meets were $2 each, and their coliseum was usually packed out with families of girls. Everything about it was first class, and the university did it up right, making it very family-friendly and fun. We ate before the meet at a Fazoli’s in Tuscaloosa that had 99 cent kid’s meals. I called ahead to place the orders so they wouldn’t be swamped at dinner time, and to our surprise, they had a table prepared for our family and the vanload of girls, including free party favors and a clown.

    We spent $3 a person for the evening (plus gas to get there), and the invitations were homemade on the computer.

    Anyone who has a college gymnastics program nearby should check it out, if your daughter’s birthday falls in January through March.

  6. Slumber Parties are the best.

    One game that the kids always liked was a balloon popping relay. We put a sticker or tatoo inside each balloon. Not only did they have to sit on the balloon to pop it, they had to collect their prize too. The team with the most prizes at the end wins and gets to go first in the next activity.

    Another fun game is the mine game. You split the girls up into pairs and then blindfold one of them. Next, you scatter small objects on the floor (hot wheels cars, checkers, etc.). The blindfolded girl stands on one side of the field while the other stands on the opposite side. The girl without the blindfold gives directions to her partner. The first one to the other side wins.
    .-= Tammy´s last blog ..Spend A Little At Randalls And Save A Lot =-.

  7. My youngest is in the 4th grade. Such a funny age. She says she’s not a little girl anymore but she’s not grown either.
    .-= Thena´s last blog ..CSN BABY GIVEAWAY =-.

  8. I hope she has a great slumber party! It’s great to see that you’re showing her that it’s not how much you spend on the party but how much you spend with others at the party. My most memorable parties growing up have always been the ones were my mom didn’t spend a lot and just kept it simple. One year, when I was younger, she even used my favorite Lego spaceship figure that I had been playing with for months as the decoration for my birthday cake. And when she presented the cake at my slumber party, all my buddies and me thought that was so awesome!
    .-= Kenmore´s last blog ..True Confessions =-.

  9. May she have a great b’day. My daughter turned 8 on Sept. 5th & it was an Ariel party, but she wants Hannah Montana next year. The grow up too fast. If you sign up on Baskin Robbins, you’ll get a coupon to get a free ice cream on your b’day. It applies for kids & adults. Take care & hope it’s fabulous day. Thx for the great tips.

  10. Have a wonderful time. I love slumber parties at this age. When my girls were younger we had them often. Not so much now that they are 17, 15, and well my 12 yr old still has her friends over some. They came over last week and roasted marshmellows and played till about 11. They had a great time.
    .-= Denise@TogetherWeSave´s last blog ..Free Geo Trax DVD =-.

  11. Happy birthday to your daughter!! I have one who turned 10 in June and one who will be 9 in January. Once they turn 9 or 10, they just grow up so fast!!!! It wasn’t that long ago when my oldest daughter turned 9, and now she’s 15 and talking about when she can drive!!!!?????!!!! Enjoy it while she’s still so young.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog .. =-.

  12. Happy birthday to your daughter!! I have one who turned 10 in June and one who will be 9 in January. Once they turn 9 or 10, they just grow up so fast!!!! It wasn’t that long ago when my oldest daughter turned 9, and now she’s 15 and talking about when she can drive!!!!?????!!!! Enjoy it while she’s still so young.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog .. =-.
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!

  13. very helpful article because i am planning for my daughter’s first birthday and very excited and worry about economic conditions.
    bythe way goodluck and have a very happy birthday to ur daughter
    .-= angeline malick´s last blog ..Request =-.

  14. Sounds like a fabulous party to me! She and her friends will have a wonderful time together. That’s the kind of party I’d want if I were nine. :)
    .-= Tonya´s last blog ..FINANCES: Free Birthday Fun =-.

  15. To Think Is To Create says:

    Happy birthday to her! I hope you guys have a blast tonight :)
    .-= To Think Is To Create´s last blog ..Happy Time =-.

  16. We just did the boy version of this tonite!!

    Bonfire, hotdogs,s’mores, fishing, football= FUN!!!

    My husband and I were so amazed how these kids had never done these things that we do so often. Who needs expensive movies, entertainment, fancy party places???? They enjoyed being a part of our world with a few special touches:) Our final thought is LESS IS MORE with the kids!
    .-= Wendy´s last blog ..Just in Case You’re Wondering….. =-.

  17. Sounds like loads of fun for me and a lot cheaper than it could have been. Heck I am 28 and sometimes I think about a fun slumber party with my friends :) Those are all great ideas and I like how you gave her what she wanted but in a frugal way.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..CVS deals Week of September 20th =-.

  18. Deb~ Frugal Living And Having Fun says:

    Thank you for this post!! I always encourage my readers about this!! “You are a great example”!! Kids don’t need alot!! They just need LOVE!!

    Thanks for the encouragement…Deb @ Frugal Living And Having Fun!!

    You have painted a picture of “my title of my blog”

    maybe you wouldn’t mind letting me post this on my site?? Let me know if you would like to be a guest post, as this is the “Theme of my blog”!! Thanks, Deb

  19. Sorry, I forgot the www. So the link was broken on the last request/comment!! Deb
    .-= Deb~ Frugal Living And Having Fun´s last blog ..CVS Coupon/Sale match-ups 9/20 ~ 9/26 =-.

  20. Ok!! you would think I’ve never left a comment before LOL!!

    “smile” Please delete the above…It took another copy/paste I did previous to leaving the comment!! Oh boy!!
    .-= Deb~ Frugal Living And Having Fun´s last blog ..CVS Coupon/Sale match-ups 9/20 ~ 9/26 =-.

  21. Wonderful! Initially, I sometimes feel a pang of guilt when I have to (or choose to) say no to the excess. No on the restaurant, no on the pedicure, etc. In the end, the kids and I always have fun. We never regret it. Good for you for making those memories without excess. It is the best way!

  22. That sounds wonderful. How did it go? I remember my oldest daughter’s first slumber party. I was so tired afterward. :)
    .-= Petula´s last blog ..It’s time for Disney On Ice fun in Atlanta =-.

  23. I bet they are having a wonderful time tonight and she will remember this when she has children of her own. Are they sleeping yet? I bet not lol
    .-= Rhonda Martin´s last blog ..All Terrain X3 Sport Stroller Giveaway @BusyMom =-.

  24. Sounds like so much fun! We had the best time at my slumber parties when I was little. I hope our three girls will hav ethe same fond memories of their..and of course doing it on a frugal budget!


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