Today is my oldest daughter's 6th birthday, although we've been teasing her for months that it was going to be her 5th. We had a party for her at a local pizza place/arcade. We got off as cheaply as possible, telling the guests we weren't paying for pizza but would cover the cost of wristbands for all the kids to play in a gigantic climbing play area. We paid for wristbands for our kids, but by the time all our guests got there, the girl at the counter told me not to bother with wristbands since we were the only people in the place. Lucky us! We had pizza, the kids played in the huge play area, and the hubby and I played air hockey and lots of arcade games, and we only spent about 35 bucks. Yay!
I do wish I didn't have to be so cheap with birthdays, but we just can't afford the $100/hour party rooms at the fancy party places. We spent about $20 on presents for my daughter, but got away with several of them since purple nail polish and hair accessories are pretty inexpensive. I kinda feel bad that we weren't in a financial position last spring to give my son a good party, but he did get some great presents.
We played all night. The kids had a great time. Big bucks or not.