Can you really call it a party without balloons? They are a staple decoration at all major celebrations. Helium balloons add a little something extra to any event. Birthdays, anniversaries, wedding receptions, graduations, and retirement parties are all a little more festive with displays and balloon arches. Even without helium, there are tons of ways to use balloons to brighten up any occasion. However, if you are planning a party on a budget, you may be wondering if filling helium balloons yourself would be cheaper. Here’s everything you need to know about saving money on helium balloons for your next major event.
Why Would You Be Filling Helium Balloons Yourself?
Planning a party requires a great deal of time and attention to detail, especially if you have limited funds. If you’re the one responsible for filling the balloon order, then you also understand how quickly the costs for decor can add up. Every additional fee and item can push you beyond your budget. Not to mention, it’s a huge hassle transporting filled balloons. If you have a smaller vehicle, it can become downright dangerous. So, if you have a ton of balloons to handle, it may be cheaper and more convenient filling the helium balloons yourself.
Price Comparison of the Store vs. Filling Helium Balloons Yourself
To see if it really saves you money, let’s look at the figures and see what the side-by-side cost comparisons look like.
For shoppers looking for the most economic option for helium balloons, you’ll need to do some research. First, start by figuring out how many balloons you’ll need so you can get more accurate pricing quotes. Then, call local party supply stores near you, or visit their websites for more information. Places like Party City, Dollar Tree, or Walmart will offer pricing on both rentals and rates to fill them for you.
Paying to Prefill Balloons
If you prefer to have the party supply store take care of it, you will likely need to purchase your balloons from them as well. Simple latex balloons usually cost between $0.07 and $0.30 each. No matter where you go, most party supply and dollar stores charge $1 to fill them. While latex balloons will be the cheapest, they will charge more for printed, personalized, or mylar balloons.
Renting a Helium Tank
Rental options will usually be listed as package deals. It will also include balloons in the rate. Although, you may need to purchase more depending on how many you need. Helium tanks from Walmart run for about $34 and can fill 50 nine-inch balloons. Therefore, it would be cheaper to rent your own tank to handle 50 balloons.
However, the price drastically increases if you have bigger balloons or need additional tanks. The Walmart tank can handle 50 nine-inch balloons, but only 26 twelve-inch balloons, doubling the rental fee. In this case, it would actually be cheaper to pay for the retailer to do it for you.
For larger quantities, you may need to rent a commercial-sized tank. The larger tanks can fill up to 400 balloons. But, they will cost you between $200-275. When you do the math though, you can see that even the high end of the price scale would cost an average of $0.68 per balloon. Therefore, the more balloons you have, the more money it would save you in the long run.
The Free (and Fun) Alternative for filling Helium Balloons Yourself
For those who are on a strict budget, there is a completely free alternative way for filling helium balloons yourself. You can use the old science experiment to turn it into a fun and educational family project that won’t require any rental fee. In fact, you probably have everything you’ll need in your cabinets
For detailed instructions, you can find the step-by-step experiment here. However, the concept is pretty simple. Instead of using helium to fill your balloons, the reaction between the vinegar and baking soda creates carbon dioxide which will fill and expand your balloons for free. However, just be aware that while the balloons will fill, they won’t float.
Is It a Matter of Time, Money, or Convenience?
When it comes to planning a party, you need to have your priorities set. This will make it easier and faster to make decisions as well. So, you have to ask yourself what is more important: time, money, or convenience?
Saving You Money
Unfortunately, many of us are limited with a tight budget. So, if money is your motivating factor, the cheapest way to fill your balloons is to do it yourself without helium. However, if you are committed to using helium, the numbers don’t lie. Renting an industrial-sized tank and doing it yourself could save you some money, especially if you have hundreds of balloons to fill.
Saving You Time
While saving money is nice, time is also valuable. And one thing price quotes don’t take into account is the amount of time you will spend filling helium balloons yourself. Furthermore, it also doesn’t include mistakes or broken balloons. Doing the grunt work can be both frustrating and time-consuming.
Sure, it may save you a few bucks to do the job yourself. Keep in mind though, the bigger the event, the longer you will spend filling the helium balloons yourself. If time is limited, your efforts could be better used on other things.
The Added Benefit of Convenience
Ultimately, you have to weigh the pros and cons, then determine which factors are most important to you. And truth be told, sometimes it’s worth paying for the convenience of having professionals take care of the time-consuming tasks. It’s one less thing to worry about and one less thing that could go wrong if you are coordinating a large event.
For others, it may be more convenient to rent a tank and fill the balloons on site. In addition to the financial savings, you also won’t have to deal with the hassle of transporting a large number of balloons from point A to point B. Having one less errand to run offers its own relief. Only you can decide which option benefits you most.
- Super Bowl Party on a Budget
- 3 Reasons Why Weddings Are So Expensive
- 4 Ways to Save on Valentine’s Day
Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.