When FishBoy12 was just a wee tot, I went all out for his birthdays. At the time I wasn’t sure I could have more children, so why not? And even once I had three or four children, the Creative Birthday Party Queen in me just didn’t know how to give it a rest.
Most sane people don’t sew 16 knight-in-shining-armor capes the night before a birthday party, do they?
Thankfully, God let Debt put the brakes on my craziness. And my husband sighed with relief. The Birthday Express had come to a screeching halt. But, that doesn’t mean we didn’t celebrate. We just searched for more meaningul ways to celebrate and give thanks for the Birthday Kid.
Ways to Save on Birthdays
1. I bake the cake myself. My kids love my cakes, even when I think they’re total flops. It’s so sweet. The bday child chooses the theme and I try to do it up big. I have been known to go a little overboard on the candy. But, it’s the one little indulgence I allow my Inner Creative Birthday Party Queen.
2. We pass on the helium balloons and extra decor. Every year I splurged on a tank or two of helium. While helium balloons are a delight, they’re also an extra expense we can do without. I don’t buy fancy plates any longer, but opt for solid colors that work for multiple occasions. But, we do have a decoration box filled with streamers from by-gone days which we still bust out to make the kitchen festive for birthdays.
3. We don’t have big parties. While I love the idea of a big bash, the truth is that it’s a lot of work, stress, and expense. And since we stopped doing them, the kids aren’t any worse for wear. Cake, presents, and no school are really all they care about. Sometimes we invite another family over to join our family celebration; other times, the Birthday Kid gets to invite a friend on an outing.
4. We look toward family outings for special celebrations. We try to give the Birthday Child some options, whether it’s the activity of the day or the menu plan, we let him choose. Everyone makes him feel special by devoting the bulk of the day to the planned festivities. Since I teach our children at home, I have the liberty to set the school schedule. Birthdays are school holidays. This week FishPapa and the boys went to Legoland to celebrate FishBoy9′s birthday, then we reunited at home for a special dinner and birthday cake. (Since Mondays are Homeschool Days at Legoland, their tickets were a reduced price, about 60% less than regular admission.)
5. We buy one or two presents. Rather than a boatload of gifts, we try to focus on a few important presents that the Birthday Kid particularly desires. Usually this is a fun tshirt and a bigger present like a requested book or video game. The parents gift those and the brothers usually pool their money and buy something that FishMama refuses to spend more money on: Lego.
How do you keep birthdays from getting out of hand — and over budget? I would love to hear some new ideas for saving money on birthdays.
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