Attending friends’ birthday parties is a definite rite of passage for children. Birthday cakes, songs, pinatas, and games are a fun chance for younger kids to bond, and birthday parties continue to be important (and often, more expensive) as kids get older. If you’re planning a birthday party for your child, there are several easy ways to save on the party, but the truth is that purchasing gifts for other kids’ birthdays can get expensive too.
This is especially true if your child is invited to several birthday parties each year, or you have multiple children who all attend several friend’s birthday parties each year. In addition to purchasing gifts for your kids’ friends, you will also need to buy presents for your own children on their birthdays as well. Here are a few ways to cut costs on these presents without sacrificing quality gifts.
1. Make something
Many adults would prefer to have a homemade gift than a store-bought gift, but this usually isn’t the case for kids. Because kids usually prefer a toy or store-bought item, it’s important to be careful if you are making something yourself to give as a gift. If you plan to give the gift to your child’s friend for their birthday, you should start by asking your child if you think a homemade gift would be appreciated. You don’t want to embarrass your child.
However, especially if your family has spent a lot of time with the birthday child, and you know them well, a homemade gift can be thoughtful, appreciated, and much cheaper than buying something. There are many ideas for making homemade gifts for kids; if you are able to make one that takes the child’s interests in mind, you have a better chance of success. Gift kits can also be a great idea for your own children or to give as gifts.
2. Buy in bulk
Toys and gifts are not usually available in bulk the same way as flour, pasta, apple sauce, or other food items are. If you find a toy that you know is age appropriate for your kids and their friends, and the toy is on sale, it can save you a lot of money if you purchase several at the same time and then hide them away to use later. For example, Star Wars is very popular right now; if you find an action figure on sale, or a store is having a sale that requires you to spend a certain amount to save big, then purchasing several of the same toy at once will cut costs later.
Once you purchase the items, hide them somewhere that your kids can’t find them, and then bring them out whenever a new birthday present is needed. If you are concerned about your child’s friends getting the same present, consider buying different characters or items that are all part of a big sale; many big toy stores will have sales on a specific theme or film (such as Frozen or Star Wars).
3. Think outside the box
A present doesn’t need to be a physical thing such as a toy. If you are planning for your own child’s birthday, consider what things they enjoy. Start the day off right by making a special breakfast that they normally wouldn’t get to have. For many younger kids, a special day with you at the children’s museum or library might be as exciting as an actual toy, and if you have a membership to a museum or a zoo, you might not have to spend any money at all. Also, there are several restaurants that give free stuff on birthdays, so you can take your kid to one of those. Grandparents or other special adults can also help with this, for example, you can “treat” your child to a special day with grandma and no other siblings.
4. Consider gift cards
Some people are understandably uncomfortable giving gift cards, especially to other people’s children. However, gift cards give children of all ages the opportunity to pick out exactly what they want. If you have a gift card lying around and it’s for a store you will never go to, re-gifting a gift card can be an easy way to give a gift without paying anything, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it if the child will enjoy it. There are many ways to save when purchasing gift cards as well; many stores will throw in a bonus if you spend a certain amount (so you can buy a lot at once and save.)
You can also trade old gift cards you don’t want, or purchase gift cards at a discounted price online at one of the many discounted gift card sites.
These are just a few ideas for saving on kids’ birthday gifts. Another idea is to search online and compare prices to the stores nearby. Also, some parents limit the amount of parties that their kids can go to in order to save money (and sanity because they won’t have to drive their kids everywhere). Birthday parties and presents are an important part of growing up, but you don’t need to spend a fortune for your kids to enjoy them.