Dollars & Sense Tip #11: Birthdays on a Budget

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I have a new Dollars & Sense topic for you today! (Finally!!) February is a huge Birthday/Holiday month in our house. Daddy’s birthday and Popstar and Flash’s birthdays are in February, plus there is Valentine’s Day AND my mom’s birthday! Shew! February can sometimes break the bank, if we’re not prepared for it!

Here’s a fun fact about our family for you: Popstar and Flash’s birthdays are one day apart..isn’t that crazy?! They are exactly two years and one day apart. Flash was born the evening before Popstar’s second birthday! How does that work out? It was so strange at first,  but over the years we’ve used it to our advantage a little in that often times we’ve celebrated their birthdays together in one party. It’s kind of neat because it not only saves you a little money on birthday parties, but also time and energy on planning and figuring out more birthdays. As they’ve gotten older, they have had different ideas on what they want for their birthdays so it hasn’t been quite as simple. But it definitely was when they were little!

So I have a list of ideas on ways that you can save/not spend as much on birthdays. I’m not against celebrating and having fun with my kids for their birthdays, but I also don’t believe it should cost so much money every single year that you have to stress and worry over paying for it.

  1. The most important thing is to PLAN AHEAD. This rule goes for anything that you do that involves spending money. You will always come out better in the end if you plan ahead. So if you are planning a party, start with just making a list of everything you can think of like how many guests there will be and what kind of food you want to have, etc. Have a plan in place.
  2. Create a budget for how much you want to spend total and then break it down to each area like Food, Decorations, Party Favors, etc. Try and stick to your budget as much as you are able.
  3. Save ahead of time for it. Sometimes we will take a little from our income tax refund and set it aside for the kids birthdays. You could also figure up how much you need to save each month for gifts/birthdays for the year and just figure that into your monthly spending budget.
  4. Be looking at clearance shelves all throughout the year. You may be able to find things you can stock up on for gifts for people as well as things you may need if you are planning a party for someone like decorations, etc.
  5. Consider making a homemade cake, rather than buying one from a bakery. I have made almost all of my kids’ birthday cakes and they honestly prefer those over store bought ones now. They love mom’s special buttercream icing. It doesn’t have to be a fancy cake.I always let them tell me what flavor they want and what they want it to look like. I just do my best, and they usually love anything that I make for them.
  6. Re-use whatever decorations that you can from year to year. Some things like banners and some birthday candles we’ve even kept for the next year or even next family birthday. Make sure you store them in a place where you won’t forget about them and is easy to get to.
  7. Keep it simple. Kids don’t need elaborate birthday parties to have fun and feel special. Sometimes simple is better.
  8. If weather permits, consider having your party at a local park or some place that would be free like someone’s house rather than renting a place if you are having a large party.
  9. Rather than having huge parties, we typically let our kids choose a place they want to go and have fun at as a family. For example, Chuck E. Cheese has been very popular with our kids. I will try to find coupons that we can use so it won’t cost as much. We will go as a family and have a great time. Then we will have cake with close family and friends at another time, usually at our house.
  10. Try your hand at making homemade birthday cards and even gifts for people. Pinterest is full of ideas for this and you can usually find simple and easy things to make or put together for people. In my experience, people love that you put time and effort into a gift, rather than just buying them another gift card.

I hope that I have given you some ideas to get you started on ways that you can save money on birthday celebrations. I would love to hear your ideas or how your family does birthdays! Please feel free to comment!

Feel free to check out my other Dollars & Sense posts here: Dollars & Sense.

Many blessings,

Amy


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