Have you noticed over the years that birthday parties are becoming more extravagant and parents are opening their wallets to fund these lavish events for a group of 10 year olds. Who can do it big and who can do it better? Give your kids a birthday party budget.
I think it is a little ridiculous, and it just isn’t in my budget to take 8 kids to an amusement park at $50 a head. My biggest pet peeve is also that kids come back from birthday parties with a gift bag? Why do the guests need a gift bag? And sometimes the stuff that is in the gift bag was worth more than the present I sent them with. This is an additional expense that is completely unnecessary. You are inviting kids to an event to have fun and be entertained. They do not have to have a parting gift.
While my children were younger we had birthday parties every year and at the end I saw the pile of presents they had of stuff, that they just didn’t need. So, I decided that when they turned 10, they were no longer going to have a birthday party. Instead they could invite friends for a fun activity. We just didn’t send out fancy invitations and we requested no gifts. I don’t think there should be an expectation of birthday gifts as the children get older. Completely unnecessary.
As mentioned before, these birthday events can get pricey as well. That is why my children had budgets. They had an active role in planning the event and had to prioritize what was most important to them. Of course, there were always plenty of free options. My husband and I decided that we could contribute $100 for each birthday event. Here is a list of what was on the budget sheet for each child based on what they liked to do.
Homemade meal (tacos, spaghetti, homemade pizza, chicken nuggets, etc.) – $0
Order pizza/subs/etc. – $40
Homemade cake from box – $0
Cake from bakery – $25
Popcorn – $0
Special chips or candy – $10-$15
Sleepover – $0
Arcade – $20 per kid for 1-2 hours
Indoor Trampoline Park – $30 per kid for 1-2 hours
Paint your own pottery – $20
Go to the outdoor park – $0
Amusement Park – $50 per kid
As you can see there was a good list of activities and options for my children to pick from. When they started planning what they wanted to do, they had to decide what was most important and also how many people they wanted to invite because that affected the cost.
My son, picked a sleepover, homemade spaghetti, popcorn for snacks and then chose to go to the arcade. He really only wanted 4 friends, so it was a total of 5 kids and they had a blast. He spent the full $100 on his birthday event but he was very excited and really didn’t feel like he was missing out on anything. He loved it! He also chose brownies as his cake so no additional cost there.
My daughter chose to have a sleepover but set the date at the same time as a school dance, so entertainment was free. Good thinking! She wanted to have special snacks, Ring Pops and Funyuns, for the sleepover, so the total cost of her party was only $12.
You might be wondering why I say that homemade food is free. Well, the cost is minimal for adding 4 additional children especially with meals such as tacos and spaghetti. I also purchase cake and brownie mixes when they are on sale so the cakes were actually only $1 or less a box. Another way to save! I believe in helping my children budget, and I want them to focus on the big ticket items. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
My children did learn a few lessons. First they knew that I wasn’t going to say yes to everything. They had to plan this event and they knew not to ask for the moon. That is the best part. My kids are starting to think about what they are asking for, instead of just asking for everything they want. This makes it a lot easier because they are not constantly hearing the word ‘No.’ Also, my daughter planned her party at the same time as the school dance. This was a great way to condense two major events into one, since it is the best experience in 5th grade to have a sleepover after the dance so you can discuss all the gossip!
I felt this tactic went really well, and it really gave my children ownership over their parties. The cost was cut way down for our family which was another bonus! Last year, without thinking we spent over $200 on each of the parties. And I think the kids had just as much fun this year as last.
Have you ever had your child work with a budget? How did it go?