How to Save Money on Birthday Presents
When your kids get invited to too many birthday parties, it pays to plan ahead and shop smart!
by Jen Mango
Have you ever asked yourself, how many birthday parties can one child be invited too in a month? I swear my husband has threatened to sabotage my day timer and erase the children’s “engagements” (as we call them in our house) from the calendar so we can have a free Saturday before Spring Break rolls around. The pressure and desire of most children is to attend each AND every party that they are invited. There are times to say yes and times to say no. Plan ahead for birthday presents so when you have no choice or you really want to go, you can grab a gift and go.
Institution of the Gift Giving Closet. Whenever my three-year-old thinks she deserves a prize or a treat, she will ask me if she can go into my gift closet. Yes, they know where it is at and although they can’t reach it yet, I have a place to keep things I find that will have a gift-giving purpose in the future. My closet is FULL of jammies one size too big, extra books that were found at a garage sale and after holiday bargains. There is everything from Bath and Body works lotions, potions and soaps to gifts that were given that were duplicates or just not so…(you know) It is great because whenever I find an invitation at the bottom of a school bag for the next day or my budget just does not allow for anything extra, I almost always have a gift.
The $5 Rule. OK, I am sure you are thinking this must be a misprint, but it is not. With three children and three groups of parties year round, we placed the $5 rule into effect. You will be amazed at what you can find for even less when you start to plan and buy ahead of time. I am one of those moms who hunt the clearance aisles at Target and other stores, watching for toys to go 75% off. Last year in January, I was able to purchase 23 items for a little over $80 for birthday parties (my own children included) and Christmas. Even if you can’t shop ahead, being creative can save you money. A 6-year-old would love a $5 gift card to Blockbuster to rent a movie or video game! Head to the dollar store and make a mini craft basket. If it is a slumber party your daughter is invited to, send a little basket with polish and nail stickers… She will love it and so will your checkbook!
Presents for wants, gifts for needs. When you give a birthday present, it is something we want, not necessarily need. A gift says something about the person you give it too, because it says I know what you need. We use these terms interchangeably and to a degree, rightfully so. It is just good to remember that when we do our gift giving for a family member or special friend, to take into account their likes, interests and desires. This can be done frugally as well if you think ahead and stay aware. If you know your friend collects something and you see one on sale in the summer, go ahead and get it, stick it in your gift closet with a note on your calendar of the purchase. When their birthday comes around, you have the perfect gift!
No matter whom the gift is for, if you shop smart and year round, it will save you money and the headache of always rushing to find the perfect thing. With kids, it is about the experience, not always the gift, so have fun and shop smart!
Jen Mango, otherwise known as the Dime Diva, lives in Frisco with her husband, Phil and their three children. With a passion to shop and decorate on a budget, she is helping women across the Metroplex stretch their dimes to save them dollars. For more information about her services and speaking engagements visit her Facebook page.