Seven Tips for Saving on Birthday Gifts



I don’t know about you, but I always seem to be toting my kids to a birthday party. Buying all those gifts can be a real budget buster, and nobody wants to go into credit card debt trying to impress little kids (and their parents) with lavish gifts. Below are some thrifty tips to save hundreds of dollars every year on birthday party presents.

Check your budget. This will be harder for some of you than for others, but I promise if you stop worrying about what other people think, you automatically will save some serious cash. Focus on your own finances and spend only what you can afford.

Plan ahead. Make a list of upcoming birthdays and parties and factor in several last-minute invitations to accommodate those you haven’t received yet. Computer-savvy mommas can set up a spreadsheet, but notebook paper also works just fine. If you have gifts ahead of time, you’re likely to spend less on a last-minute present.

Stock up. Stocking up on gifts saves money on gas, because you aren’t running to the store every time you get a birthday party invitation. I also tend to spend more when my own kids are with me, helping me to pick out a present for their friend. It’s so comforting to know you have a stockpile of gifts in a big plastic tub somewhere for any birthday party invitation that may come your kid’s way. What to stock up on? Read on!

Know what a kid wants. Some classic, frugal gift ideas for kids of different ages include stickers, crayons, sketch pads, baby dolls, Barbies, balls, puzzles, small cars, beads with string, lacing kits, Legos, tea sets, dinosaurs, Perler beads, DVDs and books.

Where to find deals. Look at thrift stores, garage sales, consignment shops and Craigslist, because usually kids don’t care whether something is USED, as long as it is USEFUL to them. For new items, check back-to-school sales, sales after school has been in session a couple of weeks and going-out-of-business sales (Think of the huge book store that just folded and the savings that were offered!). There’s a large department store chain (hint: It has a bull’s-eye logo.) that has great $1 stocking stuffer-type items year-round.

Card trick. I haven’t bought a greeting card for a child in 10 years, because they are expensive and just get thrown away or recycled. I used to make my own cards for kid parties, but then my own kids started wanting to do it. You can go old school and use construction paper, or have your kids make a card on the computer.

Wrap it up. If you have gift bags lying around the house, use them up! I’ve been known to put birthday gifts in Christmas gift bags—year-round—and have never had a kid complain. Otherwise, you can wrap gifts in the Sunday comics section of the newspaper or have your kids decorate plain copy paper with markers, stickers and rubber stamps.

 

Tip: Planning a party? Use KC Parent's Party Guide!

 

Kerrie McLoughlin lives in Peculiar, MO, and has a blast raising her five kids on a budget. For more frugal living ideas, head to TheKerrieShow.com.

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