Author Topic: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties  (Read 6289 times)

Kdood

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My wife and I are new to mustashiansim. We are at the stage in life where we get invited to numerous birthday parties. We are greatful for the invites, as the locations are often fancy play gyms or other party venues and our kids have fun. Historically we spend $20 to $25, which is often what they spent on us as hosts, but we want to save all we can now. How do you guys do it?

Secret Agent Mom

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2016, 09:45:06 PM »
I buy stuff that's heavily discounted, but still nice on Amazon around Christmas.  I keep a few boy toys and girl toys in the closet.  Target also does cheap toy clearances a few times per year. 

lpb0306

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2016, 10:08:15 PM »
I buy stuff that's heavily discounted, but still nice on Amazon around Christmas.  I keep a few boy toys and girl toys in the closet.  Target also does cheap toy clearances a few times per year.

This is what I was going to advise as well. Could also do $10 gift cards to a store they could use it at. $10 seems like a lot to a kid! Target is a good choice for that.
Silly string, putty, coloring book, crayons, fun pens, water balloons, play doh, fingerpaint, a book, an inexpensive digital watch with a movie or cartoon character...lots of things cost just a few dollars and kids love them. (I'm a nanny and the kids I care for LOVE these things..aged 7,5 and 1)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 10:11:38 PM by lpb0306 »

jac941

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 10:43:33 PM »
We don't do gifts for kids parties, and we always say "NO GIFTS" on all invitations for our kids parties. This is how we've always done it, so our friends know the drill and frankly find it a little easier. Their kids already get too much crap, and they're really happy to know that we really mean it when we say don't bring a gift.

It sounds like you've historically done the gift thing, so if you were to adopt a no gifts policy, you'd have to spend a year or two explaining or risk hurting feelings. It might help to explain your reasoning - for us the "no gifts policy" is actually not driven by finances. We just don't want to contribute to the rampant consumerism, and we live in a high cost of living area, so everyone (including us) lives in small homes with no space for more stuff.

On the rare occasion that not bringing a gift would be really inappropriate, we bring a book.

Stashing Swiss-style

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2016, 05:41:54 AM »
I really wish I had followed jac941's advice from the beginning!  I really dislike the amount of money that is spent on gifts which, frankly, no one needs.  Kids LOVE opening presents, but the actual gift is not what is important to them.  I would much rather my kids were given useful or fun inexpensive things such as pens, pencils etc (as described by Ipb0306).  It's hard to be different, but I highly recommend you make a decision now and stick to it.  Say no to gifts for your kids as a starter (many people don't listen unfortunately....). 

norabird

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2016, 10:39:20 AM »
Sidewalk chalk! Or a nice book on clearance. It should be possible to spend $10 or less on kid gifts.

AZDude

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2016, 10:50:48 AM »
My wife and I are new to mustashiansim. We are at the stage in life where we get invited to numerous birthday parties. We are greatful for the invites, as the locations are often fancy play gyms or other party venues and our kids have fun. Historically we spend $20 to $25, which is often what they spent on us as hosts, but we want to save all we can now. How do you guys do it?

Just spend the $20. Its a kids birthday party. Difference between frugal and cheap is a fine line.

ABC123

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2016, 10:52:39 AM »
$25 is definitely more than you need to spend on birthday presents.  I keep an eye out all the time, and anytime I find something decent for a good price I nab it and put it in the closet.  But if you don't want to do that, a $5 bill in a card your kid makes himself would be a huge hit by any kid I know.

chrisdurheim

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2016, 11:27:23 AM »
I've got 3 kids 5 and under so have run into this a bit.  In general, I'd say the following:

1) Set a good example - when our kids have birthday parties going forward, we're going to be asking "no presents" and we won't be providing "goodie bags".  The point is to celebrate together and most kids are good just playing - the focus doesn't have to be on the material side.
2) For parties you attend, you can get a couple coloring books from the dollar store at $1 a piece.  When we do get gifts from family/friends we always encourage creative stuff (art supplies, etc) instead of toys which just build up in clutter so we like to do the same on the flip side.  A $1 coloring book will provide as much or more entertainment than a trinkety piece of junk that's just going to get lost, broken, or end up in the trash.
3) Don't buy cards - have your kids make them.  Friend-to-friend our kids cherish a self-made card more than a store-bought one - again we  like to do the same for the events our kids attend.

Kapiira

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2016, 12:23:00 PM »
I generally look for a gift that is bigger and showy (chocolate covered marshmallows on a stick or a big lollypop) and a gift card to a local dessert shop or cash.  I usually end up spending around $15.

mm1970

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2016, 12:43:11 PM »
My wife and I are new to mustashiansim. We are at the stage in life where we get invited to numerous birthday parties. We are greatful for the invites, as the locations are often fancy play gyms or other party venues and our kids have fun. Historically we spend $20 to $25, which is often what they spent on us as hosts, but we want to save all we can now. How do you guys do it?

Just spend the $20. Its a kids birthday party. Difference between frugal and cheap is a fine line.
That's what we do, but at some point, you can easily have two kids with 5-10 birthday parties EACH. 

Cassie

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2016, 12:44:14 PM »
I would limit the spending to 10.  If you buy on sale you will be fine with this limit.

Stachetastic

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2016, 12:50:20 PM »
I also shoot for $10 gifts. That can easily buy play doh, a craft kit, action figure, matchbox cars, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, a small game. A little something in every age range. I have two kids--8 and 4, and I agree that they have no concept of who gets them what, nor how much any item costs. I even try to stay in the $10 range for my own kids' birthdays, as they are overwhelmed with gifts, even at our small family-only parties.

kiwigirls

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2016, 12:58:36 PM »
Agree with previous posters - if you don't move in frugal circles then cheap presents/no presents can look stingy...  There is always that balance to be found between a frugal life and your communities social norms.   I look for sales where you can buy $20-$25 items for half price and keep them in the present cupboard for future use.  It has halved the cost of gifts for us whilst still staying within normal social boundaries.  Also I didn't buy gift wrap when the children were little, I reused all their artwork from pre-school/kindy as wrapping paper and we do homemade cards or $1 cards.

SKL-HOU

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2016, 01:07:01 PM »
I had a friend that would get some sort of bonds for kids' birthdays. I didn't have a kid at the time so I don't remember the details but I think they would pay $10-15 for a $25 bond or something like that. You could always do something like that along with a $1-2 simple toy. The kids may not appreciate it just yet but I bet most parents would (unlike my friend whose kids received them) and the kids would appreciate when they grow up.

Dee18

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2016, 01:40:04 PM »
My favorite gifts to give were (1)nice art supplies, bought when on sale at 40% off--could be a set of markers and a roll of white paper, for older kids watercolors and pad of heavy paper, and (2) tools.  For tools you can give 2 screw drivers, some screws and a board with some holes partly drilled...age appropriate of course.  Another favorite is a good flashlight.  Also small cake pans (cheap at restaurant supply) and the dry ingredients already mixed, with a recipe.  You have to know the parents for these, but I never believed in my daughter going to a bday party where she wasn't really friends with the birthday child.  She was a shy child so she did not want to go to those either.  I taught her early that you don't have to go to a party just because you are invited.  When she declined an invite, she could make a card to give to the child at school. 

My mom had a rule that I followed: you get to invite as many guests as your age.  A friend had a rule that his kids had to make a homemade card for any party they went to...I adopted that rule too.

honeybbq

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2016, 02:03:16 PM »
Bring a mylar balloon, a cute little book, and a new box of crayons. That should be $<15.

Don't attend every birthday, just good friends.

And, its for kids' birthdays- it is still magic to them, not over consumerism.

nobody123

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2016, 02:33:48 PM »
Just spend the $20. Its a kids birthday party. Difference between frugal and cheap is a fine line.

This.  My wife and I had a debate on this, especially since we are in a "invite every kid in the class" stage of birthdays.  I said it was ridiculous that we were spending more on other people's kids over the course of the year than our own, but she pointed out that it's only for a few years then the parties will be smaller and close friends only.  We can afford it, so while I think there's better uses for our money, it's not worth disappointing my kid by telling them they can't go to a party.

MayDay

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2016, 04:02:54 PM »
We just do a 10$ gift of art supplies, basically.

Kdood

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2016, 07:05:16 PM »
Thanks for the great responses everyone!  My wife and I enjoyed your ideas and feedback.

Villanelle

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2016, 08:44:13 PM »
Used book store, and get a collection of books. 

notactiveanymore

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2016, 06:10:47 AM »
I had a friend that would get some sort of bonds for kids' birthdays. I didn't have a kid at the time so I don't remember the details but I think they would pay $10-15 for a $25 bond or something like that. You could always do something like that along with a $1-2 simple toy. The kids may not appreciate it just yet but I bet most parents would (unlike my friend whose kids received them) and the kids would appreciate when they grow up.
My grandparents would give me a $50 bond (purchase price $25) when they remembered for my birthday growing up. I ended up with about 15-16 of these bonds. They never gave me or my siblings any other gifts. I finally cashed them in a year ago when I was 25. Most were 1-3% APY and we wanted to put them towards the student loans with 6.8% APR. I got just about $700, spouse had a similar amount from his own bonds, and we had to pay income taxes on them. I'd have preferred they spent less on a more thoughtful gift.

OP, I agree with many above, still get the gift, but look for less expensive options. It really is a phase for kiddos when they still want to invite the whole class and do some kind of activity.

justajane

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2016, 06:34:55 AM »
First thing is to get over the idea that, if everyone else spends $20-$25 on gifts, that you must do as well.

I think $15 is a nice compromise. If something is on sale, I can sometimes get it to $10, but I don't spend less than that. This is in large part because I had a mom who was too cheap about these things. As a child, I didn't even notice, but I imagine the parents of other kids noticed that my mom shot too low.

But a $15 lego set or $15 worth of art supplies? Or a $15 Nerf ball? Nothing embarrassing about that. It's not like you're bringing a dollar store toy. And if a $5 difference in gift is really noticed among your friends and affects your relationships, then maybe you need new friends. I was refreshed the other day on a school field trip when another mom expressed how she thinks other families spend too much on gifts and that she likes to spend around $10-$15. And I don't think of her as particularly frugal. I guarantee you other parents feel the same way and that we are all just doing what we think we have to do rather than what we want to do, which is spend less.

I refuse to ratchet up the gift giving and the price tag. What happens when you enter a group of parents that spend $30 rather than $25? Do you just do that instead? Thankfully decent presents can still be found for $15, and that's a number I'm sticking to, for the near future at least.

Mind you, I didn't say to this mother that I would prefer we would dispense with gifts altogether, because it's just not going to happen. But I was just saying to my husband the other day how I wish we could start a cooperative in which we got 25 kids in each of our kids' grades. We would all agree to do "no gift" parties and we would all invite all 25 kids to the parties. For the cost of a $100-$300 (whatever you want to spend) our kids get 25 events to have fun together with no worry of gifts and added clutter to our houses. Doesn't that sound lovely?

MsPeacock

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2016, 05:12:51 PM »
There are tons of things to chose from in the $10 to $15 price range at Target. Try to get your kids to help pick as they likely know what their friends like. Art supplies, board and card games, hair accessories, Pokemon type cards, smaller nerf guns, balls, swim toys, bike accessories, craft kits, etc. Tons and tons of stuff. There is absolutely no need to spend $25 in order to have an adequate gift and no reason to feel that you need to pay back the hosts for the cost of the party they chose to throw.    Now that my kids are older and have allowance I expect them to pay for the gifts themselves. 

RFAAOATB

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2016, 05:22:04 PM »
What about just giving a $10 bill?  Sure it shows less thought but it allows you to spend less and the recipient to have a better choice on its use.  And it shows that money is more important than items.

Adventures With Poopsie

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2016, 05:31:54 PM »
I don't have kids but when buying for other people's kids, I try to buy a book or an activity (art supplies, game etc). These can usually be found quite affordably. I feel like it is the flashy (noisy) toys that cost more.

galliver

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2016, 05:34:42 PM »
What if you team up with someone else going to the party that you know well and get a joint gift? I had guests do that when I was an older kid and I really appreciated the fewer nice gifts rather than lots of $10 stuff.

tonysemail

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2016, 06:10:22 PM »
we find ourselves re-gifting once in a while.
after the deluge of xmas gifts are opened, we sort them into piles of keepers, donations, and re-gift.

goatmom

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Re: How to avoid spending $25 on gifts for kiddo birthday parties
« Reply #28 on: March 11, 2016, 03:20:17 PM »
Yes, don't need to go to every party.  I just spend the $25 on a gift card.  That way I save on buying a card, wrapping paper, time spent shopping and wrapping, driving to store.