1. Parenting

How Much Do You Spend on Birthday Gifts?

By April 13, 2010

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On CBS' MoneyWatch.com yesterday, personal finance writer Sarah Lorge Butler wrote about a friend who so far this year has attended nine children's birthday parties (or her children have, anyway). At that rate and spending $20 to $30 per gift, Butler estimated that her pal will shell out more $500 in presents this year--not including wrapping paper and cards.

She also raised the issue of the cost of birthday parties today, figuring parents spend $450 for a premium bounce house party package.

"... couldn't we all just close our wallets, go to the park and have a little cake? Maybe do the relay race where the kids dress up in adult-sized clothing and try to run? That one cracks me up every time," Butler wrote.

We can talk about the cost of hosting birthday parties another time, but I'm curious--how much do you spend on birthday gifts for your kids' friends?

Please take the poll below, then feel free to leave a comment elaborating on your response. Butler gives a few ideas for $15-or-less gifts that kids love, like flashlights and diaries that lock. Do you have a go-to gift when money is tight?

Comments
April 13, 2010 at 4:04 pm
(1) Carey says:

I almost always do art supplies. Toys are expensive, and if the kids doesn’t already have it, it usually ends up as junk anyway.

Target has this great “Create Your Own Fairy Tale” kit that I bought for around $12 for every girl party last year. I couldn’t believe how much it had — a big book of blank pages, stickers, pretty paper, ribbon, and more. My daughter took several weeks to write a story and illustrate it with her own kit.

April 14, 2010 at 1:17 am
(2) Katherine says:

Gift cards are always a good idea since it allows the birthday boy or girl’s parents to choose what their child wants (and helps them avoid the hassle of possibly returning a gift that isn’t quite right). We try to match the gift to the child’s interest. For instance, if the kid loves sports, then a gift certificate to a sporting goods store is a good idea; if a child loves books, then a gift card at a bookstore might be a better bet.

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