Budgeting for Birthdays: How to Keep Costs Down

Budgeting for Birthdays

I made a very silly mistake with my three children. They were all born in the autumn, one month apart, right in the lead-up to Christmas, which makes this time of year extremely expensive for us! In order to avoid needing to remortgage every time September rolls around, I have taken to budgeting in advance each year, and cutting costs wherever I can, in order to minimise stress and spending so that we can enjoy the celebrations instead!

Little and Often

My approach to saving, for anything, not just birthdays, is to put aside a little every fortnight rather than trying to save a bigger amount all at once. I appreciate that freelance work allows this more sporadic approach to saving, but even if you manage to put aside £10 a month, that is over £100 a year, which will really help make a dent in those birthday spends in the long run! I have a separate savings account for birthday and Christmas spending money so I know not to touch this, and I enjoy seeing the figures increase over the course of the year. I always try and start saving as far in advance as possible, so that when autumn approaches, I know that I will have the money for birthdays.

Limit Numbers

It may sound mean, but I have never been one for inviting the whole class to a party. For one, at least half of those children will not actually be friends with your child, so why spend the money on entertaining them (harsh, but true). Secondly, it costs so much money to host a party for the whole class, and in my opinion, it makes much more sense to spend money on your child and their closest friends instead. I am somewhat fortunate as my children tend to stick to one or two friends at a time, so I am able to treat them to activities such as bowling, the cinema, trampolining or rock climbing, without breaking the bank on expensive official parties at these places.

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Skip Party Bags

I also avoid expensive party bags where I can, as they are such a waste of money for what is essentially tat and things that the children will get tired of within a day and then will end up in the bin. Instead, I focus on making the celebration itself exciting and always have plenty of sweets and birthday cake on hand which, let's face it, is the part of the party bags that kids look forward to anyway.

Buy Gifts in Sales

It makes sense to get gifts in the sales when they will be cheaper. It may mean that you can't let your child choose the latest must-have present, but it will mean you can spend money on a gift that they will love without getting into debt. The best sales are usually just after Christmas, in January, so think ahead, but if you do miss out, look out for special offers in supermarkets and on online retailers such as the Amazon Prime days, when you can pick up a bargain.

Sleepovers are Your Friend

Was there anything more magical than a sleepover when you were a child? I love organising sleepovers for a birthday as it is a fun party without the huge price tag. All you need to do is to put on some films, provide the snacks and have some earplugs to hand when they get too loud (trust me, it'll happen). Also, FYI, the day after they will be so grumpy, so be prepared for that!

Hopefully, these suggestions will help keep the costs down when planning children's birthdays close together or near other big seasonal events. I know that they have been a lifesaver for me over the years!

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