How do you budget for your children’s birthday parties? I have such trouble with this — what’s an appropriate amount? We have always hosted at home, so far. My oldest turned six in July, and my youngest turns four in October, so we’ve been lucky enough to always have parties outside. I also make my own cakes… so far a race track, two pirate ships, a campsite and tent, and Lightning McQueen. This October I’m heading for a dinosaur cake, because my little guy wants a costume party and he is dressing up as a dinosaur.
So that leaves party favors and gifts and food and drink, right? Oh! and the invitations. I’m slightly compulsive about those too. They always include a little poem I write about the child and the event… the younger one seems to always get a photo as well. Creating your own poem and photo card can be quite frustrating. I fought with Shutterfly for quite a while on Saturday trying to get the right pictures in the right place with the right text. Personalized invites also take longer to make and tend to cost more than buying the batch of cards at Target. My mom always wonders why I do this to myself — I don’t know, overcompensating for being a bad mommy in other areas perhaps? (Like wanting to go back to work?)
I just asked a friend and she said she spent $500 for her daughter’s sixth birthday — including renting a place, buying a cake, and ordering gift bag stuff. My jaw almost fell off — this seemed like so much to me! But I have no idea what I’ve really spent in the past on parties, and I did turn my swing set into a pirate ship, so I probably don’t have a leg to stand on.
So far we bought the little guy his main gift, a Lightning McQueen bicycle that he is going to LOVE. I ordered cards (38.68 for 14 cards! OUCH!) and I’m looking for reasonable favors at Oriental Trading. I hate party favors — I mean, I’m happy to give the kids that come something, but I obsess over what to put in them. I want it to be inexpensive but worth keeping a while. I cannot tell you how party favors we’ve gotten that broke right away.
What do you spend on your kids’ birthday parties?