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How Much Do You Spend on Birthday Gifts?

Hi ladies hoping you could help. We've been getting invited to birthday parties and I'm always wandering what I should spend on these gifts? The age ranges of the kids is up to 8 and I usually look for something around $10, unless they're close friends. Is this too cheap??? The parties we have attended they have not opened the presents but the gifts are so big?? so I'm curious if I'm spending enough?? Anxious to hear from you and thanks for your help!

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Ladies, you are wonderful thank you for the responses! It is always so comforting to read the responses and so glad to find out that I'm not a cheapskate. I've been so worried when I see the big, fancy boxes and wonder....is my gift even as much as others spent on the wrapping alone...now I know, who cares...I've got extra McDonald's money right??? Have a wonderful 4th!!!

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my MO has been around 15-20, but I spend about 10 on the gift, then I spend a few bucks buying candy, trinkets, confetti, etc. and then I wrap the present & put it in a bigger box and spread all the extra fun stuff around it and then wrap that box. I've found this is a really fun way to give cheap gifts, as the young kids REALLY like getting a LOT of anything - even if it's tootsie rolls & stickers. You can score the cheap stuff at party city, or order from Oriental Trading - just about any bags of "party favors" work.

(and hint: all parties my son attends and gets the favor bags, I save most of the favors and recycle in the next gift we give.)

Don't waste money on cards - they're expensive & that money is better spent toward the gift. You can print out a hand made card that's better and personalized.

2 moms found this helpful

Around $15-$20 seems to be the gift "range" in my area (I live in Frisco). I try to buy things on sale when I can and put them up for the next party-- that way I spend less-- which is a good thing. I also try to buy less expensive gift bags (dollar store, Big Lots) and I have my daughter make a card vs. buying one-- which saves money, makes it more personal and she enjoys doing it. The good news is-- I understand that the older the kids get, the less parties they'll be invited to, as the older kids tend to invite only a few select friends.

Times have gone up a bit, I think. We usually spend around $15-$20 on regular parties and closer to $25-$30 on close friends. Things just cost a lot more--Barbies, Bratz, Polypockets, etc!

More Answers

my MO has been around 15-20, but I spend about 10 on the gift, then I spend a few bucks buying candy, trinkets, confetti, etc. and then I wrap the present & put it in a bigger box and spread all the extra fun stuff around it and then wrap that box. I've found this is a really fun way to give cheap gifts, as the young kids REALLY like getting a LOT of anything - even if it's tootsie rolls & stickers. You can score the cheap stuff at party city, or order from Oriental Trading - just about any bags of "party favors" work.

(and hint: all parties my son attends and gets the favor bags, I save most of the favors and recycle in the next gift we give.)

Don't waste money on cards - they're expensive & that money is better spent toward the gift. You can print out a hand made card that's better and personalized.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi A.~
I also used the "birthday box" method...buy jewelry, books, toys, etc. and keep in the birthday box for my child to choose a gift for their friend. I also buy a box of blank cards and the tiny gift cards with envelopes to use, which are less expensive than the regular cards. I also found a bookstore with great prices on books. I do not know the name of it, but it is located on Spring Creek Parkway in Plano in the Garden Ridge shopping center. The children's books are really inexpensive there! Our limit is $15 - $20.00 until 18 years. Then we spend $25.00 on close friends and family until 21. Then we just send cards. We have a very large family...39 cousins! All are almost over 21 now!

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

Absolutely, $10.00 is enough. There is no such thing as too cheap if it is what you can afford. And, if you cannot afford $10.00 for a gift; Make the child a batch of homemade cookies or homemade candy or homemade Rice Krispies, or print fun things to do off of the Internet, such as how to play 10 different card games and include a new pack of playing cards. Make a gift in a jar that simple enough for a child to make, include directions for the child to make the gift with the help of their Mom, Dad or big brother or big sister; part of the gift is the joy they will have in creating the end result of the gift in the jar and the cooking experience itself. Make a homemade card or let your child make it, it will probably not be looked at again ever after the party is over. Make your own wrapping paper too if you wish; a Stamp It Up consultant can show you how to do this. The party is to to celebrate the child's birthday, not to see how much people will spend on a gift for the child. The fact that you took time from your busy schedule and took your child to the party is gift enough already, so there is no shame in giving an inexpensive gift.

I suggest that you gift shop all year round; buy puzzles, playdough, books (even books from Half Price Book Stores), or any age appropriate gifts that fall within your child(ren's) and their friends ages. Just yesterday I went to the going out of business sale of a Teacher's Supply Store in Grand Prairie on Polo Road 75052 and purchased a box of 60 wooded blocks from Melissa and Doug for only $12.50! The sale ends there on the last day of this month. You can find wonderful bargains at Tuesday Morning stores, they are located all over the metroplex and have quality, name brand toys, books, puzzles at amazing discounts. Watch for sales at local stores, after a holiday you will find stuffed bears, stuffed bunnies, etc. on sale at about 75% of the original price at grocery stores, but don't forget the Internet, often you will find bargains online with free shipping. And if someone looks down on you, boy do they have issues in my opinion, and someone didn't bring them up right.

As your child(ren) get older they should be learning the value of a dollar; if they receive an allowance, teach them that they will need to contribute their money to the gift, it will help them learn that nothing in life is free. Your child should be taught to always be appreciative that they received any gift whatsoever, even if they already have that toy or receive two or three at the same party, they MUST be grateful and say Thank You to their friend that came and brought them a gift. Which reminds me, get a gift receipt if available so that gifts can be exchanged in that event. This is all just so rediculous to me that anyone would "worry" about how much they MUST spend on a GIFT for someone. Most children these days have entirely too much to play with and don't appreciate the toy and aren't taught to be grateful; they aren't even taught to take care of the toys and books, etc.

There is NOTHING wrong with having a birthday party for your child and only inviting family members, and having the party at your home, making the cake yourself, making some pizzas, enjoying time spent together and playing with the child making memories.

Did you all grow up having your own birthday parties at an expensive "party" place, with all the "fixin's"? I didn't, my husband and our children didn't? We are all just fine and don't feel that we missed out. Do you feel that you missed out on something? We are sending the wrong messages to our children if we are going into debt to give them a party that is about the party itself and not about them and the celebration that they have been with us for another year. It is sending the wrong message to your child about having to spend a certain about on their friend to make everyone look good and impress someone too.

My oldest daughter has four children and three will be in school next year; she is PTA President for the second year and was PTA Vice-President for two years prior; she attends church and her kids get invitations for church kids, all of the school kids in her children's classes and invitations from family members; are you kidding, they cannot spend $10.00 for a gift for everyone of these parties....and, if all four of her children attend, they still only purchase one gift from them for the birthday child!

My second daughter has 3 children and one on the way, only one of hers is in school but the same information applies as above. And her children are in Daycare and get invitations from children there!

Best Wishes, P.

A little about me:
I am a 53 year old mother of two adult girls and seven grandchildren with another one on the way. Wife of a Baptist Minister, celebrating 36 years of marriage to him in July of this year.

1 mom found this helpful

I stash gifts in the closet for future birthdays and holidays too. When Target clearances the toy department (usually mid-end July and around mid-end of January) I stock up on gifts I know I need to buy for future parties. But I also try to keep the kids I am buying for in mind and the rest I buy things i know are classic and loved by most kids. I used to think the more expensive it was the more appropriate it was but then the first party my son (8 months at the time) was invited to, I let his father pick the gift out. He got a three year old boy a five dollar set of Golf Clubs from Walmart. I was very embarrased. And it was the cheapest gift given at the party and I was so red when he was opening all other other "nicer" gifts in front of everyone. But it turned out the golf clubs were the birthday childs favorite gift!! I learned a great lesson that day. Turns out my ex knew the kid loved golf and that was why he picked them out. All the kids went outside and played with those Golf Clubs for the next hour. The rest of the "nicer" toys remained untouched on the floor.

1 mom found this helpful

My children's friend all have a little more money and I notice they spend more ($30-$40) and buy at Learning Express when it is not on sale...which I certainly can not match! So I try to shop early and get sales. After Christmas Toy's R Us always has sales and then I put it away in the closet. Or I try to go to Marshalls or someplace where they have last years toys on sale. But if it is a close friend I do spend more.

A.--I had the $10 rule for a long time too, but it's hard to find much in that price range so I raised it to $15.

Hi, we usually spent about $20 on the gifts for classmates at their bday parties, and more if it was a close friend. Hope this helps.

D.

My goal is always under $10 unless it is family or a very good friend. There are alot of cut things you can get for that price. Even better is when you find a $15 gift on sale for $7. If we spent more than that we would go broke or have to say no to alot of B-Day parties.

Absolutely! I spend approx. $10/per gift as well. You would be surprised how big the gifts can be at Target for less than $15 so I wouldn't worry.

D. (mom of 2 boys ages 3 & 1)

Hi A.,

We usually try to keep the kid's gifts around $20. That opens you up to many other options. But I can understand if you're going to a lot of birthday parties - it can get expensive!

A.

Ok, so am I one of the few people on a budget here? You should ask youself, "is it in the budget?"
I have learned one very important thing. If you don't have it, you shouldn't spend it. If you have a budget, you should have a gift fund with a breakout for Christmas and birthday parties. If we get invited to 5 or 15 parties a year, I cannot make that number go up.
There are two options.
1) spend less per child if you want to go to lots of parties
OR
2) decline on parties that you cannot afford

My hubby is an engineer and I work from home as book keeper and we still don't have a huge fund to buy gifts. We normally spend about $10, but we only go to about 4 parties a year. My friends are on budgets as well and they totally understand.
Christmas is very small for us. As gifts we sometimes have to get creative and make things for each other.

It is just amazing to me that people will spend money that they don't have just to save face at a birthday party. It is even more amazing to me to throw a party EVERY year for your child costing hundreds of dollars each. We have to rotate every other year with the big party thing.

If I had $20 or more to spend on a dozen kids, I would, but I am not going to make my family be in debt so some kids can have a toy he/she doesn't play with anyway.
Just my thoughts, Liz

I am glad you posted this. I recently took my son to a party for a 2 y.o. and spent about $15 on the gift. I saw a couple of others sitting out that looked a bit more expensive and was feeling somewhat guilty. This was my first kiddo party. Anyway, now I am thinking that around $15 is good. Those others may have been from family or much closer friends.

I know it's hard, but I really wouldn't worry about the price others pay. You've gotten really good advice here though. We only go to parties for close friends or family or else we'd be going to a party every other weekend because DD gets invited to so many, but I always ask the parent what the child would like because I don't want to buy them something they already have. I usually average $20.

When my kids have their parties I know which of my 'invitees' are on a budget and I would never, ever look down on them for the present they bring. I've even had times when some people didn't come because they couldn't afford a present that month so they were embarrassed and that made me very sad. We want the people to come to celebrate our child's birthday and have fun. We don't have the party to collect toys for the kids. And I would never expect more expensive gifts because I spent a lot on a party.

I do agree with a previous poster on the gift bag thing. I've never understood that. I guess we grew up in the same era where just getting to go to a party and play and eat cake and ice cream was the treat.

Hi A.,

It really all depends on how well you know that friend's family or how close your children are. I usually spend $20 +, but again I base that on individual person. I normally do not receive invites unless they are close friends anyway, so my gift is usually around that amount. It really should not matter, but it just all depends.

It is the thought that counts, but I have to be honest and say, I have seen people re-gifting and giving from stores such as Dollar General or Dollar Tree gifts which I personally think is tacky and really cheesy. ($1.00 gifts, is what I am referring to) Have some imagination or at least get the kid a GC card from Toys R Us..or a store you know they like..so...again, that is up to you, but that is what I do.

Thanks!

Gladys

We do $10 however let me explain why. I go once a year to the Mattel outlet store in Fort Worth and buy different kinds of toys. When my son gets invited to a birthday I tell him to go pick a toy out of the birthday bucket for his friend. The toys are all last years models but kids don't care they like them anyways and my son feels special because he feels like he picked the toy for his friend. I would recommend the Mattel store to anyone it is so affordable. Here is there website http://www.mattel.com/matteltoystore/ it has directions to the store.

Times have gone up a bit, I think. We usually spend around $15-$20 on regular parties and closer to $25-$30 on close friends. Things just cost a lot more--Barbies, Bratz, Polypockets, etc!

Well, you have gotten lots of responses, so I hope this helps...price doesn't matter. It's the quality of the gift and the thought you put into buying it. Think of all of the "cheap looking" things you can get for over $20. I personally enjoy making gifts for close friends and family and for others, purchase something inexpensive that doesn't look cheap. Try stores such as Ross, Marshalls, and TJMaxx. You won't believe the great stuff that comes out of those stores. Good luck and just remember, at least you bought a gift. Some people show up empty handed!

we have a rule, $10 for all birthday presents. I'll buy ahead, though- when stuff is way on sale before/after the holidays and other times when toys r us has their 'buy one/get one free' sales on my little ponies and leggo sets and stuff. Then, when we are going to a party, my kids can "shop" in the hall closet for a gift for their friend. You will see people spend more, but most won't. We'd go broke if we went higher, though!

It really depends on the kiddo and what they like... typically I like to do about $15-20 -- I have a TON of gift bags and I never do cards -- we just make a little birthday card at home rather than spend $3 on one. I tend to do candy too because it makes the gift look quite exciting! We always hit the book store ... and get some fun books... and unfortunately, they're never cheap... :(

A.,

Hi. I go by the gift more than the price. If I can find a really cute doll for $5, I give that. Most of what I find really cute at Walmart is just under $10. Thats what I usually do. But once in a while I can find one cheaper thats really fun and cute.

If it is a close friend of the family, sometimes I'll up it so I can get more than one item.

I don't think price is the issue. Its the cuteness of the gift. The way I see it....the kids don't care how much it costs. And if the parent cares...oh well, I wouldn't want to be her friend if she cares how much I spent on her kid!

Hope this helps!

Hi - I do the same as you. I spend $10 for the gift unless it's a close friend then a little more. I don't think that's too cheap. There have been times when our gift seemed smaller than the other ones but I still stick to the $10 rule...

Around $15-$20 seems to be the gift "range" in my area (I live in Frisco). I try to buy things on sale when I can and put them up for the next party-- that way I spend less-- which is a good thing. I also try to buy less expensive gift bags (dollar store, Big Lots) and I have my daughter make a card vs. buying one-- which saves money, makes it more personal and she enjoys doing it. The good news is-- I understand that the older the kids get, the less parties they'll be invited to, as the older kids tend to invite only a few select friends.

I spend about $10-$15, plus the cost of gift wrap, for most kids. For a really close friend, I usually spend about $25-$30.

We usually stick to $10 or less because we are on a budget. It forces us to be creative, but I also stock up when I hit sales and clearances. We start the year off with a set amount for birthday spending, so it allows me to buy in bulk. For younger kids, I often find Melissa & Doug puzzles on clearance at Toys R Us for around $3. The school supply sales in August are great for fall birthdays. Journals and cool pens have been a hit with the early elementary friends. As they get older, it's harder, but we got preteen boys $10 blockbuster gift cards and a box of raisinettes and they were excited about getting to rent video games.
Sticking to your budget is a wise idea. If someone is shallow enough to be bothered by it, you can happily decline the next invitation from them.

For acquaintance kind of parties, we keep it in the 10-15 range; if they're really good/best friends, we might tweak it up a little. IMO, the whole birthday party thing has gotten way out of hand! The gifts get more and more expensive, the parties more elaborate...and since when is it mandatory to give gifts to guests in the form of goody bags?? I was happy just to have a party when I was a kid, and the 'gift' was cake and ice cream.

If the party is an expensive and elaborate affair, I don't think your gift needs to reflect that (the old keeping up with the Joneses pressure); gifts are gifts, not expectations.

That is about what I usually spend, too. I now have two daughters though, and they are usually both invited. I have now uped the total amout to around $20-- $10 per child, because I figure if we were to return the invitation to come celebrate my girls' birthdays, they would end up buying 2 gifts. I know it is hard to think this way, but I would base it more on your own personal budget than what others are doing-- it is so easy to get drawn into doing "over the top" things in our culture. I do buy things ahead too when I see something I think would make a nice gift-- especially nice if you run into sales!
A.

For close friends and family, I usually spend around $50. But, just for casual friends I spend around $30. I can't imagine only spending $10. I figure that most parties cost the parents a good amount of money to invite all of the kids, so I should at least return the favor and buy a nice gift. I really like buying gifts for people and feel guilty if I go too cheap.

Hi I spend $10 on gifts, too. If its a close friend I will spend around $20.

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