16 answers

How Much $ to Spend on a Classmates Birthday Party Gift?

My daughter is in kindergarten and has been invited to 3 parties in one month. It's very nice and my daughter is super excited but it's starting to break the bank. And I don't know these girls real well because they're from her classroom so we keep running into how much do we spend and what do we buy? These parties my daughter's been invited too have been pretty spendy it's costing the host $9-$15 dollars per kid. So my question is what's a fair good amount to spend and what are some creative or good ideas on gifts. I'm not really into buying Barbies and My Little Ponies etc., because I always worry the kid already has it or may not be into it.

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So What Happened?™

Wow you all are so helpful I was spending close to 20 dollars per birthday party and I'm a struggling single mom so now I feel comfortable stepping down in my price limit. I think after next xmas I'm gonna do the clearance racks and stock up as well as go to Micheals and look for awesome craft ideas... Thanks to everyone!

Featured Answers

I always spent $10-12 and usually ended up getting some type of craft thing they could make. Michaels has a lot of them and so does Target.

For us it depends on how well you know the kid.
If I don't know them well, I usually will get some consumable art supplies (markers, tablets of colored paper, molding dough, stickers) Stock up at the sales and keep them stored for those emergency birthdays. Books too. Getting a nice hardcover new release (ask the clerk for a newer one that they probably wouldn't have) and a homemade card or bookmark.
Hit a clearance rack at BabyGap for a cute but cheap shirt. Claires Boutique usually has a clearance rack where you can get some inexpensive hair clips or bracelets to add on to a present too.
J. L.

More Answers

I always spent $10-12 and usually ended up getting some type of craft thing they could make. Michaels has a lot of them and so does Target.

Why not make up a coupon redeemable for a playdate?

I saw this in a magazine and have full intent on using it if I'm in a bind.

Worth a try and it will be a fun thing that surely no one else would think of to give!

How about splitting the cost of a gift with another family. I did that for a friends kid. He really didn't need more gifts (or any gifts for that matter) but you want to do something. My other friend and I went in together and got him a great gift for what we were willing to pay. It was better than what we would have gotten separatley and it was fun to shop with her. I did the card and she did the gift wrapping. The kid loved the gift. I am not sure if the mom was okay with it or not but I probably would have heard if she wasn't.

It is OK to say NO to the party itself. If they are just casual friends and not someone your child talks about then simply decline the invitation. You are not obligated to attend the party and thereby you eliminate the stress of the gift. If the mom is offended that you didn't come SHE needs to get over it. Kids parties are expensive for everyone. Later on you will have to worry about who to invite to your child's party.

Not sure if this would work but it sounds like a good idea. How about a point pass to the Mall of America (something like 10 points maybe), or there is an indoor park called Edinborough in Edina (it costs $5/child), they sell gift certificates for there as well (maybe a certificate for $10) I am not the greatest at buying gifts for other peoples kids, because I think "they probably already have that", and I get so frustrated. The Libby LU store at MOA always has cute things and I think that is a HUGE hit with girls of any young age. Stuff a Bear might be a good idea to, you can get Birthday theme ones, or try shopping at Claires for hair accessories. I don't know if any of these are good ideas or not, just thought I would throw something out there. Crafty things at Michaels might work as well, they have all of those kits. Just remember to attach a gift receipt for any items you buy. If she already has the item, then they can return it to buy something else.

I have always been told $1 per year of the child. It works great, because most of the time at that age, they are going to lose it, break it, or already have it. Also I know a lot of people hate gift cards, but they are nice because then the kid likes to choose the gift.

I know my son's favorite gift when he turned 6 was a $5 gift card to McDonalds. He was so happy with it, he wanted to leave right away to go use it LOL. Good luck.

For us it depends on how well you know the kid.
If I don't know them well, I usually will get some consumable art supplies (markers, tablets of colored paper, molding dough, stickers) Stock up at the sales and keep them stored for those emergency birthdays. Books too. Getting a nice hardcover new release (ask the clerk for a newer one that they probably wouldn't have) and a homemade card or bookmark.
Hit a clearance rack at BabyGap for a cute but cheap shirt. Claires Boutique usually has a clearance rack where you can get some inexpensive hair clips or bracelets to add on to a present too.
J. L.

Hi,
My daughter gets invited to a ton of parties and it gets really expeniece. So we try to keep it for sure under $15.. So $10-15 is fair in how much to spend. We try to keep with the same item for each girls throughout the year... For example...
One year we did a jewerly box with some fun little things to put in it. I got them a Claries real cheap and just bought a few at a time so I hand some on hand.
We have also done little scrapbook and crafts for the girls.
Once the girls got older.. (they are now in 4th grade) Gift cards they LOVE..
If you do buy little a barbie or someething, just attach a gift reciept, that way they can return it and pick something else out.
Hope that helps a little.

This is the rule I go by when my daughter(she is six)get s invited to a birthday party by one of her class mates. If the birthday boy or girl is someone she has also spent time with outside of school then they will get a $10-$15 dollar gift. If it is someone that she only sees during school hours then they get a five dollar gift. Now I know five dollars seems like so little money but for five dollars you can get a child a nice book and a card.

How about a gift certificate to spend a day doing an activity with your daughter? I printed up a couple of gift certificates for my sons to pass out as gifts. One was to take the birthday kid to a Twins Game with our family this summer. The other was to spend a day swimming at a pool. You could come up with anything. A day at your very own spa where you could have the birthday girl come over and do their nails and hair and have tea and little shaped sandwiches. Another idea is a movie night. You can get a package of microwave popcorn, and a box of candy at Target very inexpensively, throw in a $5 movie from the bins at Cub, then put them in a cute popcorn bowl or popcorn box, (you can get these cheap at Target too, they come in packs of four), I think. Another gift that my 11 year old daughter gave, but I think would work for any age, was to make a big overstuffed pillow. We made it like the fleece tie blankets. You can find pretty cheap, cute fleece at Joanns then get some batting for a couple of bucks and have your daughter help tie the ends. The birthday girl loved it!!!! You could get enough fleece and batting and make three pillows for the three parties. Hope this helps.
M. B.

I like to shop for gifts at JoAnn or Michaels. They've got lots of fun crafts that come with books and stuff in the Crayola/Art aisles. And when you use a 40% off coupon I'm usually spending only $5-10 but it's worth more.

Gift cards are nice but the nagging to go to the store right away might not be. I'd make it for a store that the parents might go to fairly reguarly (WalMart, Target, McDonalds).

How about a movie date pass? You can create your own coupon and have it include a ticket, popcorn and drink.
Right now there are theaters that offers Frosty Flicks for $2.50 per ticket (all ages over 2) and includes popcorn on Saturday mornings at 10.

Whatever you do, don't stress to much. Especially the younger ages. Most don't remember in a few weeks who gave what! And all parents should be encouraging the child to be thankful for all gifts - no matter what the value.

J.

I would spend about $10 on each of them. I wouldn't get McDonald's or play passes though. If my child were to get them I wouldn't be happy about it because she would nag me daily until she got to use them.
One really good idea at Walmart are those Princess gift cards. They are right by the checkout and are pink with all of the Princesses on them. I "had to" buy one for my daughter when she saw it. You are required to put only $5 on them so that would be a great gift. I told my daughter not to lose it because next time we go to Walmart we will be bringing it so I can get my $5 back and then she can keep the card, LOL.
One thing I do is find something nice on sale after Christmas and buy a few so I have a gift all ready when the time comes. I also pick up a few cards ahead of time so then I don't have to make a special trip either.
J.

Target and Walgreens are wonderful - they have toys that are their brand that are just as cool or cooler than the name brand. They have a lot of musical toys, dolls, dress up clothes, and activity books. I've been in this same bind before and gotten some pretty cool things for 5-10 bucks at Target or Walgreens.....thank goodness. And then I always either get a 99cent card or make a homemade card since the kids don't even pay attention to cards at that age....it's just more for labeling who got what.
Also - my daughter just turned 5 - and she got a 5 dollar bill in her card and thought it was SO cool. So, when kids are real young - saving money in a piggy bank is the coolest thing ever......you could even buy them a cheap piggy bank at walgreens or wherever and wrap it and then put the 5 or 6 dollars in a card.... ??? maybe???

Oh man am I glad you asked this! We had 2 K-4 birthdays last month -- I spent $12 on each. Not knowing if that was a good amount or not -- it seems in line or even generous with where everyone is "checking in" so far. We also like arts and crafts kits -- have given some of the Klutz book kits. We have given lots of dress-up clothes which we've found people either have coming out of their ears or don't have at all -- also puppets. Now that the kids are older we've gotten simple wooden beading necklace sets to make your own jewlery -- the smaller beads are too small at this age, but the wooden beads are a perfect size for fine motor skill development (moms perspective).

Good luck -- looking forward to seeing more answers myself.

What I usually do for these parties is go to Micheals and they usually have a kids craft dollar section where you can get a bunch of items for cheap.the last one i bought for i got clay,crayons,watercolor paint,beads,colored pencils,and a few books for a dollar each and got a nice box to put them in. I know as a mom i love when my kids get crafts and books over toys it gives them some fun things to do. Plus micheals has coupons out almost every sunday.

I like buying activity based gifts. For example, scrapbooking items, paperdolls, craft projects,etc. These items can be pretty inexpensive. I also stock up on good sales for these types of situations. TJ Maxx is a good place to get these types of things. I would limit the spending to 10-12 dollars. Also, I started asking my daughter if she wanted to go to the parties, if she was friends with the girl and if she knew what she would like. You don't have to go to every party just because you're invited.

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