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How Much to Spend on Gifts?

Hi, Moms. Just wondering how much each of you spend on birthday gifts for preschoolers and elementary aged children. I have a 3 year old and he is starting to receive birthday invites from friends at school and in the neighborhood. Just don't want to break the bank, but don't want to be stingy either. Any advise would be great. Thanks.

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Thanks for all your advise. I wasn't totally out of the ballpark with what I have been spending, but it is good to know I can cut back a little and not feel cheap!

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I just started this also. I tend to spend $15-$20 on a gift. That way you can still get something nice without spending a fortune. It seems that's what everyone else spends at the parties that I have been to with my daughter.

I've always thought $15.00 was good for that age. As they get older, or for a special friend, I do $20.00. (as they get older... it's $20.00 CASH... that's all they want!)
Some people may do more, but that's what's affordable for us, and they get invited to so much! Hope this helps.

You don't need to go over $10. Art supplies are one of the best presents, because for $10 you can get several kinds of colored markers, paints, or pencils, with a pad of paper and a folder or some kind of cool bag to put them in! I find it strange that some posters gauge the size of the gift to the elaborateness of the party. That's putting it on the same level as a business transaction, IMHO. You are not obligated to spend more just because the parents chose to spend a lot on a party.

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Hi I myself have a 5 year old and I 3 year old but we got invited to our first b-day party for her age in preschool and it was hard to decide on how much to spend. Well my advise to you is to ask what kind of stuff the child likes or what the parents would like for you to get. If the child and you guys are really close friend I could understand if you want to spend a little bit more but usually I would think $10-15 i would think? I have had a couple of close friends that I would spend a little bit more cause they are really close. Or if they want some clothes I would get a couple of outfits for them. I hope this helps.


a Little about myself: I am a 29 year old mom with a 3 year old-Boy and a 5 year old - girl. I am SAHM as well for 5 year and love it. I am happily married for almost 2 years.

1 mom found this helpful

My general policy is around $10-15 if it's not a friend we spend time with outside of school. My oldest is in kindergarten now. Recently I started to ask the parent (when RSVPing is easiest) what to get their kid when I didn't know them well. I've been consistently and pleasantly surprised that parents are usually giving specific ideas that normally are under $10. Just today we were at a girl's party whose mother said she really wanted some Lip Smackers & a makeup bag. I spent less about $8 on a 6-pack and a makeup bag and she was thrilled. The last birthday girl wanted new coloring books. When I don't know, though, I stick to the $10-15 and go higher for kids we know well or see outside of school. Packaging also counts. Don't get a $4 card, a $3 bag, etc... I cover the gift in colored tissue paper and stick it inside one of those clear plastic shoeboxes that are around $1 and voila...it's ready to go. Parents have commented on how nice it was to NOT have yet another gift bag or wrapping paper to toss out, and how neat their kid thought it was to have their own box for art stuff or matchbox cars or whatever. Good luck!

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I would say around $12.00 to $15.00. When they get a little older then about $20.00-$25.00.

A homemade batch of playdough or finger paint is easy to make and often appreciated. We put it into a reusable container and wrap or decorate. Books are always a great way to go. My son will often pick out a book that he has enjoyed himself and thinks a friend would like.
With friends, he will even go through his toys and books and pick out some special things he'd like to give. For example, he recently gave a younger friend one of his Thomas trains and a book. It meant so much to the little boy and my son was sharing something of himself.
It is clear that many kids in our culture have more 'stuff' then they could ever use. We try to keep things simple and personal if possible. If a toy is destined to have a short life and then a trip to a landfill, we take a pass.

I would spend $10.00. There are some very nice gifts out there for that price. Even those nice boutique type stores have great gifts, for a great price. However, if it is a good friend you may want to spend a little more, but I would try to keep it simple. Kids get so much these days, no reason to spend $25 on each kid.

I think you need to spend what you believe is will fit in your budget. My hubby and I are living on one income so I can stay home with the kids. Everyone knows this and must realize that I can't spend a fortune buying gifts for everyone. My own family knows that I won't always buy birthday presents for my nieces and nephews. Nor will I be able to do Christmas for both the family in IL and in SC every year.

As a rule I generally spend $10 to $15 for friends of the family and then $20 to $25 for relatives. It also depends on the finances for that month. Some months are tough since there are several birthdays.

Also remember it is the thought that counts...which I think many in our materialistic society have forgotten. If you made homemade gifts like blankets, pillows and such it still should be appreciated.

The going rate is about $20. It's always nice to give a gift receipt ,too!

I really getting games for kids presents, or puzzles and the like...usually can find really cool stuff for fifteen or twenty dollars. Target usually has a good selection of this stuff.

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