Curious - How Much Do You Spend on Bdays?

Updated on July 12, 2011
T.C. asks from Allen, TX
14 answers

I'm planning my almost 3 yr olds bday party. It's just a small, fun family party, so nothing major. We bought her gifts yesterday, and it made me wonder how much do you spend on gifts for your little ones? (including older kids) Or do you just buy whatever you know they want? Do you try to make sure they have a certain amount of gifts?

I know when friends are invited, it's easier to buy less since they bring gifts too... But since we aren't having friends over, I find myself making sure she has several little gifts. They aren't expensive. They love opening the presents almost as much as having them! :-) But I'd love any ideas you guys have on gifts. With almost five kids, I want to give fun gifts, but I also want to be reasonable with the amount of money we spend.

For those who might focus on spending a very small amount of money on gifts, but still give some fun gifts, what types of presents to do you give?

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses! It was very, very interesting to learn how much you all spend and what you spend it on. What great parties - all of them! Guess I won't feel like I'm over spending by spending $50 on my daughter:-) hehe. We already have the party supplies, and we'll be making her her cake. Even though we don't spend a lot, it's a ton of fun. I have spent more in the past and am trying to keep it more reasonable for our budget...and all the kids! thanks again. It was very interesting to read!

Featured Answers


answers from Washington DC on

I buy gifts on sale when I see them. I have a "gift closet" loaded with all kinds of goodies that I find for 90% off.
I give gifts that should cost much more than what I paid for them.
Shop right after holidays -- you'll find toys and games for pennies...

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answers from Dallas on ladies put me to shame! I spend hardly anything. My son is 2. He gets so much from his grandparents. I made him his gift, we didn't buy him one. We made him a huge felt board. It's 4 feet tall and 6 feet wide. We cut out all kinds of animals, Bible people, number and letters, fruits and veggies, scenes, etc. Money (very little) and time well spent. He has enough stuff. I don't want to contribute to it. Personally...and this is just my opinion, for our family...I would never spend hundreds of dollars. Each holiday he's had since birth, we go through his room and donate some toys. Making room, I guess. Mostly, I just want him to understand he doesn't need that many things, and plenty of kids could benefit. I think American kids get way too much stuff, and they don't need even half of it. He will not be drowning in stuff, and I can guarantee he won't ever get hundreds of dollars of gifts from us.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

We make a big hurrah out of birthdays, but don't go all out with gifts. My daughter is turning 6 on the 23rd, and she's getting 2 Where's Waldo books, a hot pink Hello Kitty shirt, a princess board game, and a Fancy Nancy Puzzle. Everything I found on clearance; spent less than $20 including wrapping paper and a card! Another $10, and we'll have cake and balloons :) We have never done birthday parties (aside from our friends with kids coming over and family), then we usually go out to eat... the birthday kid picks, and mine have cheap taste ;)

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answers from Dallas on

i don't focus on a certain "number" of gifts, and sometimes there'e not a physical "gift"... before you all think i'm neglecting my children, let me explain :) i put away $30 per month, per child - so there's $360 at play for each child on his/her bday. my boys typically choose a night at great wolf lodge versus a party and gifts. their bdays are only a couple days apart(12/26 and1/5), and it's right after the present overload of christmas. so, they usually elect to do 2 nights at great wolf lodge, we typically pick up a big cookie cake on the way, and have a fun mini vacation. when they DO choose a party, i see what the cash situation is after we've accounted for all the party expenses, and go with a gift(or cash) from there... in addition to having some super fun mini-vacations, this has also been an opportunity to learn about money and budgeting.

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answers from San Diego on

We do pretty big parties ($1,000) so no gifts. We usually have close to 50 people, so we do a full lunch( catered). $1,000 seems alot but after invitations decorations, chips, cake, utensils, drinks, jumpy, air regreshners for bathroom, cleaning lady (we always have out of town guest), thank u cards, stamps, etc etc. It adds up pretty quick. We go overboard I know. But I have great kids who are well behaved, compassionate, appreciative and work hard in school. So we love doing the big parties and look forward to having friends and family coming over. But after this last party I am Sooo tired so my 4 year old is going to have her party and pump it up, will probably spend $400. I will let her sisters by her a $20 gift.

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answers from Rochester on

We don't spend much on gifts for birthdays and holidays. Our kids are 1 and 3 and the youngest grandkids/niece and nephew on my side of the family and the only grandkids/niece and nephew on my husbands side. We let our families spoil the kids on their b-day and holiday and buy them whatever toys, etc. they want the remaining part of the year. I am also going to add that My MIL is really likes buying the kids presents...who am I to stop her? (although, i will limit the amount of gifts in the cart):)

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answers from Dallas on

My 7 year year old's Birthday is today. I'd say on gifts and a bowling party about 350.00.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Last year I spent a couple hundred on some bigger toys, play kitchen, etc. I guess if you count the playground I designed and built it would be a lot more, but that would've happened either way.
I usually spend a few hundred on her birthdays b/c she's young. I went to oriental trading and got some cute halloween stuff, her bday is right around halloween so I made it a costume party. I will become like Gee when she's older. I'm a holiday-holic and love bday parties. I can already bet I will end up spending $1000 on future bdays when she has more people in her life to come to them. Being in a new town plays a big role since we don't know THAT many people. If it were my hometown, oh yeah, I'd be blowing a lot of money. I love celebrating her birth. I'm with Gee, as long as my daughter works hard in school and isn't getting in trouble I will shell out money for some cool parties. If I had more kids I'd probably try to put away money every month for it.

For small gifts, focus on things she likes. Zhu zhu pets, littlest pet shop, soccer ball, football, books, art set, Etch a sketch, whatever she is into. It doesn't have to be something she asked for, but I would try and fit in at least the top 2 she asked for if they aren't too expensive.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My girls have the choice every year to either have a party with friends or spend the day in NEw York City and see a broadway show. We typically have a family birthday party for them regardles. I prefer my kids have an end of year school party where they are not receiving gifts from friends because we buy them things from their wish list as well as a few surprises and I don't like to add to the clutter:) To answer your question....several hundred dollars.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I say enjoy those years where they don't request the expensive stuff yet--go by what they *like* or are *into*!
We have O. child and tend to go a little overboard...but when he was little--a toy was a toy and he wasn't that picky...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't focus on the number of gifts. My daughter's bday is 12/27 so I focus on keeping her day separated from Christmas.

We have had many parties and love to throw big parties.... some have been:

Party at the country club 3 total upwards of $2500 (no gifts) with DJ, catered dinner, dance floor, prizes, etc

Limo party where the limo picks up each guest at her home, takes them around town, go to local nice hotel at Shops of Legacy, have dinner, swim, late night room service and movies

Party at our house with DJ, magician, party games, catered.

This past year when she turned 16 she didn't want a party. She wanted to go see the Back Street Boys and NKOTB concert which was in June. SO, I managed to get front row seats for her and her friend, Allen limo (town car) provided transportation to and from the concert. I spent about $1000 on that and they had the time of their life!!

When she attends parties, our gifts are around $30-$50 depending on the friend or relative. Gift cards and money are a favorite, for the girls she knows well and knows what they like she might choose a Juicy Couture bracelet or charm.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

On gifts...for OUR KIDS? It ranges from $70- $120... (a total of about three to four gifts)

On Birthday parties (WHEN we have them- we have four kids and don't have a party every year for all... we do a "substitute" for a party sometimes)? In total: food, goody bags (we don't do cheap, throw-away toy goody bags), activities... NEVER more than $300.00 for the whole shin dig. BUT, our parties are super fun! It doesn't need to be a lot of money to throw a cool party. We just had a party yesterday, everyone had a super-blast, and rented a moonbounce (YES, it was still less than $300.00 altogether)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi, we see a lot of birthdays and a lot of scenarios of birthday spending. I would say the bulk of the moms spend about $250-$300 on a S. Decorating Party, $50 on ambiance decorating, $50 on gifts, $50 on food for the party.

Personally I gave my son the choice when he was six to have a party with friends or travel with me. He chose the travel and has done so each year since. Typically it has been for a weekend. Usually somewhere in driving range or on occasion we have jetted off. I don't buy gifts, that is his gift. It is a vacation for me, a birthday gift for him, a meaningful adventure for the two of us and lots of memories. I normally spend about $300 - $500.

Whatever you do, don't stress it. Gift and P. should be within your budget or means at the time. I have seen a lot of P. with no decor that were a blast and P. with a lot of ambiance decorating that were the same level of fun.


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answers from Philadelphia on

my kids are 5,7 ,11yrs.when they attend friends b day parties i spend between $10-$20 depending on how good they know that child.

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