Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Green and Cheap Birthday

I wanted to post about how to have a wonderful birthday celebration without breaking the bank. A lot of these ideas are also better for the environment because they include used and homemade items.

Kelsey will turn 6 in a month. I've already got her birthday (almost) done.

In our house we only have "friend" bday parties on the even bdays. This cuts down on cost AND how much crap my kids have!!! Of course, another way to do this is to post "no gifts please" on the invites, but most little children LOVE to bring a gift. I also limit how many children they can invite. I find that inviting about 6 kids will give us around 4 in turn out.

GIFTS for dd
16" Bike ($10 from Goodwill)
2 Color Wonder Sets (2/$10 from Walmart Black Friday)
Wooden Doll Highchair (traded at Once Upon A Child-value $5.50)
Gymboree terrycloth swim cover (traded at OUAC-value $6.50)

This gives me a total oop of $20. However, since I sold dd's outgrown bike on Craigslist for $15 it brings my oop to $5!!! We do need to possibly replace a tube in one of the tires of her "new-to-her" bike.

You will notice that the only new items she is getting are the Crayola sets. My kids have been getting used things for gifts all their lives, so this is not an issue for them. I highly recommend not making a big deal out of used vs. new or putting more value on new in front of your children. It is learned behavior to prefer new.

For the party:
Cake mixes are CHEAP! I get them year round for about $0.50 a box. I can get tubs of frosting for just as cheap. I bought the nice jars of food coloring paste at Michaels years ago with a coupon for about $10. I need to replace them, but they lasted over 10 years. It's a great deal and they make beautiful colors!

Activities: This varies greatly by age and number of children at the party. We usually do a little game and craft. I find that an hour and a half is a good amount of time for a party. Longer tends to make for bored children who rome the house looking for things to get into. This is long enough for a game, craft, food and presents.

Party favors are sometimes hard. This year I found a great deal at Lillian Vernon. I bought two packages of 4 little purses with bead necklaces. It was less than $1 per purse/necklace combo! They are cute and come in a variety of colors. I bought them with my Christmas purchases to get free shipping.

Some other fun party favor ideas are: homemade play dough, gak, silly putty, treats/candy, craft projects, stickers
At the Dollar Tree you can find some fun little things, too. The plastic whirly flyer things are fun-its just a propeler with a stick. Bubbles, puzzles, capsules that grow in water, etc.

Salem will be 3 on his next birthday.
His gifts will be a toddler scooter and a helmet. My mom will buy the helmet new and I have already started looking for a used scooter. I'm hoping to pay no more than $10-15.
I also found him a nice wooden rocking horse for $18 on CL, but I already gave it to him. He was turning all our furniture into "horsies" and so I couldn't wait!!!

I'd love to hear your ideas for keeping gifts inexpensive and under control.


Kira =] said...

We also give used items for gifts. We don't want our children to think that just because something isn't new it's junk. Often we'll drop off a donation at a Goodwill type store, then drive around and go inside to shop so they can make the connection.

MJ said...

Love this post! DD is turning 3 soon and I got some great ideas.

I keep gift costs down by bartering with crafty friends - things I've made for things they've made! Also, I've gotten some great deals on DiaperSwappers.

OUAC and Craigslist are two of my favorite places. Kohls's also has amazing clearance on clothes - right now it's 80% off and I stock up for next year!

Rachel said...

I love these comments!

Kohl's is a great place for clearance deals on clothes. I've had great luck with The Children's Place, too.