If your child is in elementary school, you have probably already experienced what I am going to talk about. Have you noticed how many birthday parties your child has been invited to? This isn’t just during the school year either, as classmates will contact them throughout the summer as well. Not only school classmates, but any children from extracurricular activities as well. I would estimate that my daughter, who will soon be entering second grade, gets invited to at least twelve parties a year. That’s a lot of extra presents, cards, and gift bags to be purchasing, especially when the parties seem to fall in clusters.
If you’ve purchased a gift bag recently, you know that between the card and the bag, it can be almost as much as the gift itself! Many times, these kids are not anyone we know that well, and who is perhaps not a super close friend of my child’s, but simply a fellow classmate. Naturally, the child wants to attend each one. Many schools have now adopted policies that require that the person handing out invitations give one to every child in the class, or at least to every member of the same gender in the class. This is to try to minimize the potential for hurt feelings, which I can understand, but it sure means a lot of parties to purchase for! I remember watching a tiff between the members of a group over this matter at the Denver casino party company and I could make sense of the seriousness of this matter.
You don’t have to break the bank though. I have found some clever ways to cut costs without skimping on the gifts. First of all, set a limit for yourself on gift spending. Whatever limit you set, stick to it, or if you find something ideal for less, go with that. Just don’t go overboard buying for a casual acquaintance of your child who will also be receiving about twenty other gifts from the rest of the class, and probably won’t even know who gave them what.
The real places you can save are on the gift bags and the cards. Many card sections have specially priced cards for ninety nine cents. Stick with one of those, or even better, try a store like Dollar General where cars are usually two for $1.00. Dollar Tree ,”where everything’s a dollar”, is also great, because cards purchased there are fifty cents each/two for a dollar, as well. If you have one of these chains available to you, take advantage of their gift bag prices as well! I’m not sure what the going rate is at Dollar General, but I know at Dollar Tree, every size bag , from smallest to largest, and every size in between, is only one dollar. You can find some absolutely beautiful and elaborate birthday gift bags there. You might find something you would pay close to $6.00 for even at a WalMart store, for only $1.00. Best of all, no one will know the difference, because the original price is still on the bottom of the bag. Just by using these type of stores for gift bag and card purchases saves you a bundle. While you’re out, may as well pick up at least a couple of cards and bags, because you just know another birthday party invitation is soon going to be sent your child’s way!
My daughter also enjoys making her own cards for her special friends, so that is another idea that saves money. She will design and decorate her own cards beautifully, and her friends always seem to enjoy them immensely.
I have also done what I refer to as the “summer fun pack” approach with gift buying. WalMart offers a lot of seasonally themed items at low cost, about $1.00 each. Why not make up a nice selection of several items for the gift, such as a Frisbee, a container of sidewalk chalk, a jump rope, some bubbles and another little toy or two? It makes a great gift idea, the kids love it, and you only had to spend about $6.00. Everyone is happy, so it’s a win-win situation. You can also do this with other items for non-summer birthdays, but you get the idea.
So, use these ideas to save the big bucks on shopping for all of those parties your child will be attending. When the next invitation arrives, don’t sweat it, you’re prepared now. Happy shopping!