Like many things these days, birthday parties have become huge, over-the-top affairs. There can be a lot of pressure to keep-up, which can put a huge strain on your budget. It doesn’t need to be that way either. There is no rule that a magical birthday party needs to break your bank. It does require a little ingenuity and most importantly — that you listen.
Kids certainly enjoy birthday parties with all the bells and whistles, but I often find they are less for the kids and more for the adults. In other words, you want to impress the other parents and possibly even make them jealous. Many are not even aware they do this. We can be blind to our “keep up” tendencies or desire to compete, especially when what we are doing is for someone love, like our children.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to give your child a special birthday party, but you need to do it within your means. And never forget that everybody has different means and different values. For some parents, throwing an extravagant party is a priority to them, so they budget a significant portion of their means to doing so. Others will not. Neither is wrong. It goes back to using your money in accordance with your values and respecting that others have difference values.
Once you know what you can spend, it’s time to plan your party. Here is the most important step: Ask your kids what they want. Parents sometimes forget whom the party is for and create parties without their child’s input. Even if your child isn’t ready to manage the birthday budget, you still need to build the party around their desires, not yours.
You may discover they want may be a very simple, themed birthday party. Or they may want a birthday extravaganza that exceeds your budget. If that is the case, don’t automatically say no. Instead work together to find a way to mesh their desires with your budget. Challenge your child to get creative as I did with Lauren and work within your budget constraints. They can still create a magical birthday party.
I found a great infographic to help you throw a guilt-free birthday party for your child.
We throw birthday parties to honor the birthday girl or boy. It’s not to impress family members or friends. But to gather with loved ones to celebrate your child. Memories of the birthday party and presents fade over the time, but the love they receive from you and other guests will remain with them always. And last time I checked, love was free.
What has been the most extravagant birthday party you attended? What birthday request by your child surprised you the most?
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