Birthday Party Invitation in the Backpack?
September is a great but expensive month. There’s the recovery from the back-to-school shopping. Then there’s the flurry of cheques you write in the first weeks for school activity fees, milk programs, extracurricular activities and the like.
There are other slightly more sneaky expenses that start sliding in- like children’s birthday parties- to which invitations multiply quickly once school is back in session.
It’s great that your child is invited to these events, but they can challenge even the best planned budget. Mostly because it is a cost that you don’t necessarily plan for.
I list this as an option, because it is an option. However, I wouldn’t recommend declining solely based financial reasons.
Having your child be included, especially at a young age, is as important as keeping your budget together. That said, you can mitigate some of the costs.
Watch the flyers like you do for your groceries and household items. When something suitable in a certain price range goes on sale, stock up.
That way, when the birthday party invite comes in- no sweat. Instead of scrambling out to the store and spending more money than you need to, you simply go to your cupboard and replete your inventory.
You can spend the extra time wrapping the gift a la Martha Stewart (not really. Five-year-olds are not interested in bows and wrappers).
Avoid the Gift Card
I find that, especially as the years go on, the toy gift card gets more popular. While this is great fun, it is also a pretty expensive way to buy gifts.
You can generally get more for less if you go a la carte with the toys.
Save Money on the Card
Greeting cards are ridiculously expensive, and can easily add upwards of $5 to your gift cost. I always have my kids take on the greeting card as a craft project. They love the opportunity to decorate and to create something that is personal for their friend (stickers are good for this too).