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Ways to save on Birthday gifts throughout the school year

18 Jun

With 2 kids in school and each having 16ish, kids in their class, that makes for a lot of birthday gifts throughout the year. Thankfully they don’t get invited to each and every one, but on average each one attended 7 parties throughout the year. Quality gifts under $10 are hard to come by, but I have come up with a few ways to still give good gifts without breaking my bank. Add that to the price of throwing your own birthday party for the kids and I’m over $200 a year on these events.

Buy items that are sold in bulk

The other day, I was at a warehouse and they had a pack of 6 learn-to-read books packaged together for $10. Divided up that works out to be $1.70 per book. I always love to add books to a gift, or they will also make good treat bag additions for my own childrens birthday party.
Last year I bought a 4 pack of webkinz with an outfit for each, for $19.99. I broke that up into 4 gifts which included a webkinz and an outfit, for $5 a piece.

Clearance bins:

If I see a clearance bin at a store, I’ll look through it and see if there is anything that will work for the age range of my kids that can be used to give away during the year. I’ve picked up a bunch of barbie hairstyling kits for $5 each.

Shop sales. End of season, Christmas, boxing day, BOGO (buy one get one)

Board Games – at Christmas these go on sale for sometimes as low as $5-8. I’ll pick up a couple to have in the cupboard.

Clothes – If i find a good sale on brand name kids clothes, I usually pick up one or two extra shirts or shorts in the size range of my kids to give away. Kidssteals.com often has great prices on DC shirts, or Sportchek will also have some great sales. I was able to pick up Hurley and Roxy t-shirts for my son and daughter last year for $4.88 on clearance racks.

BOGO sales – quite often throughout the year, Toys r Us will have BOGO events. If i can get an average of $15-20 for 2 gifts, that’s perfect when divided in half. These are getting to be more important as my children get older and tastes become more specific. Lego, Hot wheels, barbie and even nintendo will have good BOGO sales that when divided between 2 gifts is still within the budget.

Movies and DVD’s: These are hugely discounted on Boxing Day making it a great time to pick things up for the upcoming year. This year I was able to pick up 5 Barbie movies for my daughters friends for $5-7 each.

Online steals

Kidsteals is a great place to find brand names for kids who are into that, at an affordable price. They will often have DC hats, belts, and shirts for $15 and under. When I see those deals, I will usually pick up a few for the boys in the class.

I like these options because they serve as a good base gift but it still allows me to put a personal touch on each gift without having to overspend my budget. So a gift card to McDonalds, tim hortons, movie pass, theatre pass, or local candy store gift certificate can always be added depending on what the individual child may like. Add a gift from whatever is in season as well as a way to personalize.

While its very valuable to stock up and save throughout the year, its also important to not over buy, thus defeating your purpose. There have been times in the past where I’ve been left holding items that I haven’t been able to use in time and now the kids are too old to be giving that away. If you do end up in that situation, those make perfect donations at Christmas to the local secret santa drive.

Store Closings

Merchandise will be greatly marked down. 80-90% off at times. Go in and pick up gifts that you will be able to use and also head over to the gift wrap section, birthday supplie section and card section. Stock up on kids cards for a few years if there is enough.

When it comes to the birthday party you are throwing yourself, don’t forget to keep an eye out for things that would make great additions to the treat bags. Lip balm is usually sold in a 4 or six pack and can be broken up into individuals for treat bag additions. Hair accessories, earrings, jewelry are often found in multiples and are great items to divide up for prizes or treat bag additions. I like to add a little bit of sweets to my treat bags, so this year I bought two different large containers of candies from the same warehouse store and divided them up myself into the treat bags.

Lastly, the best way to save on birthday gifts is to ask every guest to bring a toonie to the party. The birthday girl gets one dollar and the other dollar gets donated to a charity. This was actually tested by one of my daughters friends this year who celebrates a birthday close to christmas and is inundated with so many gifts at once. I thought it was a great idea and would love to see the trend continue, making the party more about the celebration than the gifts.

 

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14 Responses to “Ways to save on Birthday gifts throughout the school year”

  1. Budget & the Beach June 20, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Good tips! I guess that’s one area I managed to sneak out on in life. I really don’t have anyone to buy gifts for. If it’s a friend’s bday, we usually just do lunch or something along those lines. I also have a very small family where really no kids are involved.

  2. See Debt Run (@seedebtrun) June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    I’m guilty of never using the clearance bin for birthdays. I don’t know where I got this, but it’s been driven into my skull that you have to spend a good amount of money on birthday presents. I know that I’ve never cared when friends give us gifts, but for me–I just feel like I should? I know that my thought process there is completely silly, and it is something I need to work on. Our little one is turning 1 soon and I know that she doesn’t care at all how much mommy spent on her gifts!
    -M

    • myjampackedlife June 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      It is hard because you want to give a gift that is thoughtful and something you know they will like. Kids are alot easier than adults as they usually aren’t that fussy. All the gift ideas still leave room in the budget to personalize for each child. Children I know very well, or family friends I will usually spend more on though. Save when you can, spend when you can too.

  3. fromshoppingtosaving June 18, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    All great tips! I need to build a “gift collection.” Right now all I do is save each month towards my gift fund. It’s a great strategy but I also need to be on the hunt for gifts on sale year-round. Then I won’t be hurting once Christmas rolls around.

    • myjampackedlife June 18, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      christmas is a whole other story. I’ve bought somethings as early as April for a christmas present. but lately i seem to find good sales as christmas draws near. Now i just make a list starting in June and so i have the ideas done by November then i can watch for the best price.

  4. TacklingOurDebt (@TacklingOurDebt) June 18, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    That is a great list of suggestions for people with little ones. I’m sure all of those gifts would add up quickly if you didn’t look for awesome deals like you do. Books and board games are always a great gift.

    • myjampackedlife June 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      i like to give somewhat educational gifts when i can. Im just glad one of my kids is almost done with the whole party scene within next year or two. Just in time for baby to start though!!

  5. Modest Money June 18, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    I hadn’t really thought about this expense of having kids, but thinking back to attending birthday parties when I was young, it sure would add up. That’s smart of you to keep this in mind year round and stock up on stuff when it is on special. I also really like your toonie idea. If they could all adopt that strategy it would be so much more affordable for all the parents.

    • myjampackedlife June 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      it would be such a great idea, but the kids are having a hard time adjusting. Hopefully in a few years time, gifts will be a thing of the past. literally!

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