I was talking with my youngest child today who has his 10th birthday coming up next month and of course we got on the subject of birthday parties. Internally I was already groaning because I just knew what was about to come next.
Recently he went to a Ninja Warrior Birthday party and of course this is now what he has been begging me to have for his party. But at a cost of over $300 I was thinking “Hell No”, you’re turning 10 not 21.
But this got me thinking, when did it become the norm for parents to go all out and spend upwards of $300, $500 and sometimes nearly $1,000 on a kid’s birthday party? Will a two year old really remember when they are an adult that you threw them an expensive party complete with Jumping Castle? And what if you have more than one child? Let’s say on average you spend $350 per party for three children every year, that’s nearly $1,000 per year. This is, of course, excluding the super expensive birthday present you got them.
Can the average family really afford nearly $1,000 per year on birthday parties?
What’s worse is that if parents can’t afford it, modern day habits (and guilt) find them putting it on the credit card and worrying about it later. If you’re like one of the 16 million credit card holders in Australia with an average outstanding balance of $3,181*, then have you considered the compounding impact of putting another $1,000 onto that debt? Especially if you’re like many households who do not pay out their credit card in full each month.
So, if you’re like me and want to find a better way to reduce the Birthday Party spend, here are my top tips:
1. Chat to the kids about having 1 or 2 friends over and taking them to the movies, bowling etc. instead of a party.
2. Have a BYOD party for Xbox/PS3/Nintendo. These days most kids have some kind of electronic device. We recently had a party where everyone BYO’d their device and battled each other right there in the living room.
3. If you have a pool or a friend with a pool, have a pool party and buy some cheap water pistols, noodles etc. from K-Mart
4. Head down to the local park or water park (if you’re lucky like Townsville) and have a BBQ utilising the free council BBQ’s.
5. Utilise vouchers sent home from school for the local bowling alley, movies, etc.
6. Purchase an Entertainment Book for your local area and utilise vouchers for activities, food and drink.
7. Utilise vouchers for Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut etc.
8. Stock up on Home Brand chips and lollies. Once they are out of the packet the kids won’t know the difference.
With the savings I make each year, I put towards our annual holiday fund. This way my kids still get to celebrate their birthday with friends and we as a family get to make even more memories on a family holiday.
If you plan on taking a leaf out of my book and putting your savings toward a family holiday, make sure to read my other blog “Holidays don’t need to leave you in debt”.
Until next time,
Love and Gratitude,
Freedom & Financial Life-Stylist
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*statistic taken from finder.com.au 2018 Credit Card report