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Birthday Gifts for Kids- Tips for Giving Affordable Presents

by Karen Gallagher
Sometimes it can feel like you are always shopping for birthday gifts for kids. Once your child reaches preschool age, the birthday party invitations start flowing.  Add a second or third kids into the social circuit and you may need a calendar on your refrigerator just to manage the birthday party schedule.  While some parents stick with a girl-only or boy-only theme, others extend a hearty birthday invite to every child in the classroom.  Either way, it can seem like there is a party every single weekend. And this means you will be buying lots of birthday gifts for kids.


When your child received the very first invitation, you probably spent some time looking for the most adorable, unique birthday present.  You possibly had a budget in mind…and chances are you went a little over your mark.  Then throw in the cute gift bag, the matching tissue wrap, and the $3.99 card that took you several minutes to find (and a lot less time to find the trash can), and you have surely spent way too much on the kid's birthday gift.


To lighten the load on your wallet, keep these tips in mind before you buy the next round of birthday gifts for children:


  • Send a birthday gift for kids from The Lollipop Book Club- You can send a single book, an adorable lollipop, and a personal gift card for $15-$25.  This price includes everything, even shipping.  This birthday present will not get lost in the party shuffle because it is mailed to the child.  It’s a gift experience the birthday child will always remember.


  • Stock up- Create a small stockpile of birthday gifts for kids that you can stow away.  Watch for sale items and grab the deals when you see them. This way you will always have a small supply of inexpensive birthday presents for children to choose from when you don’t have time to get to the store.


  • Avoid last-minute purchases- Do not stop at the store on your way to the party (we’ve all done it), because, in your haste, you will definitely spend too much money.  If you followed the previous tip, you’ll be able to choose a reasonable birthday present from your closet.  


  • Re-gift- Please don’t think of this as a tacky tactic; rather, it’s a responsible way of recycling items your child does not need.  So, if your child receives a birthday gift that is identical (or close enough) to one already in the toy box, it is completely appropriate to give this item as a gift to another child.  I am not suggesting that you pass along junk.  But if the packaging is still intact and the toy is up to your standards, just a duplicate, then pass it along to someone else who may enjoy it.


  • Resist Accessories- We have all done it.  We pick out a perfectly respectable toy for a birthday present. And then we decide that it just doesn’t look like enough. So we grab something else to go along with it.  The other thing may be a smaller item along the same theme. Or it may be a little knick knack to tie around the bow to make the package look cute.  Whatever it is, don’t do it.  It may make you feel a little better about your gift but its value is quickly lost on the birthday child. This kind of wasted money adds up quickly.


  • Gift Bags- Avoid buying your gift bags, tissue paper, and gift wrap at expensive card stores.  You can easily spend another five dollars just to wrap the birthday present.  Instead, you should visit a dollar store and build a small inventory of solid gift bags you can use for any gender and any occasion.  Also, always reuse the gift bags given to you, even if they are a little wrinkled.  Once you add the toy and tissue, they’ll hardly notice.


  • Birthday Cards- I cannot think of a bigger waste of money than birthday cards bought at a store, especially when they are attached to a birthday present you are taking to a party. (It is different if you are mailing a card, especially if you take the time to write a special message in it.) Instead, you can save some money and give a more memorable card by making it yourself, with your child’s help. I am not talking about anything time-consuming or requiring artistic ability.  You can simply use a piece of construction paper, have your child add some stickers, and then sign it. I always keep a supply of brightly colored blank note cards that I use for every occasion.  It forces me to personalize the message. Plus I can usually buy 20 note cards for the price of 2 regular birthday cards.


  • Signature Gift- Come up with a signature birthday gift for kids that is flexible across ages and gender.  And then watch for when those items are on sale so that you always have a handy gift at home.  Art supplies are always a good one.  Crayons, markers, paints, paper, colored pencils…the list is endless.  Buy them up when they are on sale at the big box stores during the back-to-school shopping season.  Books also make great birthday presents.  Think about personalizing it with a special note inside so that the book stands out. Find your “signature gift” for every birthday present and save yourself the hassle of searching for yet another unique something-or-other.


By following these guidelines, you will greatly reduce the time and money you spend shopping for birthday gifts for kids.  You will welcome the next round of birthday parties and feel good about giving quality gifts without breaking the bank.

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