Birthday Gifts on a Budget

Birthday parties are great fun!  Kids look forward to attending parties, meeting up with their friends, and socializing in a new place that allows them to have a lot of fun.  In today’s budget conscience world though, birthday gifts can add up, especially when you have multiple children attending more than one birthday party on any given weekend.  Since times are tight, and most every family is looking for ways to save some hard earned money, here are some easy ideas to help the entire family save money on gifts but still give really neat presents to the birthday girl/boy:

  • I try to always stay away from buying birthday cards.  We encourage our girls, 7 and 10, to make and design their own birthday cards for friends.  It usually saves us at least $3.00 and the girls get to show off their artwork.
  • Kids love to draw and create.  Every student in my classes has enjoyed having time to craft/draw/or design something.  A simple blank notebook and a really cool set of colored pencils or markers can be a great inexpensive gift.  Origami paper and an inexpensive how to book is also great for upper elementary kids (3rd-5th grades)
  • Do your kids know how to knit?  How about sew?  Make duct tape purses?  These all make really neat gifts for their friends.  Your kids get to be proud of their skills and their friends will want to learn how to from them.
  • An inexpensive gift card to a place like the Co-Op, Barnes and Noble, or even the movies can be a fantastic gift.  My girls love gift cards because it gives them a chance to choose their own gifts.
  • Card games also make great gifts.  Besides playing the game, kids really love making card houses out of them!  My mom and oldest daughter spent an entire day making card houses.  So much fun!
  • Consider donating to Mill Mountain Zoo or a local charity in the child’s name.  This is a great way for kids to learn the power of giving- They’ll be happy their gift went to a great cause.  Several friends have had parties for their children where they specifically requested no gifts- just donations to places like Angels of Assisi or the Southwest Virginia Food Bank.  What a great idea to help kids from just getting more “stuff”… helping others is always a fantastic idea.
  • If the birthday girl or boy loves to cook, give them a few inexpensive cooking tools (i.e. a wisk, cool bowl, cheap rolling pin).  An inexpensive cookbook would work well too!
  • Consider giving a lesson of some sort- Music, drawing, pottery, skateboarding.  The birthday boy or girl would love it!

Birthday gifts don’t have to be expensive to make an impact.  Your kids will learn important saving lessons and the birthday boy or girl will be really grateful to have something that really interests them!


Growing Up in the Valley is Roanoke's very first family focused magazine. We are the premier source for family fun in Southwest & Central Virginia!
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