The $20 Kid Birthday Party

My oldest son is just on the edge of being done with birthday parties that are just family.  In the next year or two I fully expect him to start getting invites to parties and then want a have friends over for his own party.  Yet in the mean time I still get to pull off the easy version where we just have some coffee and cake in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.

Our typical birthday party for our kids are low key affairs.  After all, all the kid really wants are a few presents and a cake.  So we give him just that.  Granted I tend to have fun making the cakes since I typically do something different each year.  In my past my boys have had boat cakes, construction sites, giant cars, race tracks and dinosaur cakes.  Yet ironically making fun cakes don’t really cost a lot of money (I love candy from the bulk bins).  So this year I’m trying my hand at a Lego themed cake with ingredents that set me back $11.  Then I just need to pick up a few decorations from the dollar store (mainly balloons, which also double as toys) and we have an party for less than $20.

It is sort of amusing to me to read stories like this one where parents spend $1000’s on a child’s birthday party.  From my own memories I most treasure the feeling of just being really special for one day a year.  I got to pick what we had for supper on my birthday as a small kid and then the restaurant we ate at when I got older.  I also got to pick what kind of cake I would like and I got a few presents.  What more did I need?

So if you have kids, how much do you spend on their birthday party (and what age are they)?  If you don’t have kids, what did you remember from your own birthday parties as a child?

7 thoughts on “The $20 Kid Birthday Party”

  1. I have two kids, 9 and 6. We do the home made cakes, a few games, low key parties as well. The kids also get to pick meals, help with the party planning, and those kinds of things that make them feel important and special for their birthdays.

    Though sometimes I think it may be easier just to rent a bowling alley or an indoor play park sometimes and not have to worry about cleanup and planning. Sure it would probably be 2 – 4 times the price, but with all the details taken care of for you it might end up being worth it.

    Spending thousands? Seems ridiculous to me.

  2. $6k for a party indicates a much higher than average income!

    Anyway… my memory of turning 6 or 7, with about 35 kids attending a fairly simple party (cake, ice cream, a few organized games) is still with me. As a young boy, my big concern was who invited all those stupid girls? Yuck! I mean, what was mom thinking?!? LOL

  3. I’m just about to have my first, so I love this reiteration of knowing parties don’t need to cost.

    I remember having a water balloon fight on my 13th, my friends, my parents and I. Everyone loved it! (And it was planned at all). We jumped on the trampoline and had a money cake. My mom wrapped quarters, loonies and toonies into wax paper and hid them in the cake.

  4. Have been reading you in Moneyville – wishing you all the best in your retirement goals. Sooo agree with you about the cost of parties – people tend to waste alot of money on these things operating more from emotion & what will others think than what the child wants & needs. My daughter is 21 now – we had simple parties while she was growing up & now as a young adult she likes to go out to celebrate.
    As someone who works in the financial area, people do complain alot about not having the money to do this or that but they also waste alot of the money they do have. I applaud you for thinking about where you want to go and what you want to do – one suggestion for you – have you looked into Manulife One – that is an amazing way to cut down on unnecessary interest costs for your mortgage & other lending costs. Again good luck with your goals – bet Hawaii was divine!!!

  5. I don’t have kids, but I have a lot of colleagues that do, and from what I hear, birthday parties these days seem to cost an arm and a leg.

    Parents sound like they are competing to see who has the better birthday party, be it bowling, laser tag, or other activities.

    It’s getting a little out of hand. But you sound like you hosted a great bday party, and didn’t have to spend an arm and a leg too!

  6. I just found this site and love it – good luck with the retirement goals!
    On the topic of birthday cakes – I made a Spongebob birthday cake for my son last year, this year I want to make a Lego cake – did you get the pan from Bulk Barn? Did you make it yet? Any further suggestions would be appreciated!

  7. Joan,

    I didn’t use a form pan. I just used a regular 13×9 cake pan. Cut into ‘blocks’ stacked them up and froze them. Then I added Oreo cookies to the top of each block and put icing over the whole cake. It worked just fine except the icing wasn’t red enough for my taste. I hope that helps.


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