August 2012 Moms

Birthday parties after the First one...

DS is teething and thinks mommy needs to hold him for naps....so I am trying to kill 2hrs in this rocking chair.

Anyways, I was lurking SAHM board and someone posted a thread about how much people would spend on a bday party.

Her kid is turning 4 and she is planning on spending around 400 not including a gift for the kid. Most of the responses have been that it seems like a reasonable amount and they would/are spending similar amounts on bday parties.

I am floored! This seems so over the top to me to spend that amount of money EVERY year on a kid's party.

Don't get me wrong we are going all out for the First Birthday and when all is said and done probably pushing 350ish dollars. But we are inviting all our aunts, uncles, cosins on both sides of the family totaling a 150ish total people. [our families are huge]

After this year we plan to do low key cake and icecream parties with just grandparents and our siblings and their kids which will most likely not even cost 50.

What do you all think? Is 400 parties EVERY year crazy cakes to anyone else?

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Re: Birthday parties after the First one...

  • That's too much!  I don't know how much we're spending.  Planning on getting some stuff at Costco and making some things vs buying them.  It's at my parents' house so they're offering to help pay for things which helps.   I think around 4 would be more "friend" birthday parties vs family but that's too far in advance but I know for sure I won't be spending $400.


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  • To hear it out loud 400 sounds excessive. But here in CA 400 is about the avg for a small sized kid
    party at a jump house. More for fun places like laser tag or Funderland. I guess it depends where you're at and what you want. It's nice when they get older and all they want is a movie night and sleepover with a few friends and money. It's cheaper! :
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  • image Island_Breezie:
    To hear it out loud 400 sounds excessive. But here in CA 400 is about the avg for a small sized kid
    party at a jump house. More for fun places like laser tag or Funderland. I guess it depends where you're at and what you want. It's nice when they get older and all they want is a movie night and sleepover with a few friends and money. It's cheaper! :


    See even when my kids are old enough for friend parties I think that is insane amount. We won't be doing bounce houses and things like that. We never did those growing up and I don't feel robbed or like I missed out. And I grew up in a upper middle class family and had friends who did have crazy extravagant parties. I always had sleepovers or pool parties at home for my birthday.

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  • amaiteamaite
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    I don't think it's excessive if that's how the family wants to celebrate. We are doing a very small party, that will probably cost us just for food. But part of how I wanted to celebrate his birthday is with a donation to the children's hospital. We're donating a thousand dollars and I plan to donate that for his birthday every year. So even though we likely won't be having elaborate parties, we will be spending a lot to celebrate him.
  • image amaite:
    I don't think it's excessive if that's how the family wants to celebrate. We are doing a very small party, that will probably cost us just for food. But part of how I wanted to celebrate his birthday is with a donation to the children's hospital. We're donating a thousand dollars and I plan to donate that for his birthday every year. So even though we likely won't be having elaborate parties, we will be spending a lot to celebrate him.


    I wouldn't consider donating money to charity excessive. I actually think that is an awesome idea and something that will teach your child about generosity and compassion.

    I guess I just feel like sinking that kind of money into a party every year is part of why so many kids these days seem to be so entitled. [not saying all kids who have big parties every year are entitled]

    Maybe part of my shock of it was also one posters comment that for them money was really tight so they would only be sinking 200 into this years party. For me if money was so tight a expensive party would be the last thing on my priority list.

    I guess I just have my judgy pants on today ;]

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  • It doesn't seem that over the top to me. Any kind of fun venue or activity is going to cost at least that much. Then there's food. Older kids are going to want to invite all their friends from school. I mean all this is not necessary, but you want your kid to have a fun birthday, ya know? You might have to rethink the small family party at home once they start begging for a bounce house. :) 

     


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  • amaiteamaite
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    image jillybean7582:
    image amaite:
    I don't think it's excessive if that's how the family wants to celebrate. We are doing a very small party, that will probably cost us just for food. But part of how I wanted to celebrate his birthday is with a donation to the children's hospital. We're donating a thousand dollars and I plan to donate that for his birthday every year. So even though we likely won't be having elaborate parties, we will be spending a lot to celebrate him.


    I wouldn't consider donating money to charity excessive. I actually think that is an awesome idea and something that will teach your child about generosity and compassion.

    I guess I just feel like sinking that kind of money into a party every year is part of why so many kids these days seem to be so entitled. [not saying all kids who have big parties every year are entitled]

    Maybe part of my shock of it was also one posters comment that for them money was really tight so they would only be sinking 200 into this years party. For me if money was so tight a expensive party would be the last thing on my priority list.

    I guess I just have my judgy pants on today ;]


    I see what you're saying. I do think birthdays are a pretty big deal though, so if people want to go all out every year to celebrate in the way they like, I don't see a problem. Even if money is tight, it may be a priority that they're willing to cut back on other things for.
  • 400 is probably close to what we've spent, maybe a little less. To have a party at Chuck E Cheese or a bounce house place is easily a couple hundred if not more. I'm not sure how much I've actually spent on parties. I usually plan ahead and buy stuff here and there not really keeping track. I do know that when DD1 turned 5 it was way cheaper to go to American Girl Doll store and get her a doll and eat lunch there.
    I think the older they get the cheaper it gets. At 4 you are still paying to feed parents and kids and family too. It just adds up so fast.
    Part of our problem is that our house isn't really big enough to accommodate people so we have to have it somewhere. If I could have it at the house it could probably be done cheaper.
    victoria5month samantha5
  • I don't think 400 seems excessive. Expensive, yes. But for any venue type place 400 seems average. While I couldn't spend that much on a party, I wouldn't side eye anyone that does. H works with a girl that throws excessively costly parties every year for her kid [turned 4 in May], like 1500 plus. That's not including the gifts she bought. She said it takes her the entire year to pay off the expense of the party! Now that's excessive.

    It's only going to cost us roughly 200, and that's including the pool house we rented! Next year we hope we can use our church's gymnasium since it'll free.
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  • I can't believe how many of you think 400 isn't excessive!

    I would absolutely not and have not in the past shelled out $400 on a birthday party. My kids are older and have not demanded bounce houses or anything like that. Ages 3-6 we invited the entire class for cake and ice cream. Not a full meal, and they had plenty of fun busting open a pi?ata and playing. Last year my dd was allowed to invite 3 girls from her class for pizza, the movie theater, cake and a sleepover. It was the same thing this year. 

    Honestly, some of the things people do at birthday parties make me wonder who they are trying to impress. Believe me, your kid doesn't care that much as long as they get some cake and can open a few gifts. 

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  • I guess it sounds like a lot, but just feeding people alone costs that much.  We are having it at a restaurant this year because we are going to invite more family than normal for his first.  But, honestly, it is probably going to cost about $600.  For his other parties, which will probably be at home, I'm sure we will spend around $250 for food/drinks.  Shoot, I spent $150 for a picnic yesterday for 20 people (including alcohol.)
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  • image Crossingfingers:
    I can't believe how many of you think 400 isn't excessive!I would absolutely not and have not in the past shelled out 400 on a birthday party. My kids are older and have not demanded bounce houses or anything like that. Ages 36 we invited the entire class for cake and ice cream. Not a full meal, and they had plenty of fun busting open a piata and playing. Last year my dd was allowed to invite 3 girls from her class for pizza, the movie theater, cake and a sleepover. It was the same thing this year.nbsp;Honestly, some of the things people do at birthday parties make me wonder who they are trying to impress. Believe me, your kid doesn't care that much as long as they get some cake and can open a few gifts.nbsp;


    I am glad to see someone who has older kids thinks that is too much and your children still have "fun" birthdays! My kid isn't doomed to hate me after all ;]

    I am not so much giving the side eye to people who do spend that much. If you have it and want to spend it that way good for you. I was just surprised that it seemed to be the norm and not the exception.

    There are so many people out there struggling financially in this economy that I just thought there would be more people doing lower key parties if it wasn't like a first birthday or a sweet sixteen or something like that is all.

    Personally if things continue as they are for us we could financially afford to have extravagant parties I just don't think it is something I want to have my kids think is necessary or expected. I would rather use that money to do an extra fun thing on vacation or to splurge on something for my child as an unexpected reward for good grades/behavior/community involvement etc.

    I am not trying to say people are dumb for how they choose to spend their money. To each their own. I was just surprised this seemed so common place as it was not for me growing up nor is it the norm in my circle of friends now.

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  • I don't know, I have always been a fan of birthdays. Most of mine TBH didn't go very well, and my parents weren't big "party throwers" and I think that is why I try and do so much for birthdays now. MH has always gotten at minimum 300 dollars in gifts on his birthday, so I could easily see myself going over the top for little man. But that is the difference. To me it is important that he have awesome big birthdays. I can go without to be able to give that to him. Now with 2 that are going to be spaced with birthdays close together I could see August being an expensive month, with one HUGE party for the two of them. Each having their own cake and friends at a place we rent out. 

    It really has to do with what you think is important in your family. For us birthdays will be the day that my kids get to feel like they can enjoy the day exactly as they want to. 

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  • I think it depends on the guest list too. We always end up inviting family and friends and DD friends plus their parents and siblings. Just feeding that many people is expensive. As they get older I think this will change and parties will be easier and less expensive.
    I would never consider any of the birthdays we've had as extravagant just because they cost a few hundred dollars.
    That being said there is absolutely nothing wrong with a more low key birthday. They are just as much fun.
    victoria5month samantha5
  • I'm sure a lot of this varies by region, cost of living, and what's normal in your circle.

    I went to a party at Gymboree last weekend. I think it costs 350 to rent the place, not counting food. And this is not some extravagant affair, it's just a normal kid's party. I definitely don't think it was done to impress anyone.

    In the city, people may not have the space to entertain at home. Home parties I've been to here always include a full meal for kids and adults, and usually alcohol. That adds up fast.

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  • Personally 400 isn't excessive for a party if I was hosting for a decent amount of people.  To each their own.  I have three older kids and surely didn't throw parties every year.  Some yrs it was Laser Tag with friends, others small BBQ at the house, and as they got older - a card and cash.

    We are going ALL out for Koa's first birthday.  Meaning tons of people at a rented clubhouse.  I really didn't have a choice. My husband is Hawaiian and culturally first birthday luaus are the biggest (kinda like our Sweet 16 or Quinceanera for Latinos). We have family coming in from out of town and flying in from Hawaii.  I told DH that after this, Koa's not getting another party until he's 5. lol. Godparents, grandparents and family help pay for costs (thank Gawd!)

    Yea... now that's crazy excessive!!!  Straight up! 

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  • Growing up, my parents would alternate between having birthday parties for us and us getting to pick someplace fun to go.  So one year I would have a party with friends, then the next year we'd go to an amusement park as a family.  I think that was a nice idea to not spend a ton of money every year on a party.
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  • 400 sounds pretty average. Invites, decorations, food, favors, etc. Would I do it every year? Hhhheeeeelll nnoooo! When I was a kid I had maybe 4 big parties. Other than that I was given money, and taken out for dinner.
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  • 400 is way out of my budget, but I can see how it adds up to that much if you go to a place like people are talking about, rent out a space, feed a meal to lots of people, provide alcohol, etc.  I just personally wouldn't do any of those things because it's not how I want to spend our money (which we don't have a lot of in the first place).  

    I have one friend who throws a pretty big party for her son's birthday every year (he's had 3 so far).  It's just a cookout at her house, but she does it up with food & decorations & invitations & all that.  She is the only person I know who does that, though.  Everyone else just does family at home.

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  • I do a bday party every year, but I only spend about $200 tops.  That includes decorations and food.

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  • I think it's worth the money to have it out, next year we are doing a Gymboree party out. Just close family over for cake. In NJ under $500 for a party is great. I did their first birthday party at my home for 13 people and catering and booze cost us $300 that doesn't include their gifts.
  • It sounds like a lot but when you figure in all the stuff you buy like invites, decorations, food, cakes, drinks and favors times the number of people attending then I can see how you'd get there. Especially if you're using a venue like a my gym or a bounce place.
    We had DDs first two parties at a my gym because our friends got us in for free [score!] and we just had to tip the entertainers. I don't remember what was spent those years but it was pizza, cake, kid and adult drinks for about 20ish people. I doubt we spent more than 200 those years.
    Her 3rd and 4th bdays were at home and "big" as in they were majorly themed out with invites, decor, food, drinks, favors, pinatas, games, etc. I'm pretty crafty and do most decorations from my ridiculously huge craft stock from when I used to teach so I don't spend much in that way. Most money goes to food and drinks. I bake the cakes myself just because I like to have a more personal touch and its something I've always wanted to do make my kids cakes.

    I think i actually save money because i don't invite family to parties because I always feel like I have to entertain them when my focus should be on the bday kid and guests. Plus my rule for kid parties is: if you don't have a kid you don't need to be there. My family is invited over on the actual birthday to have dinner and cake in our home. This is the way we did it growing up.
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