Celebrating Big On A Budget :: Tips From A Mom Of Four
I’m a mom of four. That means four birthdays, four times the Christmas gifts, four times the Easter basket stuffers, etc. You get where I’m going with this? It’s A LOT. If I were to have my way, I’d be super extravagant and holidays would be filled to the brim with every gift and experience imaginable but alas, in today’s economy expenses add up really fast and no matter how you look at it, four kids is EXPENSIVE.
So in the spirit of keeping up with a somewhat manageable budget, here are some of my tips and tricks to keep cost at a minimum while still holding onto that “give them the world” attitude. Let’s call it attainable celebration magic.
1. Two words: HOME PARTIES
My kids have never had a birthday party that wasn’t in the comfort of our home. I decorate myself (definitely NOT Pinterest worthy either), I cook a whole spread of food, and I provide just enough entertainment for them to not be bored. Sometimes it’s a simple water slide, or a rented bounce house, but I promise you one thing. Those kids have a good time! Parties at venues never appealed to me, mainly because on top of being expensive, they’re just not very practical for us. $400 for a 2 hour party where we’re limited to 10 kids? No way! I’d much rather set up something in the backyard and have them able to play ALL DAY with ALL of their friends.
2. Grocery store cakes
Now I’m sure I’ll catch some hate for this one but hear me out. When you’re feeding 30 people cake and you’re on a budget, those bakery cakes, as beautiful as they are just aren’t very feasible. We’ve had awesome cakes decorated in whatever party theme we choose made at local grocery stores like Rouses and Ralph’s Market and been very pleased.
3. Set a gift budget!
So this goes for birthday parties, Christmas, Easter, the whole nine yards. If you’re a mom like me and tend to get carried away because your kids obviously need ALL THE THINGS, you need to have a set budget going in. We set a $100(ish) budget for each child for birthday gifts and a $300(ish) budget for Christmas, just as an example. You have to remind yourself that they’re getting gifts from other people too. Also, 6 months from now they most likely won’t remember who got them what anyways.
4. Try an experience centered birthday instead of a party
I find this works best with older kids because those little ones love a party. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a dinner out at their choice of restaurant, or a movie and arcade night instead of a big shindig.
5. Choose who gets the coveted “BIG” gift
This is something we’ve done since ours were little. Every year for Christmas, one kid gets the designated big gift. Does this change the $300 budget we stick to? Not really. The chosen kid actually gets fewer gifts but they don’t even realize it because the gift they do get is a pricier item. For example, this year our oldest gets the big gift. He wants a laptop, so he’ll get a laptop and stocking stuffers only while his siblings get a whole bunch of smaller priced items. This helps you stick with your budget while still getting those most wanted, mostly techy items.
6. Buy throughout the year
This works for gifts as well as decorations if you have an idea of what their theme will be early on. You can get some great deals on gifts on Prime Day and my favorite place, the Walmart clearance aisle.
Let’s face it, life with a big family will never be cheap but we can all benefit from even a slightly lower price can’t we? The most important thing to keep in mind isn’t the gifts, your kids won’t remember those. What they will remember is that mom stepped up and made it happen.
I strongly believe anyone can make their kid’s birthdays and holidays magical with just a little ingenuity and a lot of preparation.
So here’s to the holiday season! (And all my kid’s birthdays, back to back and right after Christmas. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated, LOL) We got this y’all!