Why I Don’t Throw My Kids Birthday Parties Part 2

Last summer I wrote a post about why I don’t throw my kid’s birthday parties.  And it went viral and many mommas had some strong opinions about it. HA!  I am not anti-party. I have just turned the party planning responsibility over to my kids.  I have had many of you write to tell me how awesome your child’s party went, when you too, hung up your party hat and allowed them to plan their own birthday.  I also got asked a lot of questions that I will answer throughout this post in between tidbits about how my 7 year old daughter Kayla spent her $200 birthday party budget this year.


Kayla was so excited to plan her first birthday with a $200 budget.  I love watching how different my kids are.  In my first post about Isaac’s birthday he opted for no goody bags saying they are a waste of money. He also opted for no decorations as well. However, my gift giver/decorator of a daughter thought it was a travesty to have a party without goody bags and decorations.  For her, decorating for her party was the most fun.  So all in all she spent $52 on Shopkins decorations and stuff to fill the goody bags.  I kind of cringed, but then I remembered my party planning hat was thrown out a couple of years ago and I let it go and let my sweet girl keep on doing her thing.


She did ask us for gallon sized ziploc bags to put the goody bag stuff in and we did let her go in our cupboard to grab some and did not charge her for those.  Inside each bag was a pair of Shopkins socks, a bracelet, and pop rocks.  So it wasn’t packed full but just a few things for each of her party attendees.


Question 1: Holy cow $200 for a party!?!?!  What are you rich?!?!

According to statistics if you make at least $35,000 annually you are in the top 4% of the world’s wealth.  So yes, I guess I am rich. 

You don’t have to set a $200 budget for your child’s birthday. You can set whatever amount you wish.  But considering throwing a party at most bounce house places, jungle gyms, bowling alleys, pottery places, etc., costs well over $100 I don’t think my budget is crazy.  We pay cash for all the parties and never go into debt plus my budget includes all food and the gift for the child as well.

Kayla decided the menu for the evening would be $5 Little Caesar’s Pizza with breadsticks and pop (soda, Coke, sodapop or whatever you call it). We did make sure the pop at least didn’t have caffeine in it.  HA!  We do pop only on very special occasions so I knew for a fact she would opt for that.


Moving onto the cake and ice cream.  We priced out store bought cakes and they were all above $15, plus you add in ice cream and that would make it closer to $20.  Since my daughter is a DIYer she really didn’t consider buying a premade cake, but I wanted to let her know how much it cost so we went to the store to see.  She opted to buy a box mix of chocolate cake and a pink frosting tub.  I think she just wanted to lick the spoon {giggle}.  All in all in spent $10.75 on the cake and those little pre-scooped ice cream cups.


While I don’t think any of you are going to pin her cake on your Pinterest boards her friends thought it was fabulous and she smiled ear to ear with each compliment she got.


She was also insistent we buy a number 7 candle.  She also wanted the cake writers so she could “write” on her cake.  The writers were $4.19 – that was a lot of her cake budget but she definitely had an opinion and there was no talking her out of it.


Question 2: You are a mean mom! How can you not buy your kid a birthday present and make them buy their own?  That is just terrible.

I think you have to know your kids.  My son loves to pick out his own gifts (every year we end up with another new pet!) but this year my daughter was disappointed because she really loves surprises and her love language is receiving gifts.  Both my husband and I felt bad for not thinking through that better knowing our daughter. So next year we are revising this.  We will buy each of our kids a small present (under $20) just so they have something to open from us.

If you want to lower your budget so you can buy your kid’s gifts, by all means, go for it!  This is just one mom’s attempt at trying to allow my kids to have a great experience and learn some important skills along the way.

For activities the girls played bingo and Kayla set aside some of her older toys she didn’t want anymore for prizes.  The girls thought riffling through Kayla’s stuff was fabulous.  No complaints about the toys being used.  Bonus!

bingo at a birthday party

bingo at kids party

So she opted for a sleepover party.  I was a bit hesitant about this but we ended up agreeing to it in the end.  She had 10 girls over for the party and then 7 stayed the night.  My husband and I made the best decision ever.  We decided that when it was bed time we would be in the room.  I took a half hour shift and he took a half hour shift.  That way all the girls were asleep and we did not have to hear “So and so keeps talking, so and so won’t go to sleep.”  So they were asleep by about 10:45.  They did wake by 5:30 a.m. but I still consider that a complete success for a 7 year old girl sleepover party.

Question 3: Birthdays are for celebration and not for teaching about budgeting and planning.  Goodnight! you can do that every other day of the year, why choose their birthday?

Great question.  In my opinion every day of the year is training ground for my children.  Birthdays are even a better day since these are the most memorable days for them in their youth.  Getting to plan their own birthday so it is perfectly suited for them and learning to work within a budget is not only a chance to celebrate but also to learn.  The perfect duo if you ask me.  But again, this is just how the Farrant household does it, so party plan on dear momma if that is what works best for you.

In the morning Kayla chose pancakes, bacon and orange juice for breakfast.  All in all Kayla spent $96 on her birthday party.  She had $104 leftover and so far she bought a $43 set from the American Girl Doll store, a best friend necklace, and some dress up make up.  She has $44 left.  She still said she wants to spend some of the money on the game Pie Face.


Question 4: I love this idea, at what age do you think this is best to start?

I think each child is different but we started at age 7 with both of ours.  So Isaac has planned his last two birthdays and this year Kayla planned her first one with a $200 budget.

7 year old birthday sleepover

Kayla was ecstatic about her party.  It was just what she wanted.  And besides a minor ordeal with Bunchems in a girl’s hair (DOH!) it was pure perfection for my 7 year old little princess.