How much do you spend on birthday gifts for your children? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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We don't have a lot of money (well, none at the moment, actually).

We have 4 kids and in the past we have spent anywhere from 0-$100, maybe more on gifts.

Most recently, in January, it was my son, Ivan's 16th birthday and we gave him $100 in cash. It was really too much for us, but I was feeling guilty because we never have money to buy him anything and at the time, I was able to pull together $100. Other years, he has gotten nothing

My 7 year old daughter's birthday is coming up. I had wanted to spend $100, but now that is just not possible at all. She wants baby alive, which I think I can get for 30-50.

But, I am just curious what all of you spend in birthday gifts. Does it depend on their age? What they want? How much $ you have?

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#2 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 05:05 PM
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Well, my DS is 4yo so my situation is a little different. His b-day is 3 weeks after Christmas and we sort of went overboard (so did the rest of the family) giving him gifts. So, for his birthday, the cake, the party, the food, the invites, and a small gift of paints, new brushes and 2 new cars from the Cars line is what he got from DH and I - so all of that probably totaled $60. My parents and IL's gave him money for his college fund and others gave him small toys.

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#3 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 05:19 PM
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We have a $100 limit for the kids' bday gifts. My oldest just turned 7, we spent $100 on an iPod nano, and my other son turned 4 in December and we spent $70 on a new bike.
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#4 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 05:29 PM
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It does depend. We've gotten huge gifts and not huge gifts before. For my oldest son's 3rd bday, he got a dirt bike and gear, so pretty spendy. For his last birthday, he got some clothes and a couple ds games, so less than $100.
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#5 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 05:41 PM
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It depends on what we have and what they need. It's a way to show love but it isn't love itself!
We spent more on my daughter for her birthday last year than we did on my son. I expect it to flip flop through the years and that's okay!

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#6 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 06:35 PM
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There's no set amount. One year we got DS a bike that cost around $85 plus a couple of smaller gifts, but other years we've gotten him just a few smaller gifts instead that probably totaled $40-$50.

If your DD wants a Baby Alive doll and you can get it at a low cost, I wouldn't give it another thought -- you're getting her what she wants! No need to feel obligated to "pad" with extra gifts just because you spent more on your DS.

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#7 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 07:20 PM
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I think usually around $20-30 This year we spent under $10 on christmas, too, per kid, but mostly because they get so overwhelmed by gifts from extended family that it seems cruel to throw more at them.

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#8 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 09:13 PM
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My oldest is going to be 5 soon and it has really depended on the bday. On average I would say 20-50 with more bdays being toward 20. If my parents hadn't offered to get him a bike, we would probably be doing that this year but generally things haven't been that big. And I can see that as the kids get older it would get more expensive. I would definitely get the Baby Alive for her if thats what she wants. It doesn't matter that its less if its what she wants!

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#9 of 28 Old 02-05-2010, 09:25 PM
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in the $50 - 100 range plus a party. This year will be our first "kid" party out at a place and it is going to cost around $300 so we'll spend less on gifts this year.

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#10 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 12:43 AM
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we don't really do a party, it's usually invite 1 friend to family b-day dinner. DD likes to do stuff with her friends so that's pretty much her gift (just turned 16), 13 yo plays hockey and it's $$ so he often gets nothing, ds#2 at 11 is still happy to get anything
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#11 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 02:43 AM
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I probably spend way more than the typical person. Micah's birthday is in April, and with Christmas in December, I kind of split the year's toys between the two. He doesn't get in between gifts/toys at all, so I tend to go all out. This may change as he gets older, but I try to be selective in what I buy so that the toys grow with him. Some of the toys he still plays with were bought his first Christmas. I am already creating a "wish list" of things I think he would enjoy receiving for his birthday...

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#12 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 02:51 AM
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We don't do xmas, so our kids do get one big birthday gift each year. Something up to the 100$ mark.
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#13 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 03:27 AM
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I try to keep gifts under $100. I usually do a party, so by the time I've bought food, decorations, charcoal, etc., I've already spent too much money. DS1's 18th birthday was last week, and I spent more than I normally would on a gift (bought him an electric guitar and amp), only turn 18 once, I guess.

I will say that my kids don't ask for much and I hardly buy them any sort of material things throughout the year other than clothes and shoes. Christmas and birthdays are pretty much it.
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#14 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 10:55 AM
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We have a three gift maximum and one is always a book. The others are probably range from $20-30. This year though we saved one for Christmas because he got so much at his bday party. I save the $100 items for Christmas, where we generally spend up to $150.

We have one child.
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#15 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 01:10 PM
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The amount we've spent has varied from year to year. Last year, I spent about $60 on DS1 (6th birthday -- a $30 DS game and a Magnext set I got on clearance for $30). DD I spent $45 on (4th birthday -- Polly Pocket mega mall and a crown from the $ store). DS2, I spent $30 (1st birthday -- a pop-up tent and tunnel set).

This year, I already have DS1's present, a RazorA scooter I had bought for $30 intended as DD's Christmas present until I found a Barbie *gasp* scooter for her. That's all I'm planning for him, as it's something he wants. For DD, she'll be getting a bike for her birthday and that will probably run us about $75. For DS2, I'm not too sure yet, but I am looking at a balance bike depending on if I can get one in store when I go down to visit friends and family States-side in the spring.

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#16 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 03:50 PM
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Another "it depends." What do my kids have, what do they need?

In the past we've spent hundreds of dollars, and we've also spent less than $20. My DD just turned 8. She has more toys than she could play with, more clothes than she can wear, more music and games than she has time to listen to. We bought her a few pairs of earrings (less than $25), and that was it. She also had her very first sleepover bithday party, which wasn't expensive at all.

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#17 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 03:59 PM
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DS1's birthday is this month so I've just been thinking a lot about this. We can't afford anything right at the moment, but nonetheless . . .

I gave him 3 choices: a party with a "normal" present, a more expensive present, or an outing with one friend and a "normal" present. "Normal" for us is ~$30. I didn't really want to do a party - last year we spent about $100 on his b-day party and it was stressful for me (although he had fun). And that was just pizza and cake and ice-cream and party favors for a few kids at his grandma's house! Anyway, he chose "more expensive present". That comes down to two video games (used, for an old system at his grandma's house), and a Lego set he really likes the looks of. He will also get small presents from his sibs, be allowed to eat ice-cream for breakfast - and lunch , and stay up as late as he wants (he's a night-owl, both sibs are early birds, so this is a big treat for him!) And, we'll take cupcakes to our homeschooling group, since it meets ON his birthday. But that's not a party.

Oh, we also renew his magazine subscription (Click) this month because it was originally a birthday present. But we'd do that anyway and it doesn't really "count".

I'm feeling okay about this I think I'm actually going to spend less than I did last year and I think he'll be VERY excited.

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#18 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 10:28 PM
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No set amount, but we probably spend 150-300$ on them. And if they want something really special, we can spend more. Our two oldest have gotten snowboard packages, and that was like 700-800$.
But we have a very strict "no junk" policy, and the stuff that is not junk often costs more.
We can afford it, and that's the thing, you have to go with your budget, you can't go hungry for a week because of a birthday present.

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#19 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 11:04 PM
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I wouldn't worry about spending the same amount for the 7 yo as you did for the 16 yo. Things cost a lot more when you are a teen, and your DD will be happy with the doll she wants.

We have four kids, and they all have birthdays coming up within a 33 day period!!

luckily for them, we usually get our tax refund before their parties. Otherwise, sheesh!

I would say we spend, on average, $100 on gifts for each kid - but I don't have a set amount, and thinking about it, last year DD's presents were much more than that (clothes, ipod, wii games, etc. - these things cost more) where as the 2 and 4 yr old's gifts were like balls and firetrucks, and such.

This year, they all four want new bikes, and they will cost more than $100 each, but I've been planning for it, and they likely will get a few, cheaper items as well.

ETA: their parties will cost $$$, that I haven't really calculated yet. My soon-to-be 5 yo wants to invite his whole class (which will mean a handful of parents and siblings), my DD is turning 9 and wants a bowling party (for her actual b-day, we will be in CA on vacation), my other two boys haven't decided what they want to do, I'm hoping theirs will be a combined celebration (their b-days are 2 days apart). Food and decor always ends up costing a lot more than I plan on, so I should really start figuring that part out.

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#20 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 11:05 PM
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We don't get anything for them, they have a party for their birthdays with their school mates with a no gift policy. They think eating pizza, ice cream, cake, candy for the day is a HUGE treat.
Their birthdays are close to Christmas(November and February) and too close together. I think we spend around $50 per birthday.

They are used not to ask for things on their birthdays, they just ask for color themed party. DD2 turned 4 on Wednesday and she thought it would be fun to have a "green party" becuase that's her favorite color.

On christmas we spent around $300 for each girl and $80 for DS.

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#21 of 28 Old 02-06-2010, 11:46 PM
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The first few years we didn't get my DS anything. He's birthday is 3 weeks after Christmas and he didn't know the difference, plus he's got grandparents buying him gift. Last year, his 6th birthday we gave him a Thomas Train he wanted and his 2 year old sister gave him a new sigg bottle, so about $35 total. Like a pp, we have a party at home. With just the family, both sets of grandparents an aunt and uncle and two teen aged cousins. Feeding them all costs about $200.
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#22 of 28 Old 02-07-2010, 01:36 AM
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We spend under 50, and usually closer to 30 on birthdays. Parties are family parties as of yet, so while there is an added cost of food it's not as expensive as it could be.

Growing up, Christmas was always the bigger gift event (although still not lots-- my parents always spent around 100 on kids) and birthdays were small, family events with a modest present. My husbands family considered the birthday to be the "big gift" event. It's just interesting to see other traditions.

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#23 of 28 Old 02-07-2010, 01:48 AM
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We go for "special", not price. Just a "let's have a fun day because we are so happy we have you" kind of thing.

Party and all, though, total is usually around $100. (That includes all food, gifts, and this year, a rental of a bouncy house.)

We also try to pick things that will really grow with them, and are "classic" toys, and, if possible, "educational." Not junk.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#24 of 28 Old 02-08-2010, 01:28 PM
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We don't usually end up buying much for birthdays, last year I think they both got a game and a couple of books. DD had a party with a few of her school friends and I expect DS might want to do that this year too. We usually have a meal out as a family too.

We do buy things through out the year though so I think that makes a difference. I sometimes think it a bit odd that the "big gifts" are the ones we get whenever. When I was a kid bikes and so on were birthday gifts but those are the things I prefer to get used so we get them when they crop up.

I imagine things will change (and cost more!) as they grow and start wanting more specific things.

Personally I don't worry too much about spending the same amount on everyone, so long as everyone gets something that they want it's all good.
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#25 of 28 Old 02-08-2010, 01:55 PM
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I'm with mama to 3 and Just1more. With my daughter's 3rd birthday, we had kind of a big party. With all she received from the attendants, I put away our gifts! No need to pile on. For her second birthday, I wanted her to have a kitchen. It was over $100 and now both she and ds play with it.

Ds's first birthday is coming up. He doesn't need a darn thing. He's got all of her toys to play with. Plus, we gave him a push toy and a pull toy for Christmas. And he's not walking yet. LOL! Oh, and a rocking toy. So, mama is making him some plush, wool felt balls with bells inside, a baby doll and a pillow (he loves laying his head down on a pillow, so, I'm going to use the bamboo velour from a baby shirt and fill it with wool for a nice pillow for him and probably embroider something on it, too). I hope that these will be very special to him.

Now, as she's becoming more aware, I'm starting to scale back - not in dollars spent, but in quantity. I want my kids to have toys they cherish rather than focus on how much they have (and subsequently want).

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#26 of 28 Old 02-08-2010, 02:41 PM
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I do big parties that usually cost around $350-400 so I don't spend a lot on b-day gifts. This year, it was $15 each. But never more than $50. Plus, their b-days follow quickly after Christmas where they have just been inundated with gifts. And they invite 15-20 kids to their parties so they get inundated with gifts from that.
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#27 of 28 Old 02-08-2010, 02:51 PM
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Depends what I think they'd enjoy, what they say they want, how much I have to spend, etc.

This year, we took my daughter to Great Wolf Lodge for two days. Split with my mom, it cost about $200 for my portion. She also got a small present on her actual birthday.

My son, we took to see Monster Jam on Saturday night for his big birthday present . . . it was $125 for our tickets, plus about $60 on shirts and food there. He's also getting a present that I picked out before we decided to do Monster Jam (and so he'll have a present on his actual b-day, since this was a week early).

We go overboard, but we can sort of afford it (I'll put stuff on credit card if we can't) and I like doing it.

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#28 of 28 Old 02-08-2010, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jessy1019 View Post
We go overboard, but we can sort of afford it (I'll put stuff on credit card if we can't) and I like doing it.
Same here. In my previous post I said I try to keep gifts at less than $100, but we almost always have a party. So we end up spending $300-400 by the time everything is done. I know that sounds like a lot, but nobody ever made any sort of a deal about my birthday when I was a kid, and I want to do things differently for my kids.
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