5 Ways to Save Money on Kids Birthday Gifts

Don't let kids' birthdays break the bank.
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Saving on kids birthday presents
If you've got kids, you already know that they don't come cheap. But kid-related expenses aren't just limited to your own children. Case in point: buying birthday presents for your kids' friends can add up quickly.

By the time they enter kindergarten, it can feel like there's a birthday party every weekend. To help curb your overspending, we've tapped Lydia Beiler of Thrifty Frugal Mom for tips on how to save money on kids birthday gifts.

Shop All Year Long

Slickdealers aren't known to be impulsive shoppers. Instead, you do your homework ahead of time to snag the best deals. Why should this shopping category be any different? To optimize your spending, Beiler suggests taking advantage of seasonal sales cycles to stock up on gifts.

"I'm always keeping my eyes open for inexpensive toys or games, and I shop all year round," says the mom of three.

It helps to think outside the gender box here. Opting for gender-neutral options like Legos, board games, crafts, and books is smart. Keep your eyes peeled for these items, especially if you notice them on the clearance shelf.

November, December, and January are historically the best months to buy toys, according to Consumer Reports. Toy prices usually dip during the first week of December, before picking back up again in the middle of the month. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are both prime times for savings, with Walmart and Target being great places to start.

There are also plenty of chances to build your stockpile during other times of the year. For instance, when summer comes to an end, use Labor Day sales to load up on fun-in-the-sun toys for summer birthdays the following year.

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Create a Separate Fund

My daughter has a December birthday, which means that we get financially hit with both her party expenses and Christmas in the same month. This year, I thought ahead and created a separate fund for both occasions way back in June. Since then, I've been squirreling away money little by little. The result? I've got cash socked away for both events and am not the least bit stressed about either one.

If you find yourself shelling out for one birthday party after another, consider a similar approach. Setting aside a little bit of money each paycheck for a gift fund will mean you always have a cash reserve when an unexpected invitation comes your way.

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Opt for Homemade Gifts

This is one of Beiler's favorite money-saving hacks. "I'm not a crafty person — I definitely missed that gene — but you can find some really inexpensive, easy things to do to make homemade gifts that kids love," she says. Options like homemade play dough kits, rainbow crayons in different shapes or an indoor chalkboard table are all easy to make and easy on your budget.

Pinterest is usually a great one-stop-shop for all things DIY.  And by opting for the no-hassle homemade route, Beiler not only saves money, but also teaches her kids the art of giving a thoughtful gift.

Side note: we did this among the cousins for our family's secret Santa exchange last year, forbidding store-bought gifts. The end results were super personal (and inexpensive) presents that everyone loved.

Use Coupons

Take advantage of store coupons, manufacturer coupons, and favorable store policies to save the most. Stores like Walmart, for example, have generous price-matching policies, while Kohl's allows you to stack coupons and earn Kohl's Cash at the same time.

Think ahead, paying special attention to BOGO deals (which can be used to cross off two gifts at once). When all else fails, Target's dollar aisle has never let me down for a quickie kids gift.

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse

One man's trash is another man's treasure, right? When it comes to gift-giving, there's much money to be saved in reusing. Everything from tissue paper to gift bags are fair game. In fact, I rarely buy these things — especially for a kids party.

When my own children receive presents, I salvage the stuff that's in good shape and set it all aside in one big bag in our coat closet. When it's time to wrap a gift, I always have a solid supply of pretty ribbons and just-like-new gift bags. And if you have no qualms about re-gifting actual presents, I say go for it!

How do you save money on kids birthday parties?

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About the Author
Marianne Hayes Contributor

Marianne Hayes is a freelance writer, wife and mother in Tampa Bay. After earning a degree in journalism and creative writing from the University of Central Florida, she spent nearly a decade getting lost in New York City and Los Angeles before making her way back home again in 2014. Marianne's writing has appeared in a variety of publications including The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, LearnVest, The Daily Beast and more. When she's not writing, Marianne is usually cruising her local bookstore with her two daughters.

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