Frugal Gifts for all Those Kids' Birthday Parties
By Cyndi Roberts
Are your kids invited to numerous birthday parties throughout
the year? Buying a gift, paper to wrap it in, ribbon and a bow, plus a card
every time can get expensive and tiresome, can't it!
Through the years I have discovered some easy ways to save money
and time and always be prepared for those invitations.
My three children are older now, but when they were young, it
seemed as if one of them was invited to a friend's birthday party almost every
week! Usually the invitations didn't arrive until 1 or 2 days before the party.
I got really fed up with running to the store in our small town and trying to
find an appropriate gift on short notice.
I realized the first thing I needed to do was to get organized.
So I set aside a box in the hall closet and started to fill it with gift items
suitable for children around my children's ages.
Each time I went to the discount or dollar store, I looked at
the clearance sales; especially after Christmas. I tried to keep at least one
gift for each child on hand at all times.
I have always loved to make things so I was always on the
lookout for anything I could craft that kids would like. One item I came across
that the kids really liked was gift jars. I would fill a pint or quart jar
(reused mayo or pizza sauce jars) with small items. Some of the things I used
were pens, erasers, notepads, small cars, toy soldiers, hair ribbons, stickers,
candy, gum. Anything I found that would fit. I would often buy in bulk and
divide the items between several jars.
Children love anything with their name on it, so I would paint
their name on the side of the jar or cross-stitch it onto a cover for the lid,
and I had a great gift!
This idea would also work using recycled boxes or tins. Garage
sales are a good place to pick up tins of all sizes and colors. Just spray paint
if needed. You don't even have to decorate the top or sides, just wrap ribbon or
raffia around the tin and tie a bow on top.
Little girls always enjoy receiving more clothes for their
Barbie dolls. If you sew, you can make gifts your daughter's friends will love
from your scraps of fabric and lace. And the clothes you make are much better
quality than the ones you pay premium prices for in the store.
One last secret to giving great birthday gifts is: remember that
children love to open a package! Just taking tissue out of a gift bag is not the
But wrapping a package doesn't have to break the bank either. At
garage sales, always look for anything that can be used to wrap
gifts--wallpaper, drawer liner,even scraps of fabric. Look for yarn and pieces
of lace or other trim to use instead of ribbon. In other words, just use your
Dollar stores are a great place to pick up inexpensive wrapping
paper in a pinch. The flat, folded kind is cheaper than buying it on a roll,
just cover the creases with ribbon. Kids aren't going to take time to notice,
Even an inexpensive gift will bring raves from the birthday boy
or girl when it's wrapped imaginatively. Tie a lollipop on top or write their
name in glitter. Use your imagination and get creative!
Your children will love it when the gift they bring is the hit
of the party!
Cyndi Roberts has been happily married to her best friend for 34 years
and is a proud mother of 3. In her newsletter, "1 Frugal Friend 2
Another" she uses her years of experience as a wife, mother and chief
budget officer to help others learn how to "live the good life...on a
budget!" To subscribe, visit her online at