Budget-Friendly Birthday Tips for Big Families

We consider ourselves a large family, even though there are only seven of us.  Because there are enough of us to have our own birthday party (and practically fill a room), birthday planning can be quite the ordeal.

We recently held a sixth birthday bowling party for my son Moses.  He requested an Angry Birds theme, and all the kids chipped in and help make the occasion special.  My children were so involved with the process, they inspired me to share some of the ways that they - and your children - can help create an amazing birthday experience without breaking the budget.

Shop Small. When asked what they would like for their birthday, most kids will tell you about the grandest and most expensive presents they can think of.  In reality, however, those kids could probably tell you 4-5 items that they would just as well love to play with that cost less than $10.  For kids that receive allowance, it's possible to have them shop for siblings within this price range.  Even if they only have a few dollars, they can choose to chip in their money, or parents can help out by matching funds at 50 to 100%.

Consider Cards.  My kids love getting greeting cards, even those without money inside.  They've loved to make cards for one another for almost every holiday or occasion.  The cards can be fancy, made with construction paper, glitter, glue, and stickers.  They can also be simple; even my two-year-old enjoys scribbling an original masterpiece down on a piece of printer paper with a washable colored marker.  Teach kids early on to appreciate these types of homemade gifts, and help them to realize that these can often have the most sentimental value in the years to come.

Cover Consumerism.  If you don't take the birthday party experience as an easy opportunity to teach your kids about wants, needs, and the best way is to plan for gift shopping, you are really missing out. I have tried to include my kids in most every step of the birthday party planning process, both to teach them valuable life skills and to help them understand that everything we do in regards to the party will cost time or money.  My oldest daughter, for instance, was able to use her debit card to buy the cake supplies needed to create her amazing Angry Birds cake.  The younger boys learned a little about patience and multiplication; they realized how many weeks it would take to save up for just the perfect gift for their brother.  For additional lessons that can be applied to the birthday process, I recommend you check out our list of the best books that teach kids about money.

In the end, I think this is one of the best birthday parties we have had.  Every single family member was involved in some way, from the baking to the decorating to the shopping to creating their own unique wrapping paper.  The photos from the event will serve to preserve these amazing memories; the lessons learned in the finance category will hopefully serve to create more responsible spending and saving patterns in my children.

Need a little motivation to get your kids on board with your next budget-friendly birthday bash?  BillMyParents has a reloadable prepaid card that is perfect for saving and spending in a way that both kids and grownups will understand.  Kids 13+ can use the SpendSmart prepaid MasterCard to buy gifts and supplies at any retailer where Mastercard is accepted. Learn more at BillMyParents.

*As a BillMyParents ambassador, I am compensated to share news and updates. Opinions, tips, and stories of my experiences are 100% my own.