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Child at birthday party

Totting up your child’s birthday party costs

Having a child isn’t cheap. From pushchairs to school uniforms, the costs can seem endless. And children’s birthday parties are no exception.

Princess Charlotte  turned one this week. Her parents may not struggle with spending if they choose to. But research from American Express has shown parents plan to spend £545 on their child’s birthday –a substantial amount.

Being a guest at a child’s birthday is also a costly affair, with parents spending on average £32 on presents and a further £28 on new party outfits.

If this sounds like its erring on the extravagant side, don’t worry. There are things you can do to keep costs down without compromising on your child’s enjoyment. We give you some ideas from two Money Advice Service parents.

Child’s birthday parties for less

A top tip from our Money Advice Service colleague Vik, who is father to two year old Mae, is to really think about the numbers of children you are inviting.

He says “we’ve been to plenty of two-year-olds’ parties where it seems like a lot of children have been invited and – at an age where they are young and won’t remember too much – it seems a bit pointless.”

Cheneen, mother to six year old Zyanna, agrees “as long as you aren’t excluding a few, think of how many children you can afford to cater for and get your child to get involved in drawing up a list of their special friends. I have a large family so for the last party, asked my daughter to think of six close friends she’d like to invite.”

Vik adds “one thing a lot of parents are doing round my way is booking either a sports hall or library. This is expensive and it makes every party seem the same. We went for a small party at home and booked a children’s entertainer instead of doing something huge. We’re also doing food ourselves – with kids you don’t have to be very ambitious at all.”

Venues are definitely a big element. Write down all the potential costs and this could help you map where you may be forking out, rather than suddenly realising you’ve spent lots on little things here and there.  Include things like a party outfit for your child, decorations and party bags. 

Party bags are one of those funny things that can really add up, but you can do them cheaply – or indeed, not at all if you don’t want to. Cheneen recommends to “bulk buy items online and put party bags together yourself. They don’t need to be full but it is much cheaper than buying ready-made ones.”

What do you think of our ideas? Do you have any of your own to add?

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