The Price is Wrong…

“I’m the one who goes out to work and earns all the money, and you’re just frittering it away on pointless, unnecessary things!”

Yes these were the words my husband, who I love very very much (it’s a good job!), uttered the other day. It’s the one argument he will always get me with. It’s a sore point, but it’s true. He is the earner, and I am the spender. When it comes up in an argument though, I hate it and it upsets me, because I used to earn some money, but we made the decision to move for his job and for me not to work. Admittedly I was overjoyed at the prospect of not working, but it is neverthess difficult for me to be financially dependent when it’s the first time I have been in my adult life.

However, I can totally see why he got wound up. We just have different views on how to deal with it, and I think I need your help on this one, because I know there’ll be lots of my Twitter friends who will be able to help me! My children have had one birthday party a week minimum since the start of January, 7 parties so far. They also have invitations to 6 more in the next month. It seems to be that you invite your whole class to your birthday party, so between the two of them, we could potentially be talking more than 50 parties a year, not mention how scared I feel at the prospect of hosting a party for 30+ under 5s, eek!

The trouble is, you can’t really turn up to a birthday party without a present, and presents cost money. Money that we didn’t budget for in our very comprehensive financial planning we did when deciding whether or not we could afford a new house! Last week my son was invited to birthday party where they wrote on the invitations that they did not want presents, but I couldn’t bare to turn up empty handed, so bought a small present anyway. This was how we started disagreeing, my husband saying I shouldn’t have. At this point, I did remind him of the fact that even if I said there was nothing I wanted for a birthday or Christmas, should he decide to not get me anything he would be in so much trouble! Had I turned up to the party without a present, I would have been the only person who did. Even as we were I felt stingy!

My children don’t have their birthdays until later in the year so I have no experience of this whatsoever. My head and my bank balance tells me I should just be buying a very small, token present, but my heart and my expensive taste tells me that I shouldn’t be! I don’t want my children to be labelled as cheapskates!

And having spent a morning scouring the supermarkets, I’m really struggling! Even a magazine can be up to £5! So how much should I be spending on birthday presents for a child I don’t know? What’s the protocol?! Help me please, any tips and present ideas welcome!


15 Comments (+add yours?)

    Feb 09, 2012 @ 12:03:59

    It’s a bloomin’ minefield out there. We are only at the second birthday stage, so I am far from an expert, but I’d say between £5 – £10 dependent on how well you know the child. We’ve thrown parties for our daughter both years. It is lovely when close friends and families splash out a bit, but I would never EXPECT anything over a £5 from anyone else, if it happens it is nice, but I would hate anyone to be having to scrimp just to bring one of many presents to my daughter’s birthday. Don’t get me started on party bags though…!


    • itsamumsworld
      Feb 09, 2012 @ 13:06:45

      Lol, thanks for your thought, and I know about party bags, though last year we did go frugal! The kids had a Disney party so we went round all the supermarkets and bought up loads of Disney things, painting sets, princess shoes etc. nothing costing more than £1.50, then we wrapped them all up and the kids had a lucky dip present to take home instead of a party bag, they loved it! x


  2. HELEN
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 12:21:09

    we’ve had 4 parties so far & one of them was a joint one which means 5 presents and this is just the 2yr old! Thankfully we’re not here this weekend for another joint party.
    Depending on the child who’s party it is I spend between £5 & £10…if the older children go to a party I tend to spend the higher end as it’s usually a close friend with 2 or 3 guests as oppose to a party for 30 kids…for the joint party I bought them both the same, something that was £6 but 2 for £8….not forgetting that cards & wrapping can easily put a few extra pounds on top! It’s an expensive business isn’t it.
    I hope this helps


    • itsamumsworld
      Feb 09, 2012 @ 13:08:24

      Thanks, it’s really useful! I was thinking between £5-10 but it was hubby who thought that a present I’d seen was too much to spend at £7.99 so that’s why I was all of a tither!’m trying to get a ‘present box together now and buy little bits if I see a good offer! x


  3. Loonylismumonahill
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 12:27:12

    I probably will sound like a cheapskate now, but I have 3 girls and have paid for a lot of birthday prenents since they started school, and my rule is this. I never spend any more than £5 on the presents for the classmates of my 4yo. She too, is having on average 1 party a week at the minute, and most of the children who have parties are not even close friends. I could not afford to spend any more. My middle child is 6 and the whole ‘invite the whole class’ party thing is starting to ease off, so I usually allow a little bit more money for presents for her friends, but it depends what they like. If I can get away with only spending £5 then I will! My eldest is 8 and I will usually spend a bit more on her friends but no more than £10. I usually try and pick up a few Girly gift sets when they are in the sale, toiletries or make up for the older girls, and keep them at home to avoid having to find something at short notice. I also keep a multipack of birthday cards at home for the same reason 🙂


    • itsamumsworld
      Feb 09, 2012 @ 13:09:44

      Aw you don’t sound like a cheapskate at all lol, more the kind of words I was hoping to hear! I’m definitely going to take your advice though and get a ‘present box’ together, if only to supplement something if I do find myself feeling stingy lol! Thank you for your help! x


  4. PhotoPuddle
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 13:02:06

    I think you’re right, you can’t really turn up to a party empty handed. It’s annoying when people say on their wedding invitations too they don’t want gifts – I’m not going to turn up with nothing.
    My daughter is three and we seem to go to a lot of birthay parties. I usually spend between £5 and £10 depending on how well we know the child. I actually love books as gifts. I think a book looks really nice and also they don’t cost a fortune.
    Also have you ever heard of The Book People? They visit hubby’s work once a month and there are some great bargains on books there. For example you can buy a pack of 10 books worth about £6 each for £10. Just do that and there’s 10 birthday presents sorted easily.


    • itsamumsworld
      Feb 09, 2012 @ 13:11:36

      Thank you for your help, I was thinking about the same in terms of price too, it’s hubby who thinks it’s too much, but I guess as he pointed out, it is technically his hard earned cash! The Book People is a fab idea thank you. They used to go into my work, well they probably still do, but I don’t go there any more so not seen it in a while! Didn’t realise they had a direct website so will check it out! Thanks again! x


  5. SoapyK8
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 13:32:21

    My eldest is now 9 so there’s only ever a few guests and I can get away with sticking £5 in the card because his friends all now like money instead of gifts. When he was younger I used to buy things when I saw them cheap and put then to one side but not spending more than £5 each. Buy your wrapping in a roll, not in sheets, works out way cheaper. And up to age 5/6 get your kids to make a card – the parents o the receiving think is cute in my experience. Young kids like big not expensive presents so I used to buy things like large art packs full of felt tips and rubbers but when wrapped up looked great. I also recycle gifts my son got, passing on to the next child if it wasn’t something he was into – just remember who gave you what!!


  6. Nurturing Career Mama
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 13:35:22

    I agree £5-£10 depending on how well you know the child. But if the parent asked for no presents I wouldn’t take one, maybe they dont want their child to become overly materialistic or spoilt? Maybe they too know they can’t afford all the party presents and hope other party holders would request the same no gift policy?


  7. Laura
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 20:41:08

    Is there any way of a you clubbing together with some of the other parents to buy a bigger present together? Mind you it could end up being more hassle! Convince someone else to organise it and just give them the money. Still have all this to come!


  8. Boo Roo and Tigger Too
    Feb 18, 2012 @ 20:36:43

    Roo had a whole class party for her four, 54 children came, it took 3 hrs to open all her presents. Many of these presents she never opened and were redistributed to other children. £5.00 in a card is better than a rubbish, never going to be used gift


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