THE holiday season might be long gone, but for parents there is no respite from the children’s birthday party scene.
The gatherings are a milestone for children and a delicate dance for adults who must navigate sugar highs, gifting etiquette and the party budget.
FNB consumer education head Eunice Sibiya said there is no need to keep up with the Jones’s when it comes to children’s birthday parties. “The reality is you are going to spend money when you celebrate your child’s birthday – but it is up to you how much. The most important thing is that your child’s birthday party is fun and memorable,” Sibiya said.
“Once upon a time, back in our childhoods, your mom would bake your birthday cake and your friends would gather at your house. There would be a few balloons, sweets and maybe a few games. If a mom wanted to go all out, she skipped the cake, and splurged on a pre-made one from the local bakery instead.”
Before you decide on the theme, location and other party details, figure out a realistic budget, she suggested. “Remember that the birthday party is going to last for a few short hours, but the repercussions of spending more money than you can afford could last far longer.”
Sibiya shared her tips for staying within your party budget:
Research and shop around before deciding on a theme;
Parents receiving invitations should instill in their child that it is not necessary to go to every party, every weekend;
It is not necessary to hire a venue. If your house is not big enough, then ask a family member if you can use their space;
The cake does not have to be store-bought. Ask grannies and aunts for recipes and bake a cake. Kids are also easy to please when there are other activities to keep them happy. A few snacks and sweets will suffice. Hot dogs as main meal will go a long way;
You don’t have to have a jumping castle, face painter and magician. Why not organise traditional games?
Party packs can really add to your budget. Have an activity at the party such as decorating a cupcake and then give these as party gifts.