For most children, the excitement reaches fever pitch when their birthday is just around the corner. They can’t wait to have a party with all of their friends and, of course, they probably have a wish list full of presents. This can be a worrying and upsetting time for any parent that is struggling financially. It is made even worse by the fact that other kids seem to have the latest mobile phones and games consoles, and you don’t want your child to be left out. So, what can you do if you cannot afford your kid’s birthday?
If your child’s birthday is several months away, you still have some time to save. You may think that it is impossible to put away money every month when you are struggling as it is, but you would be surprised where cut backs can be made. Here are some suggestions to help you with saving when money is already tight:
Sell things – Do you have clothes, games, or furniture around the home that you no longer use? There are bound to be plenty of people that would give them a happy home. Plus, with auction sites like eBay, it is easy to get things off your hands these days.
Use cash-back programs – There are so many different cash-back programs today. Whenever you make a purchase, you will get a percentage of it back as cash. You can add this into a savings account for your little one’s birthday.
Find cheaper gas – There is no denying that gas is a costly expense. However, you can search for the cheapest gas in your area by using the GasBuddy app. This app uses your location to determine the cost of gas around you. You can then save a few bucks every time you fill up.
Change your car insurance – If you have not changed your car insurance in a while, you could find that you are missing out on a lot of savings. Use a comparison site to see if it would be cheaper switching provider.
Go meatless – Next time you do your grocery shop; try to reduce the amount of meat you spend. If you only eat meat once or twice per week, you will save a lot of money. Plus, it is a lot healthier too.
Eliminate unnecessary expenses – It is time to rethink what the word utility means. It should mean the sort of things that you cannot live without. Do you really need your expensive cable package? If not, switch it for a cheaper Internet-based service and add the savings to your child’s birthday fund.
Unplug electronics – Even when the switch is off at the plug, your electronics still leech electricity. Start unplugging them altogether.
Ask friends or family
Have you tried discussing your money issue with a close friend or family member? The likelihood is that they will be more than happy to help if they are able to. After all, they will want your child to have a great birthday too. Bring up the subject with them and see if they offer to help. If they don’t, and you feel comfortable, you could ask them politely if they would be willing to lend you some money and if you could pay them back over time.
Have you considered a loan?
Nowadays, there are many different forms of financial aid available, and taking out a loan can be a good way to ensure your kid has a great birthday. It is simply about finding the right loan for you. Don’t take out more than you need to. Simply borrow a couple of hundred dollars or whatever is required to buy your child a present and give them a good birthday. Just because you can borrow thousands does not mean that you should. Making payments over time is a lot more manageable for most people, and a lot of lenders will enable you to choose a repayment period that is suitable to your situation. This is a good option for those that don’t want to discuss their financial situation with their family and friends. If you know you have income coming in regularly and you can make the repayments on time, it will actually boost your credit rating too, which will help you when borrowing money for any reason in the future.
Make sure you stick to a tight budget
You don’t have to spend a fortune to throw any amazing birthday party. Even if you secure a loan or a loved one offers to lend you some money, you should still set yourself a strict budget. Plus, if you throw an elaborate birthday this year, they will only expect an even bigger one next year. Don’t waste money on private venues or hiring an entertainer for several hours. Do things the old fashioned way. You can easily host a party at your own home, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot to put on a buffet and make some party bags. You could even ask some of the parents if they would be willing to bring something to add to the buffet. You don’t need to buy fancy invites either, as there are plenty of templates online today, which you can easily print out and use. Make sure you have one invite per family. If you are inviting a brother and sister, there is no need to put both names on the invitation.
You can also take care of the entertainment yourself. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a professional service. Enlist the help of one of your friends to do face painting. There are plenty of courses and videos online showing you how to face paint, balloon model, and perform magic tricks. And, there are always the traditional games that provide a lot of fun and make everyone laugh, such as musical chairs and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. To make the birthday even more special, why not have a theme? From pirates to fairies, there are so many different options.