Large families are a blessing. They can also be challenging when it comes to shopping for birthday presents. Most families try to live within a budget, so buying an expensive gift for each child’s birthday simply isn’t feasible. Fortunately, it is possible to give a child something he or she will love without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for finding affordable birthday gifts:
1. Plan ahead.
Shopping at the last minute will most certainly result in a less-than-perfect present or more money spent than you had originally budgeted. Avoid this problem by shopping for birthday gifts well in advance.
2. Focus on quality, not quantity.
Buying children a multitude of presents may impress them while they’re wrapped, but if the gifts aren’t items that they really want, they will soon be ignored after being opened. Instead of attempting to buy as many presents as you can on a limited budget, choose one or two items you believe that the recipient will love. For example, if you know that the recipient loves to paint, buy some high-quality painting supplies, as opposed to three or four smaller gifts, which can start to add up.
3. Look for coupons.
Many retailers send out coupons that you can use to reduce the price of items bought in their store. For example, you may receive a coupon for 20 percent off a single item or 10 percent off of your entire purchase. Keep the coupons when you receive them, and use them to reduce the price of a birthday gift for a family member.
4. Seek discounted items.
When a new version of an item, such as a toy or electronic device hits the market, the previous version is often pushed to the clearance aisle and sold at a significant discount. For example, when a new movie for children hits the theaters, the toys promoting the movie it replaced tend to go on sale. Check the clearance aisles frequently for items that would make good birthday gifts for family members.
5. Comparison shop.
If you know exactly what you want to buy for a child’s birthday, check the price at multiple stores before making a purchase. Don’t forget to look for any coupons that may reduce the price of the item. Add shipping costs to the total cost of the present if you will be ordering online.
6. Save money with homemade gifts.
Consider making a nice present. Homemade toys, sweets or sentimental items often can be more exciting to open than a store-bought gift, so don’t be afraid to use your imagination. Make the recipient a personalized blanket, fill a gift basket with a favorite candy, or use family pictures to make a framed collage.
7. Buying brand name isn’t everything.
In many cases, children’s toys are expensive because of the name they carry. For example, a wooden dollhouse from a lesser-known company is just as much fun as a brand-name dollhouse, and an off-brand train set will serve the same purpose as the character-themed one you saw on display at the store. Opt for the lesser-known brand and you’ll find many more options for affordable birthday gifts.
8. Get creative.
When all else fails, look for unusual gifts that no one will expect. Examples include:
• Pre-packaged activities from the craft store
• A basket of art supplies
• A disposable camera and a few picture frames
• Homemade play dough
• $5 or $10 gift cards to a toy store or favorite restaurant
• A piggy bank with some “starter” change to put inside
What are some budget-friendly gifts that you’ve given to your family members, which went over well? Share them with us on our Facebook page.