It’s just as important to budget for birthdays, as it is to budget for other holidays. When creating a budget, incorporating holidays and birthdays is just as important as incorporating anything else. Holidays & birthdays should not get in the way of saving for retirement or an education.
Especially if you have children, birthday parties may come up month to month as a surprise, and you find yourself spending money. In your month-to-month budget, it’s important to budget birthdays, even if you don’t “plan” on spending money for that month.
I can offer several suggestions, and if any readers have anymore, please post!
Idea #1: Decide on a monthly amount to save. Make a list of all family members and close friends and write their birthday. Put a desired amount that you would spend on each present, for example: for your parents $50, cousins, $25, etc. With this list, calculate how much you’ll need per month. It’s important to add an extra $50 or so in there, if any unexpected birthday or dinner comes up.
Idea #2: Budget between $100 – $200 per month for birthdays and whatever you do not spend for that month, goes directly into savings.
Idea #3: Budget a specific amount of money per gift for everyone, and calculate how much that will be for each month.
Idea #4: Add up all the money estimates you think you’d spend on gifts, divide by 12 (months in a year) and that is how much money to save each month. You can keep the additional money in a separate bank account.
As an important reminder, it is always important to save for emergencies; however, purchasing a gift for someone should not be considered an emergency. An emergency could be that you need a new battery in your car or a trip to the emergency room.
Also, try not to spend more than you can afford. I know it’s hard, your mother or sister may want that new mixer for their kitchen that costs $300, but it may not be your job to get it. Consider getting a gift card to go for the larger purchases and write that in the card. I know, I hear giftcards are impersonal… but if you write a little note such as “i hope this helps get that mixer you’ve always wanted!” makes it personal.
As I said in my holiday budgeting post, it’s more important that you give a thoughtful gift, not how much money you spend on a gift.
When I thought about writing this post, my past birthdays came to mind. I remember being in kindergarten and having a huge birthday party. I remember getting around 50 or more gifts (imagine what my parents spent, yikes!) I’m not much of a hoarder by any means, but I do still have some of those gifts. I received picture frames, a monogrammed locker, and a hand drawn picture with my name on it that a mother did for me. I kept those gifts and still have them in my room. The gifts that gotten thrown away were the trendy toys that fell apart or that I grew out of using.
My point being is this: Yes that picture with my name on it didn’t seem very fun at the time, but here, almost 20 years later, it’s still hanging on my wall. It took some time, and a little bit ofmoney, but someone made it for me.
Do you have any suggestions on how to budget for birthdays? What works best for you?