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Birthday Budgets Gone Wild

3 Minute Read

Remember when hosting a birthday party for your kid meant throwing together a good ol’ game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey and maybe ordering a couple of pizzas?

That wasn’t so long ago. These days, though, kids’ birthday parties have gotten completely out of hand. And we’re not just talking about Sweet Sixteen Bashes, either. Some parents of infants and toddlers are spending thousands of dollars on birthday parties.

And it’s not just here in the United States. In England, a 5-year-old boy received a $24 invoice for failing to attend his friend’s birthday party he had RSVP’d for. The boy’s parents have been threatened with legal action in small claims court if they refused to pay the “no-show fee.” Some people take these parties a little too seriously!

Is anyone doing anything about it? Who’s going to finally step up and say, “Enough is enough!”

To make matters worse, the tabloids tout the perfectly executed parties of the tiniest tots in celebrity circles—like Jay Z and Beyonce’s daughter, who received a $200,000 princess-themed birthday party when she turned 1. Radar Online says they spent $95,000 on roses for the party, $30,000 on gifts for their guests, and $80,000 on a blinged-up Barbie for the birthday girl. Not to be outdone, David and Victoria Beckham spent $187,000 on a playhouse for their son when he turned 6.

And it’s not just a trend for famous families. If you’ve got a little money—or a lot of credit—then you can easily spend more on a 3-year-old’s birthday party than you spent on your wedding.

For as much as $1,000, you can hire a children’s party planner to plan a birthday bash that your 1-year-old will never remember. One party planner named “Princess Sharon” says she plans parties that cost anywhere from $700 up to $100,000.

That’s nuts! But you don’t have to buy in to the overpriced birthday party for your kids. It’s true. You really don’t. If you don’t want to (or can’t afford) a $1,000 party for your 4-year-old, you’re not a bad parent. Honestly, you’re probably a smart parent.

Your kids and their friends will have just as much fun running around in the backyard, eating a nice, homemade cake and popping water balloons. Who said keeping it simple can’t be fun and memorable?

Related: Spoiled or Blessed: It's All About the Attitude

And let’s be honest—is a fancy party communicating that the more you spend, the more you love your kids? Is it less about the kids and more about keeping up appearances with your friends?

Now, remember, if a big birthday party is truly a priority for you and it’s a reasonable percentage of your budget, then go for it! Spend as much as you’ve made room for in your budget.

But unless you’re Beyonce or Victoria Beckham, you probably need to tone it down a notch on the kids’ parties. Pin the Tail on the Donkey isn’t all that bad, right?

What are your thoughts on kids' birthday parties—from lavish carnivals to simple pizza parties? Join the conversation in the comments section!

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