A child's smile is priceless, especially on a birthday.
But demands and peer pressure from other parents can turn a little party into a budget buster.
Karin Caifa shares some tips on curbing costs and teaching your child some important lessons.
Party stores are packed with dozens of themes. hundreds of birthday items.
For girls, Disney princesses are huge.
For boys all the super heroes from the latest blockbuster hits like Superman, Iron Man, the Avengers... but birthday blowouts can cost big bucks.
Kiplinger's personal finance expert, David Mulbaum, says parents can save money before the party starts:
*Let children make their own invitations, or send them via email.
*Keep food and cake simple, another thing you can do at home, for less.
*And don't go overboard on party favors. a fun activity can be a takeaway guests make themselves.
"You can spend a lot of money on party favors, but a lot of times the fun is in having the kids put together the party favors."
One inexpensive trend: candy buffets.
"Parents are sort of picking and choosing a few key colors of their party design, and then designing an entire candy display based on those colors."
Also, skip the roller rink or play center, for a more affordable venue.
"There's a lot of things often in your own community from something as simple as going to the park to ice rinks."
Including your child in the party planning can also be a learning opportunity.
"This is a prime opportunity for you to lay out what the cost is. They may realize, maybe I'll just settle for something else. But helping them with the dollars and cents - this is a great opportunity."
That's a birthday gift that keeps on giving.
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