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What is a reasonable amount of money to spend on a child's birthday party?

by lizzi (follow)
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A bit fancy for a child's birthday party? Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

As I was going through the checkout purchasing the last few supplies for my daughter's birthday party, the checkout operator informed me that her sister and brother in law had spent $5000 dollars on their 5 year old's birthday party. No I didn't accidentally add an extra zero! Five thousand dollars!! I was completely astounded that it's even possible to spend that much money on a birthday party!

How much would you be comfortable spending on your child's birthday party? What would this include?

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Top Answers
What?! My wedding didn't even cost that much!
I'm sorry lizzi, but this is completely ridiculous! I would not spend more than a maximum of $1500, assuming I'm inviting my entire family and all my friends, and assuming I was buying food for lunch or BBQ, drinks and nibblies for the kids. I cannot believe your sister and brother-in-law! I could take my husband and son on a five week holiday with $5000!
by Vee
LOL wasn't my sister - was the check out lady's sister! I agree - how many other things could we do with that much money?!
by lizzi
Oh! LOL, my bad.
by Vee
That's utterly insane :O

I wouldn't set a dollar figure on how much I would spend, however we do do things very sensibly. We plan very carefully and don't do anything over the top. Often the most expensive part of the party is the cake because we use lots of chocolate and lollies.
I didn't set a dollar figure. But I probably all up spend a couple of hundred dollars. The cake was $40.00. I made "goody bags" which had a couple of glitter pens, some stickers and a couple of choc frogs, food was just mini hot dogs, party pies, homemade gluten free muffins, fairy bread and a packet of chips. Pretty much all the food got eaten and no-one complained of being hungry! I spent less than $10.00 on decorations from the reject shop! The next door neighbours hung about so I got my partner to put some sausages on the barbie for dinner! Oh...and I drank a bottle of wine lol
It's the same here. Parties can be held rather cheaply at home, I think the most I've spent was $150 on a "Twilight" themed party for my daughter's 13th. This included everything like the cake, food, fancy themed decorations etc.
Well I'll tell you something that 'may' be one reason.
We often don't know 'what' is behind the full story.

My only granddaughter (and grandson)...are two children who have a good life.
They do however get things that mum and dad can at times spend a lot of money on.
The sadness in all this is my little 7 year old granddaughter, will never have a full life.She will die before her parents will.
This could very well be the same for the child with the expensive $5,000
You might be right, Jonaj, we never know the full story, but I still think that is too much money for a party. For me, the important thing for a child with a terminal illness or condition, would be to ensure they really enjoyed their party. I don't think spending a lot of money would ensure that, children can really enjoy a day that costs practically nothing. Happiness and love don't need large amounts of money. Great memories can be made without hiring an expensive venue, entertainers, balloon art and whatever else was in that $5,000. And where would it leave parents of children likely to die young who don't have that kind of money to spend on a party?
In our case there is enough money, but it's a bit like 'Therapy spending if you know what I mean'.The parents are on borrowed time with her, so they just don't care what they spend....I have found this with a few people, in crisis.
They loose the bigger picture, and senses.
Very sad to watch happen believe me, so I thought 'yes too much to spend $5,000'....That's all I could come up with. :)
by jonaja
This is a hot topic here too, as we have just celebrated my son's birthday. Because we have only just moved house and country, we decided in the end not to have a party but to have a big family adventure day out instead. However, I did look into having a soft play party, which would have cost 10.50 per child, with a minimum of 10 children.... this seemed pretty steep to me, for just an hour and a half of party!
I think $5000 is a bit of an insane amount for a 5 year olds party, and I'd not want my child to get used to extravagance at such an early age, but perhaps there was a reason for this as Jonaj has cited. We tend to alternate on parties a bit so that there's not a big party every year. Even with the bigger parties, we've still catered ourselves and I make the cake, and we've gone for venues with free or small hire fees. There are lots of great community centres and parks where you can hire a small area or shelter very cheaply and these can work out great for a kids party. $5k is a bit ridiculous but I can see how easily the costs can spiral - a kids entertainer is typically over $200 and then if you add in food, drink , venue hire, party bags etc I can see how it can get to be a pricey business.
We never spent a lot of money on kids' parties. One of the parties that was really good fun was very cheap. My son had the idea that the kids could decorate their own lolly bags. We also had a colouring competition but with lots of categories like the most colourful and most imaginative so it wasn't just the kid with the best hand control that got a prize. The prizes were really cheap but the kids had fun.
Such a waste of money!
Kids' don't appreciate 'money value' so it's wasted!
I really depends on how much the family can afford, we had a jumping castle one year and a bbq, and we had the whole class around, and it was a hot day, so by the end of the day they were all exhausted, but that was 12 years ago and that wasn't too bad, and the kids all had a great time.
I've been to a couple of parties where this amount (and possibly more) has been spent. The parties were hosted by Croatian parents so taking the cost of the venue hire, the sweets table, entertainment and food into consideration, it mounts up. Yes, it is way too much as the child probably won't even remember it after a while. My parties have been as cheap as possible, with decorations bought from $2.00 shops and previous kept ones, home made food with a good variety and plenty of drinks and games to keep everyone happy. The biggest cost was the lolly bags to take home but every guest left happy and with prizes. One of the best parties was a make your own pizza party, cooked in our BBQ. The kids really enjoyed that one and only required a small amount of supervision as the kids were older.
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