In our house 5 is a big birthday. I guess because it means that school is in the near future and that is a huge life change. We usually like to make a big deal about it, but when you are barely making it paycheck to paycheck you have to do the best you can and hope your child is happy. Well I must say that we succeeded this year with all of our littlest ones, most recently with our son who turned 5 on November 7th.
Step 1 - Buy gifts that make it seem like they are getting more than they really are. For example, this year be bought Mr. Crazy two four packs of Play Doh and a Switch and Go Dino (both things he had asked for). To us, we had bought him THREE cheap gifts that fit our budget, but to him, we blessed him with NINE perfect treasures! And if we had been forced to switch out the $17 Dino for a 3 dollar power ranger action figure he would have been just as happy so don't worry if you have an even smaller budget, it still works! [ I must say that the older a child gets, the less this works, but when they are older they know more of what is going on in the family dynamic and they know they are lucky that they were able to get anything at all - It all works out!]
Step 2 - Make the celebration last two days. Give a present on the day before the birthday and let them take a day off from chores (or another hated activity). Then have the rest of the celebration the next day. For our son this year, The Shooter had to work swing on the actual birthday so we let the boy open a present and go shopping for his own toys with the birthday money from his Aunt and Uncle. He had an awesome day playing with all of his new toys and feeling like the special "Birthday Boy". On day two of the birthday celebration (the day after the actual birthday) he opened the remainder of his presents, took us out to lunch at McDonalds (his favorite), ate his favorite meal for dinner- that he was allowed to chose and put on the menu, and had cake. It turned out to be a really fun birthday party! [ This may sound selfish, but this particular step is very helpful to me. With my physical limitations it allows me to spread things out so I don't hurt myself and I don't get as tired. And we all know how exhausting a child's birthday can be!]
3rd - Let the child chose their favorite meal as their 'birthday dinner'. Everyone has to eat anyway so there is no extra expense but the child feels special because they got to CHOOSE their favorite meal for their special night. Mr Crazy choose homemade Mac and Cheese and BBQ Chicken chunks with mixed veggies. YUM!!!
4th - A homemade cake saves lots of money and you can usually buy a character kit really cheap if that is what you want. Or you can do simple decorations yourself! (We actually had a store bought cake this year because there was a bit of leeway in the food budget)
5th - Give them special privileges throughout the two days. You might let them go first out the door when going somewhere or they get served all meals first, let them pick out which toys to play with before other siblings or let them pick out the books to read. There is so much more you can do to make them feel like number one, but I won't bore you with more details because I'm sure you get the picture.
So, if you have a small budget, don't fret that you can't make the day special for your child. You can do it for very little money! And I must say that it can be very hard to 'pull one over' on a child but this has never failed us and it's kinda fun knowing that you are completely in charge for once ;). After all, everyone knows that kids rule the roost!
Good luck and until next time...Hugs and Love to all of you!
Don't forget to visit my Facebook page and feel free to like and share it with your friends
Facebook page link.