It's our son's third birthday on Thursday. I'm having a hard time thinking of ways to "not spend" as we celebrate.
We bought a special Your Birthday Book for each child last summer after I saw it in Pottery Barn Kids. It's a great book and hopefully they'll keep printing it so all of our kids will have their own. It's a great way to write down their birthday memories and start birthday traditions. We wanted to follow a great example of some friends and take our kids out for breakfast and then go through the questions in their book: Who is the last person you kissed? What's your favorite food? etc. So, we might be using our Panera gift card (was reserving it for a date night this month) to take him out for breakfast (a bagel or a muffin and a smoothie).
My husband thought it would be fun to take him to the little miniature golf course in the mall. It's a black light course so that's kind of fun. But it's not the best thing in the world and for the cost it's not even great. So, we're going to nix that and take him to a playground (hopefully it will be nice enough to play outside). Or we can do Play Pals at the city gym.
Friday night we invited some friends (via E-Vite, so we didn't have to spend money on invites and postage) to Valentino's to help us celebrate. I've already set aside money for this because I knew it was coming and I know it's a special treat. The only dilemma is balloons. That's what defines "birthday party" to my son. So, I don't know if Valentino's has balloons there, but my husband was going to check and see if they would put some on our table (one for each child coming to the party - 4). Hopefully they'll do that for free so I won't have to figure out how to not spend money and buy balloons (maybe a coin hunt in the car).
And I'm making the cake. I bought two box cake mixes and I'll be making my husband's family's frosting recipe. I have the cake all planned out, but I don't want to show you my idea in case it doesn't turn out...then they're won't be as much humiliation. It will be a Disney 'Cars' cake and I'm really excited to make it.
As for the gift, we bought it during one of the after-Christmas sales. So, we've been hiding it in the closet for months. After we bought it I just put it on the bedroom floor and went to bed. He came in the next morning to wake us up and found his gift. He was excited, but not so much after I had to take it away and hide it. So, I'm hoping he'll be as excited when he actually gets to open it.
What are ways you save money while celebrating special occasions?