Birthdays the Frugal Way

Wow it’s been a really busy couple of weeks at the My Borrowed Planet house and the icing (literally) on the cake was both my girls having their birthdays this week.  Quite a few people have expressed their surprise (OMG!) at the fact there is only one day between each of their special days.  Yes family planning was not my strong point, but one thing I know is that birthdays don’t have to be expensive.

I guess I am lucky in a lot of ways.  My girls don’t expect a lot in the way of gifts – even my eldest who I must admit received far more presents in the 6 years before her little sister came along than she ever has since.  In fact, my 10 year old is now soo anti-corporate it makes me smile. She can often be heard exclaiming “How much? What a waste of money for a load of plastic rubbish!” when she sees adverts for the latest must-have toy on the telly.  My youngest is just happy, pretty much all the time.

I have what I consider to be a reasonably large budget for their birthdays of around £40 each.  Their gifts tend to be a mixture of new and second hand and naturally include a lot of the home school resources we will use over the coming 6 months such as games, puzzles and books.  By that time its Christmas of course so having their birthdays so close together actually works out pretty well.  Our extended family and friends also tend to give gifts that will enhance our play based learning curriculum so I’m really grateful to them too.  Crystal growing kits, flower presses and art materials are the perfect gifts and the girls are looking forward to a trip out to a rare breed’s centre where they will get to feed wallabies with their granddad as an extra special birthday treat.

The only downside to having two birthdays so close together is the slight overload of cake, but to be completely honest it’s not really a hardship.  Their dad made some amazing creations this year (he’s gotten so into baking since he’s been unable to work) and made the TARDIS console for my eldest and a pink Dalek for the littley.  They cost less than £3 each and tasted awesome (I must post some pics).

Of course, we should really be getting back into our normal homeschool curriculum today, but to be honest we’re all suffering with festival flu and are absolutely exhausted.  The weather outside is rubbish too so I thought I’d catch up with some blogging and let them spend the day playing.  After all, isn’t that what play-based learning is all about?  I will go and join them in a minute, just as soon as I finish this post.

I’d be interested to know, however, what you think of our low cost birthdays.  How much do you spend on birthdays and what do you get up to?  Do you think I’m an old meanie for keeping things simple or is it a refreshing change in today’s increasingly hectic (and expensive) lifestyle?  Please leave your comments below! x

About Barefoot Naomi

a home (un)schooling WAHM of 2 who loves living barefoot ♥ View all posts by Barefoot Naomi

4 responses to “Birthdays the Frugal Way

  • homeschoolingpenny

    Absolute credit to you! There’s a lot of money swishing around in Bahrain and a lot of competitive Mummies so things can get a bit sickening! The cakes people buy here, let alone everything else! We did expensive cakes and cheaper everything else because my son talked about how his cake was going to be decorated all year long. But a year or two ago, I said ‘No way. Sorry. We are going to put some action figures (old ones) on your cake this year’ thinking he’d cry forever and he was totally fine with it! We like to have our parties at home. We welcome siblings and Daddies and prefer it to be a family affair rather than everyone thinking ‘Great, drop off the kid and have time to myself’! We have so many toys that as far as I’m concerned, the kids must be happy to play with those or run around outside. They don’t need more organized stuff (well, ‘more’ in the case of all those poor schooled kids). So it’s a bit of a riot. A bit haphazard. But my kids are happy and I think this way we’re celebrating in a way that’s in line with our values, however out of kilter they are with most people around here! And that is important, a great learning lesson and an easy one if the kids are all happy 😉

    • Barefoot Naomi

      hee hee yes action figures on the cakes work a treat – that’s what we did too! Good for you putting your foot down as well, especially as it sounds like it can be quite competitive in Bahrain. It’s strange because here in Plymouth there isn’t a lot of money swishing around yet people still go really over the top when it comes to birthdays. I’ve seen so many people getting into stupid amounts of debt to give their kids “the best” then they are struggling to pay it back for the whole of the year, only to do it all again!

      Isn’t it amazing that we worry so much about how our kids are going to react to “downsizing” when nine times out of ten they are absolutely fine with it! I love the fact that your son was so cool about the cake. I worry when other kids tell my daughter what they got for their birthdays (iphones, games consoles etc etc) compared to what she receives but she’s always been absolutely fine with it. I’m not sure I would have been so chilled at the same age :s

      I do think it is a bit easier to say no when the kids are out of school, I certainly feel the pressure less now we homeschool compared to when my eldest did go to school. As you say, at the end of the day as long as they are happy it is all that matters and they definitely are happy so it’s all good! 😀

      • homeschoolingpenny

        Yes, less pressure now not at school. And regarding consoles etc… since they are used to being told ‘no, sorry’ the rest of the year and they have been warned not to expect one on their b’day, it’s not a shock. Warning in advance that things won’t be bought helps I think to avoid disappointment. I did go a bit overboard (in a sale, always dangerous!) with buying toys for my daughter’s b’day next week so I’ve decided to keep some for xmas! In part for financial reasons, in part to avoid raising expectations this year to be dropped next year. I think Barbie will still be popular! 🙂

      • Barefoot Naomi

        Happy birthday to your daughter for next week! Warning them in advance that certain things are just not going to happen is a big help – and I think that it makes them appreciate the things they do get even more, mine always seem pleasantly surprised 🙂 Good idea putting things back as well – just don’t forget where you’ve hidden them! xxx

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