How To RSVP Yes To Birthdays When Money is Tight

It’s my birthday this week and that got me thinking about celebrating birthdays on a budget. Specifically, how to RSVP yes to birthdays when money is tight or already earmarked for a specific purpose. Trust me, I’ve been there. As my birthday gift to you, I’m giving you my top three tips to keep the party going and the budget, too!

Step #1: Create a Birthday Savings Fund

No matter whether you are just starting out or have been budgeting for awhile, the first strategy I recommend is to create a birthday savings fund. This is a fund that you’ll add to each month based on how much you intend to spend on birthdays throughout the year.

I love this strategy because it allows you to “pay into” your savings fund each month on a consistent basis with the hope that when a birthday does come up, you don’t have to worry about where the money will come from.

One of the things to consider is how many people you regularly host parties or purchase birthday gifts for and what amount is appropriate for each based on your current financial needs and goals.

For example, I might use the following:

  • 5 people at $25 each = $125 (immediate family)
  • 15 people at $5 each = $75 (extended family – cards only)
  • 10 people at $10 each = $100 (kid birthday party invites)
  • Total yearly contribution = $300
  • Total monthly contribution = $25

These are not my actual numbers, but they give you a good idea of how the process can work.

Keep in mind that at the start, the monthly (and yearly total) contribution may be a very small amount depending on how much wiggle room you have outside of the necessities. That’s okay. Just make sure that you are sticking to the budget you created. You can always adjust as you move forward.

Tip: Need help putting your savings funds together? Check out this FREE resource.

Step #2: Keep a Stockpile of Small Gifts

The second strategy I use is to keep a stockpile of small gifts on hand. I actually have a storage tub that I use for this purpose and collect items throughout the year that may be helpful when it comes to putting together a birthday (or holiday) gift.

These can be items that I purchase with point I’ve earned (such as gift cards, etc.), discounted or clearance items, free gifts that come with other purchases, or just items that I find fun and think might be useful in the future.

Some of the items I regularly look for include:

  • Socks
  • Gift cards
  • Small toy sets
  • Coloring books
  • Stickers
  • Coffee mugs
  • Bath and body products
  • Hair bands and clips
  • Travel sized beauty products

…among other things. I also love to take advantage of discounts and specials that allow me to purchase a certain amount of something and receive a gift card, too. Those gift cards can be especially useful when it’s time to give a birthday (or holiday) gift.

Note: Make sure that the money you send on these items is earmarked for birthdays. If you have a savings fund, you can deduct the amount spent from the fund so that the rest of your budget stays in tact.

Step #3: Consider Alternatives

If spending money on a birthday gift is not an option, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s important to give yourself grace and allow for a season of focusing on the things that need your financial focus.

The key is knowing that you can still RSVP yes to birthdays when money is tight if you consider some alternatives.

  • Handmade Gifts: Use what you already have on hand to craft a gift by hand, such as a personalized card, artwork, or baked goodies.
  • Acts of Service: Offer to perform a task or service for the individual, such as cooking a meal, doing chores, running errands, or even a few hours of babysitting. You might even consider creating a coupon book with a few options!
  • Quality Time: Spending quality time together can be a valuable gift. Plan a special (free or low-cost) outing, picnic, or game night tailored to the interests of the individual.
  • Digital Gifts: Share digital gifts such as playlists, e-books, or personalized videos/messages. These can be inexpensive or free while still conveying thoughtfulness and consideration.
  • Re-gifting or Swapping: You might consider re-gifting items you already own and no longer need. While this might not work in every situation, I can tell you that my sister and I have had a lot of fun doing this very thing for both birthdays and holidays. (Last year she received a puzzle and I came home with a slow cooker!)
  • Letters or Notes: Write a heartfelt letter or note expressing your appreciation, memories, and well wishes. Thoughtful words can be deeply meaningful and require only your time and effort.

Of course, these are only a few options, but by considering alternatives to traditional gifts, you’ll be able to join in the celebration without ruining your budget in the process.

How To RSVP Yes To Birthdays When Money is Tight

Celebrating birthdays on a budget is doable and can inspire creative gift-giving. By setting up a birthday savings fund, collecting small gifts throughout the year, and/or exploring alternative gift options like handmade crafts or quality time together, you’ll be able to confidently RSVP yes to birthday celebrations without the fear of overspending.

No matter where you are in your budget journey, I’m here to support you. You can:

  • Download my FREE Family Budget Worksheet HERE to help you get started with your budget.
  • Submit your budgeting and/or home organization questions HERE.

…or jump into the Lemon Blessings’ Membership for an insider’s look at all of my personal meal plans, recipes, grocery lists, budget worksheets, and more.

Remember, if you don’t ask for the help you need, you’ll never get it!

Cheering you on!