Consumer Watch: Planning a child's birthday

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM

(WHAS11) -- A child's happiness is priceless, especially on a birthday, but kids' demands and peer pressure from other parents can turn a little party into a budget buster. Good Morning Kentuckiana’s Andy Treinen has today’s Consumer Watch. 

If you're looking for tips to curb some costs and maybe teach your children some important lessons along the way, look no farther.

Party stores are packed with dozens of themes and hundreds of birthday items.

“For girls, Disney princesses are huge," David Muhlbaum from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, said.

“For boys all the superheroes from the latest blockbuster hits like Superman, Iron Man, the Avengers,” Muhlbaum, explained.

Birthday blowouts can cost big bucks.  Kiplinger's Personal Finance said parents can save money before the party starts. Let children make their own invitations, or send them via email.  Another thing you can do at home for less money is to keep food and cake simple and don't go overboard on party favors.

A fun activity can be a takeaway that guests make themselves. “You can spend a lot of money on party favors, but a lot of times the fun is in having the kids put together the party favors,” Muhlbaum, said. One inexpensive trend these days are candy buffets. “Parents are sort of picking and choosing a few key colors of their party design, and then designing an entire candy display based on those colors,” Muhlbaum, said.

Another way to save some money along the way is to party plan proactively. Skip the roller rink or play center, for a more affordable venue. "There's a lot of things often in your own community from something as simple as going to the park to ice rinks,” Muhlbaum, said.

Including your child in the party planning can also be a learning opportunity. “This is a prime opportunity for you to lay out what the cost is. They may realize, maybe I'll just settle for something else, but helping them with the dollars and cents, this is a great opportunity,” Muhlbaum, said.

It’s also a birthday gift that keeps on giving. If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.

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