The birthday gift cupboard
“Hey mom, I just found an invitation to a birthday party — and good news — it’s tomorrow!”
Child grins. Mom gasps. Or does she?
Welcome to my Birthday gift cupboard – a stockpile of gifts for such an emergency.
Faster than a speeding bullet, this mom can pull out a fabulous gift for any birthday that arises.
Throughout the year, I collect gifts that are unique, interactive, creative and of course – on sale for a great price.
With 3 kids attending an average of 6 parties per year, this could be a substantial part of our budget.
3 kids x 6 parties x $25-$30 last-minute-scramble gifts = $450-$540
Using some creativity, and pre-planning, this is what that number actually looks like:
3 kids x 6 parties x $10-$15 birthday cupboard gifts = $180-$270
That’s easily a savings of over 50% – for just a bit of pre-planning.
Favorite places to find deals on presents:
- Clearance sections at Winners and Real Canadian Superstore for toys and clothing
- Thrift stores & garage sales for unopened games/puzzles
- Dollarama for Playdoh, craft supplies and a stash of wrapping paper & gift bags
- Shopper’s drug mart for free items with Optimum Points
- Kijiji & Craigslist for items that are brand new
- Scholar’s choice often has deeply discounted games if you search the shelves. A $10 annual membership gives 10% off each purchase and 2 x $5 coupons
Cereal box coupons can also be used to provide substantial savings.
Items currently in my birthday cupboard:
I try to collect a variety of gifts for different ages and for both boys and girls.
- Crayola products – most purchased at Staples during back-to-school sales.
- Card games – ones that can be added to any larger gift. I just bought Mille Borne’s packages for $1 at Walmart today (reg. $8). I also love classic games like Rook, Phase One, Uno, and Dutch Blitz, which sometimes go on sale ($3-$5 on sale, regular $9).
- Backpacks – I currently have a Marvel one from Old Navy (bought for $8, regular $20), SK8ER from Winners (bought for $5, regular $20), and Foxy Jeans (bought for $4, regular $14). These are all name brand bags and are of good quality.
- Froggy Boogie (factory sealed) – from a garage sale (bought for $3, regular $30)
- Lego beginner bucket – from Winners (bought for $5, regular $20)
- Monopoly millionaire – Bought at Walmart for $15 and used a $10 Hasbro coupon (found on cereal boxes) = $5
- Tamiya mechanical Sets (new in box) – from a garage sale (bought for $10, regular $20-$40)
My boys thoughtfully select the gift they know their friend would enjoy. They are just as excited to choose items from the birthday cupboard as they would be to buy them retail. We work together to wrap them and they use their artistic skills to make a personalized card.
Top it with a chocolate bar or something else that’s just as exciting, and we are ready to go!
With fabulous finds on hand, birthday giving can be stress-free, and might even bring a reaction like this:
What ideas do you have to find great inexpensive birthday gift ideas?