A few years ago, my husband and I decided that for our children’s birthday we would no longer spend a butt load of money on toys that will be played with for 5 minutes before they are all over the floor and not being used any longer. We came to agreement that we wanted them to have a memorable birthday doing something that would last forever in their memories! What, you may ask? Well. We decided that we would plan to go out and do something every birthday. How can we do this and still stay within a reasonable price tag? Planning, booking early (if you decide to stay somewhere) and creating a savings just for their birthdays. I am not saying that we don’t get them toys, it’s just we do not focus on just toys. They will always have a couple of things to unwrap. And of course, BIRTHDAY CAKE!
You cannot just decide this within of week of a birthday and expect to do it inexpensively. Planning is the KEY. For instance, last year we took our daughter to Lego land, and we planned this two months in advance, so that we would have the money to purchase the tickets and to spend while we were playing around at the park. Not only did she love it, but our son also got to reap the benefits! For our son’s birthday two years ago, we decided about three months before that we would purchase a big enough pool to go in our back yard. It was set up and he loved it! He loves to swim and be in the water and with Florida being so hot, we knew it would be the best gift EVER to him. That pool is used every summer now and it never gets old.
My daughter is turning 6 in a couple of weeks and for her birthday we booked a cabin that has a pool and is on a huge property. By booking way in advance through Air BnB, I was able to book this cabin for just 200$ for three days. We are picking the kids up early on the 16th from school, packed and ready to go. They will be so confused but it will be awesome! The drive there will be full of tons of “Mommy, where are we going?” “Mommy, what are we doing?” to which we will reply multiple times, “IT’S A SURPRISE!”
My husband came up with the idea to do a scavenger hunt! While they are sleeping that first night. We will hide hiking gear and make a treasure map for her, so in the morning she will have to hunt for it! In 5, 10, 15 years she won’t remember that baby doll she used to play with, or the many barbies that lie around but she will remember the birthday when she was 6. When her mommy and daddy took her out of school early and drove in mystery that 4-hour drive, to the cabin where she had the best time!
It is so simple to make something similar happen! You don’t have to go somewhere extravagant, just take your kids camping! Tent camping sites here in Florida range from $20-25 a night. You can make smores, cook outdoors and go on hikes! Swim in the springs if there are any nearby! You can find good deals on Air BnB if you start searching soon enough for cabins, if that’s what you would like to do. Or why not rent an Air BnB with maybe a pool so your birthday boy or girl can swim all weekend! Are you wondering how? Read below:
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN AHEAD!
Planning prevents having to rush last minute. It prevents the stress of having to make hard decisions in a hurry, which at least for me always ends in chaos. I had to learn to plan. Being a busy mom leaves no time for even more than the usual chaos my life is. I don’t need to add anymore hectic to my already hectic world. Within the last four months I have begun using a planner, I cannot express how much this has helped me! I jot everything down for the month ahead. Goals, wishes, important events! It’s all in my little planner. Don’t have one? I have created a free planner printable that you can download and try out!
ALWAYS BOOK EARLY!
By booking early you ensure that the days you need aren’t already booked, in the location you want. This goes for booking a restaurant, fun activity place and hotel. If you try to book a location only a couple weeks ahead, you run the risk of there being no openings! Then all the planning you did goes out of the window! Now you’ll need to scramble to figure something else out. I don’t really feel the need to go on and on about this, because I think all moms are on top of this!
START A SEPARATE SAVINGS!
No, I don’t expect you to run out and create a savings account just for the special occasion. By starting a separate savings, I mean putting money aside anywhere you feel comfortable. Do you have a safe? Use it. Don’t mind placing it in the bank savings account you already have! Go for it. Write down your savings goal and mark off each time you save. Making a savings for the event that’s coming up is important, you do not want to go and feel strapped. You will only feel worse if there are things you’d like to spend some money and can’t because you didn’t save. I don’t know about you, but I can’t go somewhere that I planned on and spend what I please if I don’t already have the money set aside. I have many responsibilities and saving always helps!
HOW DO I FILL OUT MY ACTIVITY PLANNER?
Here is an example of how I fill out my planner for birthdays or anniversaries (For this planner example I have chosen the dates of October 1st, 2018- January 5th,2019). I have separated the printable activity planner into three sections, to match how I have it in my planner. The three sections are: PLAN OF ACTION, IDEAS, and SAVINGS TRACKER.
– PLAN OF ACTION
- Plan how much money you want to save every week, or every other week. I will be saving $25 a week from 10/01/2018 until 01/05/2019.
- Pick a date I will be ordering the birthday cake. I will be ordering the cake 01/01/2019 (I will make sure to also set this date into my phone calendar, just in case).
- Pick a location. I will pick the activity location by 11/01/2018.
- Book a room by a certain date. I will be booking a room by 12/01/2018.
-IDEAS (Feel free to add more than just three ideas)
- UNIVERSAL STUDIOS
- DISNEY WORLD
- CAMPING BY JUNIPER SPRINGS
- 10/01/2018 $25
- 10/07/2018 $25
- 10/14/2018 $25
- 10/21/2018 $25
- 10/28/2018 $25
- 11/04/2018 $25
- 11/11/2018 $25
- 11/18/2018 $25
- 11/25/2018 $25
- 12/02/2018 $25
- 12/09/2018 $25
- 12/16/2018 $25
- 12/23/2018 $25
- 12/30/2018 $25
By the day that we will be taking the trip I will have saved $350.00! That is $350.00 of extra spending money for our trip, YAY! I will also have made sure that I booked the room and location in a reasonable amount of time to ensure that the dates I have chosen are available. What things do you do for birthdays? How do you plan it? These are things I’d love to hear about, comment below!