Party pooper

It seems like everyone was born about this time of year. Of course, this isn’t reality, but I am sure that my family has had more than our fair share of birthday cake recently.

Combined, my kids have attended eight children’s birthday parties in the past month. When you add in my friends' birthdays, a baby shower, a wedding, and an upcoming bar mitzvah, I am practically a full-time gift giver. While I love a party as much as the next person, I can’t help but notice that these celebrations are beginning to eat up all my spare minutes and a good chunk of my discretionary income.

I cannot find the average amount consumers spend on gifts other than Christmas, but I can tell you that I’ve spent more than I budgeted for. Here is what I’ve spent in two months’ time (this does not include what my husband spent on my birthday!):

8 birthday gifts for my kids' friends: $120
1 birthday fit for my niece: $25
2 birthday gifts fo rmy friends: $100
1 baby shower gift: $25
1 bar mitzvah gift: $50
1 wedding gift: $65
Total: $345

Ouch! That is more than my car payment. My only consolation is that I spent under $50 per month on gifts during the months of July and August. Instead of riding this roller coaster, I think my best course of action is to determine what I spend during an entire year on gifts (including Christmas). When I get a handle on what I spend annually, I can divide the total amount by 12 and save that amount each month. Maybe I will even designate a savings account for this purpose and have the amount automatically transferred. Wish I had thought of this in July….

If you have other ideas on how to get this budget item under control, please gift them to me through the comments section.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.