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.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.