These Kid Birthday Parties Are Making Me Broke!

If you include the pizza extravaganza this past Sunday morning, I've taken my son and daughter to a combined 14 kiddie birthday parties since January. Oh, yes, I counted them - right after I noticed how frequently my local toy store has been showing up on my credit card bill.

I'm terrible at math, but it doesn't take a genius to realize that I've spent way over $100 on spy glasses, Transformers, Matchbox Cars, and Daisy Girls Dress-Up Dolls in the past six months.

I'm sure the tally is really much higher because some of the kids were close friends, and I felt I should spend more than average.

Just this morning another invite landed in my daughter's mailbox at preschool: Hooray! It's Michael's 5th birthday party next month! They're holding it at one of those kiddie gyms, which my daughter loves.

But it means another credit card charge. If these children continue to get a year older every single year I'm going to have to start declining invitations or risk going broke. That's a lot easier to do with my daughter than my older son, who's much more attune to all the social events going on outside school.

For the party of one of my son's friends, the mom had an amazing idea. The invite said no gifts -- just bring $5 in an envelope, to be donated to a local charity. I really hope that idea starts catching on.

How do you avoid letting kid birthday parties break the bank?

Written by Cynthia Dermody for CafeMom's Toddler Buzz