7 Ways to Save Money On Birthdays

7 Ways to Save Money On Birthdays

Whether we were born into a family that made a big deal about birthdays or not, it’s certain we know someone for whom the celebration of their birthday is one of the most important of their year.

But how can we give gifts that don’t break our budget yet are thoughtful and really express how much we value the recipient?


Most of us don’t need a lot more *things*, but most of us could do well with a lot more kind words of appreciation. Instead of going out to buy something, take a bit of time, to sit down, type out or better yet hand write a letter expressing exactly what we treasure about the birthday girl or guy. Be precise. Think of examples when you witnessed their kindness or their strengths in action. Don’t be intimidated about making it perfect; write from the heart. If it’s true that one kind word can change someone’s entire day, what does that mean for the gift of a keepsake, written down sharing a personalized message of love and appreciation? (Buy a chocolate bar if you prefer something to be wrapped along with the letter.)

Movie nights

A birthday gift we do for our older children is invite them to stay up late a couple Saturday nights of their birthday month with just mom and dad and get to watch a movie of our choosing. It’s been a wonderful bonding opportunity, and it costs nothing. Don’t forget to rent the movie from the library. They feel so special and celebrated. (Wrap the DVD, if you want them to have something to physically open)


Whether for a friend, spouse or child, the gift of a shared experience can mean so much. And you can do it for free. Search for hiking in your area and invite the birthday person to join you for a hike on a day that works for them. Take photos while hiking and be sure to email them to the person afterwards, so they have keepsakes from the day. As they say, “time is the best gift because it’s the one thing we can never get back.”


Making someone a meal on their birthday can be such a treasured gift. If you plan ahead, it doesn’t have to cost much, but it can mean the world.


Flowers from a florist are a lovely gift, but can cost a fortune. Our nearby national chain grocery store clearances flowers when they’re getting close to (but not yet!)  past their peak. If you buy those plus a vase from a thrift store (or better yet, use one of the many most households have under their kitchen sink), it can be a beautiful, thoughtful, appreciated gift with very little cost.


For a child, thrift stores can be so much fun. Give the child a $5 bill and invite them to come with you to a local second hand store and give them permission to spend it on any things that add up to $5 total. It can be so fun to see them amazed at their personally selected treasures.


Take a course together. My children, spouse and I all love the Great Courses series of classes. We rent them from the library and can sit down and learn something new about a fascinating new topic. For a birthday gift, rent one that you think that particular family member would be most interested in and make the time to watch and learn about it together.

You can make a loved one’s birthday so special, and it doesn’t have to cost a penny!

Spread the love, celebrate their life and make them remember how irreplaceable they are to you!

For ways to save money on dates, click here.

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