Kids' Birthday Party Gifts That Won't Break the Bank

Gift Ideas for All Types of Friends

A picture of a child with birthday presents
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Once your child is old enough to be invited to birthdays, you have to figure out how much to spend on birthday gifts. You don't want to appear cheap, but birthday party after birthday party can start to add up. From those children you barely know to your child's BFF, here are the best kids' birthday presents when you're on a tight budget.

Acquaintances

It never fails. Your child meets a new playmate on the playground and they're instantly invited to this new pal's birthday party. Spend very little on gifts for your child's acquaintances. Look for simple toys that are $5 or less. One option is to give homemade gifts you can make with your children; an assortment of multicolored slime or scented playdough is sure to be a hit with younger kids.

Kids' birthday gift ideas for under $5:

  • Books
  • Card games
  • Stickers
  • Coloring books
  • Crayons and other art supplies

Classmates

Spend no more than $10 on your child's classmates. Lower that number if your child has more than 10 classmates or you could spend a small fortune over the course of a school year. To avoid hurt feelings, stick to that budget for everyone in your child's class.

Kids' birthday gift ideas for under $10:

  • Play-Doh sets
  • Kickball
  • Puzzles
  • Travel games
  • Action figures
  • Craft sets
  • Art supplies

Friends

Friends can be broken into a couple of categories. There are close friends your child sees often and the one or two friends he considers his best friends.

For friends your child plays with regularly, keep the spending to $15 or less. For friends your child is particularly close to, spend around $20.

Kids' birthday gift ideas for under $15:

  • Legos
  • Board games
  • Sports balls
  • Art supplies
  • Craft sets
  • Puzzles

Relatives

Family members get the highest cap on spending. Up to $25 is a good guideline for a cousin's birthday party. You can fudge a little and go over on your budget if your children are close to their cousins.

How you decide to spend depends on a number of factors. Think about how often you see them, how tightly-knit your family is, and how much other family members tend to spend. Anywhere between $15 and $25 will give you plenty of gift options for family members.

Kids' birthday gift ideas for under $20:

  • Barbies
  • Wooden puzzles
  • Board games
  • Art supplies
  • Hardcover books

One more money-saving tip: Cut kids' birthday party gift prices by being a smart shopper. Look for buy one, get one free deals, deep discounts, and other special savings as you shop. Look for clearance items and Black Friday deals to stock up on birthday party gifts to use throughout the year.

Finally, some people may wonder: if the party invitation says, "No Gifts," should I still buy something? The answer is no. It can create an awkward situation when some guests bring gifts and others don't.