Save Time and Money on Birthday Gifts

Save Time and Money on Birthday Gifts | Twin Cities Moms Blog

With our 7th birthday here at Twin Cities Mom Collective on the horizon, we decided to take a moment this week to turn our hearts and minds towards all things celebration! We are rerunning some of our favorite birthday posts from previous years as we reflect on this incredible, inspiring and thriving community of moms in the Twin Cities. Join us right here every morning this week as we celebrate… And hey – it’s already socially distanced!

Happy Birthday TCMC!

Editor’s Note: Some of the articles were originally published pre-COVID, thus suggesting birthday activity ideas that may need to be adapted according to the state health and safety guidelines and executive orders. Stay safe, even as you celebrate!

I’m always looking for more ways to streamline my life and free up more hours in the day. Not just hours, I’d totally be happy with freeing up even a few extra MINUTES in the day!

Recently I stumbled upon a strategy that has saved me time, energy, and money too. I was struggling to find enough time to get to the store to purchase birthday gifts my kids could give their friends. There was even a time or two when my child and I ran through Target, frantically searching for the perfect gift, while on the way to a birthday party! I didn’t like living life that way, so I tried something new.

I purchased a number of gifts all at once, great gifts that could be enjoyed by any child, and placed them in a “Birthday Bag.” When it was time for one of my kids to attend a birthday party, I dug out the Birthday Bag, spread the items on the table, and let my child hand-pick a gift for their friend.

This worked out well for many reasons:

  1. I saved time and reduced my stress by making fewer trips to the store.
  2. I saved money because I purchased gifts within our budgeted amount, rather than paying more if I was shopping with the kids and they saw a more expensive item that they just had to get for their friend.
  3. Although the gifts were pre-purchased, my kids still got to select a specific gift for their friend, giving them ownership of the gift.

Now, there is one potential pitfall in all of this. The fads. I know that feeling when you’re sitting there at a birthday party and the gift opened before yours gets all the squeals and fanfare. Yes, yes. Then they open yours and it’s not so exciting. At times like that when I get a little insecure in my gift or the gift my child chose for a friend, I just remember the recent words of my bestie, “Woe to the next person who gives my child more Shopkins toys!” If you choose a gift that the child will enjoy for a long time that does not have a million small parts or break within 24 hours, the parent in that household will be so grateful.

If you’re ready to try this out, there are a few different approaches you can use. You could pick out a variety of more generic gifts that any child would love and stock your Birthday Bag with those. You could make a few age brackets on a piece of paper and pencil in how many people you’d purchase gifts for in each bracket and use that as your shopping guide. Or if you’re more of a planner, you could think through the year ahead and jot down which specific friends or family members your child will likely purchase gifts for, then choose some items geared for those individuals.

No matter how you do it, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by planning a little ahead to save time, energy, and money.


Amber has lived in Minnesota her whole life, with a 4-year stint in Iowa for college (Go Norse!). She and her husband met while both trying to kayak for the first time. The kayaking didn’t go well, but their relationship did! They’ve been married for over 10 years and have four incredible children. Amber describes herself as a recovering perfectionist, unashamed introvert, and extremely empathetic. Her favorite moments are those rare ones during the day when time stands still and she can see with fresh eyes the amazing little people who call her mom.


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