A Frugal-ish 5th Birthday

Recently it was my daughter's 5th birthday. As with most things in life I try to keep the costs in mind without scrimping on the overall experience.

This year I've been trying to move towards more experience gifts rather than more stuff. We royally failed on that account at Christmas but her birthday gave us the chance to make up for it. We did discuss coming up to her birthday that we would give her less gifts but do a fun experience instead and she was excited about that.

I did still want her to have a gift to open so we got her a new story book collection to expand bed time reading, which I picked up at Winners for $10. I also made her a dress that matches the Minnie mouse one I'd previously made her using the free Love Notions Doll dress. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, however she has yet to put on her and the doll's version. Hopefully that will come.

The pattern is very cute and easy to sew together. I did change it a bit as I was using flannel for the bottom half so I cut two rectangles roughly double the width of the top, sewed two gathering stitches, gathered it all up and attached it to the bodice.

For her activity we took her to Galaxy Land at West Edmonton Mall. This, plus the two meals we ended up eating out that day were a bit more than we would have normally paid for a birthday gift, but when you take into account that it gives us a reason to go do these more expensive activities we only do a couple times a year it balances out. Just have to keep track of our entertainment budget come the end of the year to make sure we've stayed within it. The fail was eating out for dinner and forgetting our snacks at home. We did end up just doing McDonald's and the food court so less than a restaurant meal out and she was happy with the choices.

Total cost here: $160

For her birthday party we went to an arena that offers a public skate and rented a party room.This was the first time doing a birthday party out of the house but I'll be the first to admit was a lot less stressful!

$85 for the skating and room
$100 for food and party supplies
$20 for goodie bags for her friends.

As most places are nearly $300 just for the venue I consider keeping the party costs around $200 a win! I made her cake and was pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Cake decorating will never be my favourite hobby, but I'm happy to attempt to develop the skills a bit to make cakes that pass for under $20 and taste much better than store bought. This one did end up weighing quite a bit as it had close to 6 lbs of butter cream on it. Last year I bought this cake decorating kit which I've quite liked.  

I had recently attended a cake decorating party that taught us how to do this cake, so had the fondant ears and horn left over that I put in the freezer until making this one. Will have to come up with a new idea for next year though. 

We definitely could have done her birthday for a bit less money and saved in a few more places, but overall I'm really happy with how the day(s) turned out, and most importantly she is too. The journey to FI is not about scrimping and saving every last dollar, but rather figuring out what is important and worth spending money on. A day the kids loved that happens a couple times a year - yes! Adding that to a girl that felt she had a special birthday and we kept costs under $500 (which seems to be the average people around here pay just for the party) - Success!


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