How Much Our 2-Year-Old's Birthday Party Cost

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Raising a child supposedly costs you a quarter of a million dollars, but it can honestly be more daunting to face the idea of spending $80 on bottle nipples in a single month. Expense Report gives us a look into the spending, scrimping, and wishing that defines parenthood, from what moms spend on birthdays, to childcare, to sleep, to self-care (we wish!), and beyond.

Some moms spend up to $1,000 or $,2000 on birthday parties. So what does it look like for an average family? This West Coast fam break it down.

In early January, my son turned 2 years old. It was bittersweet because he's my youngest of four children (and definitely last baby!). When we didn't have a birthday party for his first birthday, I felt a little bad. We were terribly busy and didn't have the money to throw a big party, so we figured he wouldn't remember it anyway. Besides, all of our family lived in another state and couldn't make it to our place anyway.

We didn't want to spend a lot, and we didn't invite other children other than my best friend's baby. Ultimately, we had 11 people in total, including the birthday boy, his sisters, Mom and Dad, my aunt visiting from out of town, and his godmother. In all, we had a great time and didn't spend a bunch.

My Family: A mom and dad in their 30s

Location: Los Angeles, California

Annual Income: $62,000

Number of children: 4 (2, 8-year-old twins, 10)

My son LOVES everything Disney! I must admit, part of it is my influence. He puts his sister's Minnie Mouse ears on my head and calls me "Mimmie" several times a day. So for his party, we decided to do a Mickey/Minnie theme.

Decorations

Since we were shopping at Wal*Mart for his other birthday items, we decided to check there. Not only did they have all of the birthday party supplies we needed, we saved a bunch and were able to stick to our budget.

Minnie & Mickey plates, napkins, cups, streamers, $30 (Wal*Mart)

Decorations subtotal: $30

Party Food

I am a vegan and my children and their dad are vegetarians. We bought a fruit tray and a veggie tray. The fruit tray had a mixture of strawberries, pineapple and grapes. That tray was finished off first! The veggie tray had baby carrots, fresh broccoli and celery. My husband then bought a vegan ranch dressing that was really good. We also had tortilla chips and different kinds of salsa.

For dinner, we made cheese pizza for everyone. I didn't eat the pizza, but I certainly filled up on the fresh broccoli and carrots dipped in ranch.

Cake mix & frosting (x2) $6 (Wal*Mart)

Fruit tray, $16 (Ralph's)

Veggie platter, $10 (Ralph's)

Tortilla chips (x2), $6 (Wal*Mart)

Salsa, $6 (Wal*Mart)

Soda & Juice (x5), $5 (Ralph's)

Pizza, $10 (Costco)

Vegan ranch salad dressing , $4 (Ralph's)

Food subtotal: $63

clockwise from top left: Nike, Wal*Mart, Build-a-Bear, Wal*Mart

Gifts

My son loves imaginative play with his Fisher Price Little People. He already has the school bus, fire truck, and we got him the house for Christmas. He has a variety of Little People characters that he plays with so the perfect gift for him would of course be more Little People!

On the day of his actual birthday, we took him to Build a Bear workshop and got him a special birthday bear. They currently have a special where on a child's birthday, you pay the age they're turning. The bear itself was only $2 but we decided to get clothes and accessories for the bear, which made it a tad pricier, but a whole lot cuter! My son then named the bear "BB"!

We also got gift cards for his birthday from one of my best friends and his godmother so we could take him shopping and figure out anything else he needed. He was pretty happy with the toys and clothes he got from us and gifts that came in from our family from out of state.

Birthday bear, $13 (Build-A-Bear Workshop)

Fisher Price Little People Take Turns Skyway, $45 (Target)

Melissa and Doug Stacking Train, $13.49 (Amazon)

Fisher Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm, $33 (Wal*Mart)

Fisher Price Little People Travel Together Airplane, $13 (Wal*Mart)

Fisher Price Little People Choo-Choo Zoo Train, $13 (Wal*Mart)

Sneakers, $45 (Nike)

Gifts subtotal: $175

Ultimately, we spent a lot less than we expected to. Since he mostly got big gifts that came with a ton of accessories, we didn't find it necessary to buy a ton of stuff. Besides, he was just turning 2 years old! He needed new shoes, so we got him some and the toys were all things that he really enjoyed. He spent the day of his actual birthday playing with his sisters with his new toys.

Total: $268

Prices may vary.