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A Birthday Budget


I have been wracking my brain trying to come with something to make Princess’ 16th birthday special while in quarantine. There will be no party, no going out to eat…no nothing really. Although she has requested that we order from Dominoes as her birthday meal.

Gymnast and I went walking this week and he reminded me that for the twins’ 16th birthday, I did 16 presents…and I thought, what a great idea! Now I’ve got a plan, so I just have to come up with 16 presents…without breaking the bank!

I’ve set a budget of $200 for her birthday, this is pretty standard with a family meal out and a $50ish big present and a few smaller things. And seeing as our meal will be much less expensive, I can spend a little more on gifts. (I have the same budgeted for every birthday, it just varies on how much is actually spent based on where they choose to eat and if I have coupons or gift cards.)

In the Past

For the twins’ 16th birthday, I gave them each 16 presents and they got them throughout the day. I remember because it was a homeschool co op day so I planned it so they received them every hour or so from different people. It started with a Starbucks coffee drink when they woke up…

I can’t remember everything I got them, but I know gifts included watches, wallet, fast good gift card, etc. Nothing pricey, more in the $5-10 range. And some were free…coupons for chores, hug from a friend, etc. It was a neat and memorable day for them without breaking the bank.

With Princess, I’m going to have a get a bit more creative since we don’t really have any activities going on. I would love any suggestions.

Ideas I have for gifts are:

  • Makeup
  • Cake baked by one of her friends (already set in motion)
  • Coupon for dog walking – there is nothing my kids more than having me do one of their chores 🙂
  • Gift card for gas
  • Acrylic paint (can get it for $0.50 each at Wal-mart)
  • Starbucks drink sometime during the day
  • Fast food gift card

There won’t be any particular “big” gifts. I think this birthday will be more about making the delivery memorable versus the gift itself.

If you have any cheap gift ideas for a laid back, crafty 16 year old girl and/or unique delivery ideas while we are in quarantine, I would love to hear them.




  • Reply AtlantaTJ |

    Could you hide the gifts and make it a scavenger hunt, with clues to find the next one each time she finds one?

    • Reply vicky |

      Ooh, I love this idea. Might have to steal it and do it for my daughter’s birthday 🙂

    • Reply Jazz |

      I was going to suggest a scavenger hunt as well. It would be cute to blend a memory from each year into each clue and call it ‘Cheer to 16 years’ or something like that.

      Other gifts might be nail polish, bath bombs, a mommy/daughter day out coupon for once everything opens back up, a movie night kit (with candy and a redbox or online rental).

  • Reply Cynthia |

    Hope, a few weeks ago you mentioned getting Princess a larger driving related birthday gift. Is that part of your $200 budget? If you are still doing a car theme, there are many small cheap accessories for drivers, like a tire pressure gauge, sun shades, auxiliary cables for the stereo, license plate frame, and so on.

  • Reply SHanna |

    In our area, granted it is a large suburb outside a big city, we can have those “paint night” kits delivered. What about something like that for the family to do for her birthday, if she would enjoy that? Sounds like it will be a fun birthday with your ideas!

    • Reply Ellen |

      The website I use for paint nights are now doing virtual paint nights for like $10-15 dollars. The cool thing is that since it’s virtual you can choose a teacher in a completely different state. If you get some canvases to go with that acrylic paint, add an e-gift card to one of the virtual paint nights. 3 gifts in 1?

  • Reply Klm |

    Maybe masks (the peel off ones, not the COVID ones), and nail polish, since she’s into make up. Portable phone charger (Anker on Amazon. Pricey, but sometime they’re reduced). Colored pencils and coloring book. Knitting or cross stitch kit. Maybe if Starbucks has a reusable cup that then gets you a future discount on refills, one of those? Movie rental credit?

  • Reply Reen |

    It might be a little spendier and you might have to make it an IOU since businesses are closed but what about a gift certificate for a pedicure or hair service?

  • Reply Kili |

    That sounds like fun!
    Maybe also a letter to let her know how proud you are of her?

  • Reply revdrmd |

    You say she is crafty, so maybe a gift card to a craft store so she can order some crafting items online or for pick up by the store.

  • Reply Gwendolyn Blakiston |

    Maybe a make your own candle/soap/bathbomb kit?
    Clothes-maybe some cute leggings/yoga pants/sweats/pj pants?
    Cake decorating supplies (piping bags and such) if she is into cakes.

So, what do you think ?