'Fiver' birthday parties replace gifts with $5: Is this genius or insulting?

WATCH: What are "fiver" birthday parties and why are they controversial?

It may be insulting, but it could also be an easy way to save money.

Fiver birthday parties, which have been trending for a few years now, aim to help party-goers save money throughout the year. The concept is simple: instead of registering for gifts or expecting birthday presents at a child’s party, guests are told to bring $5 for one big present (or savings) at the end.

In June, Canadian mom and blogger Sarah Schultz told Today.com she heard about fiver parties two years ago when one of her sons brought home a party invitation asking for $5 as a gift.

READ MORE: The new norm? Registries for children’s birthday parties

“I was an instant fan,” she told the site. “Birthday parties can be so expensive — spending $20 on a gift — which really limits the amount of birthday parties I let our kids attend.”

The savings itself are remarkable. If a parent spends about $25 on presents per party, you could be out $200 if you attend eight children’s birthday parties in the year. Bringing $5 to each party means potentially spending less than $50 a year.

Is it rude to ask for money?

But CafeMom noted some parents think the idea was rude — people shouldn’t ask for money as a gift, no matter what the amount is.

PopSugar reported author Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, said before a parent plans a fiver party, they should ask the birthday kid for permission first.

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“Not every party they go to for their friends and classmates will be a fiver party, they might want a party in which they get a bunch of little toys and gifts from friends,” the site noted.

“If you’re considering a fiver party for your child, chat with them first about the benefits of being able to save up for one or two things they really want, or an experience, and let them approve the idea. If they do, it sounds like you’ll all be pleasantly surprised with how it turns out.”

Birthday parties are expensive

Besides attending children’s birthday parties, throwing parties is also getting more and more expensive. Previously speaking with Global News, mom-of-three Erin Spooner said she spent up to $1,600 hosting her sons’ birthdays and attending their friends’ celebrations in 2016.

Some parents go to kid-friendly venues or “destination parties,” but these can also be costly. Vancouver mom Alexandra Samuel previously told Global News a destination party can cost up to $250 to $300. But having a DIY party isn’t for everyone either.

“The three parties where I took a DIY approach instead were way more work so I consider that $300 to be well worth it in terms of my time saved,” Samuel said. “Beyond that cost, it’s never more than $50 for a cake and a fruit plate.”

READ MORE: Parents explore low-cost, low-stress birthday parties

Planning a low-cost birthday party for kids

If you and your child are comfortable with a fiver party, make sure you keep the directions clear on the invite. And if family members or close friends still want to bring boxed gifts, keep this as an option as well.

According the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan, other ways to plan a low-cost child’s birthday include using digital invites rather than paper ones (this is also better for the environment), finding group deals for daytime activities like the zoo, pool or movies, and sledding or skating at an outdoor public space.

You can also skip loot bags and replace it with a scavenger hunt instead or making some of the menu at home (pre-made fruit and veggie trays) and ordering in pizza.

— with files from Laurel Gregory

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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