Check, Please? Stop Giving Toys at Children's Birthday Parties

Cut down the stress of picking out a gift for a 1 year old, cut a check.

We've all been there, realizing we have a small child's birthday party to attend, which is more about supporting the parents and being good friends, yet start to stress and think about when to fit into our schedules going to the store, picking out a gift, paying for the gift, and wrapping the gift. End result?  Child maybe shreds the wrapping paper at the party, looks at the gift for a second, and moves along to the next. You start to notice that the child enjoys ripping up the gift wrap more the the gifts themselves. Darn. Maybe you should have given them a box of wrapping paper instead of fretting in Target for 30 minutes looking for the "right" gift.

Then you realize how much time and energy you've just wasted. Time in the store. Time planning how to fit the store into your day. Time driving to the store. Time wrapping the awkward packaging of the gift. Time waiting to see the more-than-likely lackluster reaction to opening said gift. Oh well, maybe you'll do better at the next kid's birthday party. Oh shoot, that's next weekend! When can I get to Buy Buy Baby? 

There is a better way! Unique too. One of the few reasons we still have a checkbook in our home.

By writing a check, instead of giving a 12-month old cash, the parent(s) know what the purpose of the check based on your "for" line and if they had not thought about savings for their child, there's an added bonus that they might now! Children in the United States have more than enough toys. The first toddler birthday party I went to, we ignorantly spent $65 on a gift [it was an awesome inflatable and ready to ride thingamajig] and realized gift-giving for these parties can be quite expensive and many don't even realize how much was spent. People giving gifts want theirs to be different, in a good way. My trick of the trade: write a check!

Let's look at the math:

$20 check written when the child is one. 

$20e^(7% x 17 years) = $65.73

Not too shabby. Gift just increased by 325%

The kid and parents will appreciate that money more at 18 years old than at one. PLUS you could still put the check in gift wrap and let the toddler terrorize it.

The For Line

This is important, otherwise the parent will likely cash the check and buy their kid something, while cursing under their breathe that you gave them a check they had to deposit. Normally when thinking of this line, "529 Plan" comes to mind and I was no different a few years ago. Times are a changin' though and the price of higher education is not sustainable at it's current trajectory. Not to mention, if only there was somewhere to learn almost anything you want... oh yeah, hello, YouTube. Hello, public library. Hello, internet. Times are changing and the higher education institutes need to as well. By 2020 it is estimated that 43% of employees will be working freelancing/gig jobs compared to 6% in 1989. This is another post altogether in regards to whether this is good or bad; none the less, the mobility of positions will be different and automation is coming. Fast. Think artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, etc. The gist is that a 529 plan may not be the best idea for your offspring 5 to 10 years from now. My "for line" on a birthday check has changed to "Long Term Investments for insert name."

Hope my daughter has a 1st birthday full of checks, boxes, and wrapping paper next weekend!

*May consider updating to a Venmo or QuickPay approach in the near future


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