By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Planning birthday parties for children can often be a challenge. Kids’ demands and peer pressure from other parents can turn even a little party into a budget buster.

3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has advice on curbing costs and teaching kids some important money lessons.

Long gone are the days of playing pin-the-tail on the donkey and having a slice of cake. These days, kids try to out-do one another, and it’s up to parents to take back control.

Party stores are packed with dozens of themes and hundreds of birthday items. But birthday blowouts can cost big bucks. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance says parents can save money before the party starts, offering this advice:

– Let children make their own invitations, or send them via email.

– Keep food and cake simple. It’s another thing you can do at home for less.

– Don’t go overboard on party favors. A fun activity can be a takeaway guests make themselves.

David Muhlbaum, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Online Editor, says, “You can spend a lot of money on party favors, but a lot of times the fun is in having the kids put together the party favors.”

One inexpensive trend: candy buffets. Julia Darrenkamp, with Party City, says, “Parents are sort of picking and choosing a few key colors of their party design, and then designing an entire candy display based on those colors.”

Kiplinger’s suggests that you skip the roller rink or the play center for a more affordable venue. Muhlbaum says, “There’s a lot of things often in your own community, from something as simple as going to the park to ice rinks.”

Including your child in the party planning can also be a learning opportunity. According to Muhlbaum, “This is a prime opportunity for you to lay out what the cost is. They may realize, maybe I’ll just settle for something else, but helping them with the dollars and cents – this is a great opportunity.”

For more advice from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance on teaching your kids good spending habits visit:

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