Sam is nearing his nine month mark and Jeanine is already thinking about his first birthday party. Based on this, I can tell she’s going to be the better mommy when it comes to holidays and milestones like the first day of kindergarten or losing a tooth. Fairy, I’m not.

If it were up to me, we’d be doing it on the cheap and without much fuss… after all, he’s not going to remember any of it, so as long as we have a couple of key photographs, he won’t look back and say we were being chinchy.

Let’s be honest, the first birthday party is more for the parents. So what’s the right amount to spend? Babycenter reports and suggests:

According to our poll of more than 5,000 parents, the amount spent on a baby’s first birthday party is all over the map, from less than $50 to more than $500. A majority — 61 percent — of parents spent $200 or less, 25 percent spent between $200 and $500, and 11 percent dished out more than $500.

The amount you spend is up to you, and depends on what kind of party you want to have for your child. Keep in mind that food is the main thing that drives costs up, followed by decorations and the cake. Don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford — small is beautiful at this age!

That’s right small is beautiful. Less is more. Here are ten ways to save money when throwing that first birthday party which includes: staying close to home, shaving your guest list and sticking to simple foods. I remember when Jennifer wrote about her plans for Baby N’s first birthday and she did it for fewer than 300 bucks. I also love how she handled the gift question:

Family members will probably consult my mother, who knows N’s size and our values all too well! I also told her that if anyone asks, N has her own bank account, so checks can be made out to her. I hope that’s not too tacky, but we’d rather put money in her college fund than get another too-small overpriced baby product. And hey, they asked!

Well spoken. I’d rather put money in his college fund than get more stuff. I’m still amazed at how much a little baby can accumulate in less than a year.

Anyway, I’d love to hear the parents weigh in on this one. What’s the right amount to spend and how did you stick to the budget? Comments welcomed below.

Photo credit: stock.xchng.