Weekend Reading: Kids Birthday Edition

At least once a month for the past few years our kids have attended (or have been invited to) a birthday party where the host parents rent out a facility for the kids to run around and then move to a ‘party room’ to open presents and eat birthday cake. For years we resisted this growing trend, as the cost to rent a facility such as a gymnastics centre, trampoline park, or other play centre, seemed outrageous – ranging anywhere from $200 to $450!

Anyway, faced with the thought of having 10 kids over to our house, coming up with an afternoon of activities, and cleaning up afterwards, this year we caved and rented a gymnastics facility for our daughter’s eighth birthday. The total cost was $185 and included one-hour of gymnastics activities in the gym (led and supervised by a gymnastics coach) and one-hour in the party room. We spent another $60 on snacks, cake, decorations, and party favours. The facility had a fridge and microwave, and the staff cleaned up afterwards.

Of course, now expectations have been set and so our youngest daughter, who turns five next month, already has some ideas on where she’d like to have her big party!

One idea suggested by a parent was to hold the party at McDonald’s. Kids love the Golden Arches and there’s no cost to rent the space – you just need to let them know how many people are in your group and they’ll reserve tables and make sure your group has priority at the play centre. A Happy Meal only costs $3, so you could have 10 kids there and spend $30. Not a bad idea!

Is the ‘big birthday party’ a new trend or am I conveniently forgetting all those times I went to Chuck E. Cheese’s as a kid?

Kids Birthday Party Edition

This Week’s Recap:

On Monday I wrote about a brain-dead easy solution to start investing.

On Tuesday I had the chance to share the details of how CDIC insurance would protect your deposits if Home Capital were to go bankrupt.

On Wednesday Marie explained the importance of having an accurate Know Your Client (KYC) form on file.

And on Friday Marie looked at the pitfalls of naming your children co-executors.

Weekend Reading:

First up, a sad week for investor advocates as most provincial regulators have abandoned a plan to introduce a best interest standard for advisors.

Ontario and New Brunswick, however, will continue to push for a best-interest standard, or fiduciary duty of care:

“We have been clear all along that we support a best-interest standard and are prepared to demonstrate leadership here. It’s what investors expect and deserve,” said OSC vice-chair Grant Vingoe.

Canada’s big six banks saw their ratings downgraded by Moody’s this week, citing concerns that growing household debt levels and runaway housing prices may leave the banks vulnerable to losses in the face of a housing crash.

Speaking of housing, Garry Marr reports that the ‘spillover effect’ is driving up house prices across the Vancouver region and even into the interior of B.C.

An interesting article about the war for control of the Home Capital story, with a look at famous short-seller Marc Cohodes and his relentless drive to expose the alternative mortgage lender as a fraud.

Equifax Canada has a better way for lenders to verify income and prevent would-be homebuyers (and brokers) from falsifying their documents:

Prices are cheap compared to Vancouver and Toronto – Is Calgary the next hot spot for foreign buyers?

Housing has become Canada’s economic engine and with that in mind here’s a sobering look at how homeownership became the engine of American inequality.

Air Canada announced plans to launch its own loyalty program once its agreement with Aeroplan expires in June, 2020.

Shares in Aimia, Aeroplan’s parent company, plunged almost 63 percent after the announcement Thursday.

Switching gears to investing and retirement, here’s a TFSA strategy in need of diversification.

Dan Bortolotti continues answering your questions about bonds. This week’s podcast looks at whether you should even hold bonds at all, or wait for higher yields.

Jason Heath explains how to get the most out of the capital gains exemption.

Michael James shares his thoughts about Fintech in Canada:

“The best way to make money fast in fintech is to attract as many customers as possible and then sell the company to one of the big banks. Not all fintech companies have this plan, but many do.”

Tom Feigs looks at ways to reduce taxable income in retirement.

This reader thinks her brother will keep everything from their parents’ will. What to do if you don’t trust the executor of the will.

Rob Carrick on how millennials could end up paying the bills for baby boomers.

This CBC article says that care of aging parents costs Canadians an estimated $33 billion annually.

Erin Lowry with an inspiring tale on how she went from making $23k to $100k in four years.

One way to do that is to earn extra income outside of your day job and so finally we have Des Odjick explaining exactly how to track your side hustle income.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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  1. Drew on May 13, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    We had my daughters birthday party today at an outside park with a firepits and smores. Facility costs = zero

    • Echo on May 13, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Drew, that sounds awesome!

    • Stephanie on May 14, 2017 at 10:35 am

      We’ve rented camping spots and had “camping” themed parties, with scavenger hunts as additional entertainment. Also school gyms (nominal fee) and done the “sports” theme with water bottles filled with candy as the dreaded goody bag.

  2. Tom on May 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

    I think that they have gotten bigger, when i was young having a birthday cake at home with no guests was as good as it got.
    My kids i would have a few over for cake and ice cream,
    My grandkids are having 20 kids in a facility (not always though)

  3. Juan on May 14, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I’m flabbergasted that you would suggest bringing children to eat at McDonald’s. Very unhealthy! Please read: https://goo.gl/GZqn4O

    • Robert Gignac on May 16, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Give it a rest Juan – Robb wasn’t suggesting making McDonald’s a weekly event. If you think that a birthday party visit is going to warp your childs life then simply don’t let them go…

      • Echo on May 16, 2017 at 10:32 am

        Thanks Robert! Yeah, this is not a lifestyle – it’s a birthday party.

  4. JohnnyStash on May 15, 2017 at 6:18 am

    When my kids were 5, I asked them if they wanted a big birthday like the rest of their friends (they were going to one every other month) or cash. They asked “how much”, so I offered half of what it would cost for a big party ($300/2)= $150. They took the cash….Kids are young teens now and have very healthy savings accounts, not just because of the cash in lieu of parties, but they actually understand they value of a buck.

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