First Person: I Spent $100 on My Daughter’s Preschool Graduation

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According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), "Americans will spend more than $4.6 billion for graduation gifts in 2013." This year my daughter is graduating from preschool. She has a long way to go before college, or even high school, graduation. Yet, it is an achievement I want to celebrate. At the same time, I don't want to spend a lot on a preschool graduation. After all, she will likely take part in a kindergarten commencement the very next year. Thus, this time, I am keeping things simple and only spending about $100 on my daughter's graduation.

Attire

I don't believe in buying a dress and wearing it once. Thus, my daughter will be wearing a dress I bought her for Easter. She has only worn it once and it is perfect for a summer graduation. The rest of the family will be wearing dressy attire that we already own too! I will be purchasing my daughter new shoes for $24. In addition, to wearing them on graduation day, she will be able to use these all summer.

Family Party

According to graduationparty.com "$985 was the average amount spent on a graduation party." Often times, this is due to table rentals and catered food options. I will be limiting my daughter's party to family. For food, I will have an assortment of hot and cold appetizers for $15. For dessert, I will be making graduation cupcakes. After baking and frosting a batch of cupcakes, I will dress the dessert up with graduation caps: a square of chocolate for the hat and a licorice whip for the tassle. These will cost me $6 to make.

Presents

As for graduation gifts, the NRF states, "On average, consumers will spend $49 per recipient, a slight decrease from last year's $51." In addition, "an estimated 57 percent of consumer plan to give money." My daughter isn't quite old enough to appreciate $50. However, I will give her $10 for her piggy bank. In addition, I'm purchasing the Dr. Seuss favorite Oh, the Places You'll Go! I found a hardcover version for $10 and plan on having her teachers write a short note inside. When she gets older, she can look back at the notes of encouragement. In addition to my daughter's present, I will spend $20 on gift cards for her two teachers.

Decorations

I'm keeping the decorations simple. I found pink and black graduation-themed tableware. Plates, napkins, cups and utensil will cost me $10. A tablecloth will cost an additional $4. Finally, a graduation sign and balloons will set me back another $7.

When my kids get older, I'm certain the cost of parties, attire and gifts will go up. However, until that time comes, I'm keeping my graduation costs low.

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