What is a Fiver Party and How Does it Work?

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Photo of four happy children with with their hands raised in a kids party
Text to (insert number on invitation): “Does (child) like Paw Patrol/Shopkins/other plastic junk that I really don’t want to buy but must?” (I don’t say that last bit).

Grab the item, take it to the cashier, and ask for a gift exchange receipt, just in case.

This is the routine I go through 5 or 6 times a year. And now that my eldest has started school, it’s getting more frequent.

So you’ll understand my delight when I read that fiver parties were becoming a thing.

I’ve longed for more minimalist birthday parties for a long time, anything to avoid bringing more toy clutter into our small home.

We even decided to escape to the mountains for a recent birthday to avoid the need to have a party.

This new trend might just bring me back from my fear of birthday parties.

So What Is a Fiver Party?

A fiver party is a regular birthday party, with a lesser focus on gifts. It can also be known as an ‘in lieu of gifts’ party.

The request to give money instead of gifts must be clearly stated on the party invitation.

According to Sarah from Nurse Loves Farmer, the wording could be something like this: “So-and-so is having a “fiver” party!

He wants to save up for a [insert gift here], so if you wish to send a gift, please include $5 in a card!”

You then put a $5 note into a card and that money will be pooled with the money from all the other kids to buy the birthday kid a larger gift they actually want.

Fiver Party Wording Ideas

Here are five fun and age-appropriate ways to word a party invitation for a fiver party:

  1. “Let’s celebrate [child’s name]’s birthday with a fiver party! Instead of bringing a gift, please bring $5 to contribute to a special birthday surprise!”
  2. “It’s [child’s name]’s birthday and we’re having a fiver party! Bring your $5 and join us for games, treats, and birthday fun!”
  3. “Join us for a fiver party to celebrate [child’s name]’s birthday! Bring your $5 and get ready for a day of fun, laughter, and birthday surprises!”
  4. “It’s time to party! [Child’s name] is having a fiver party and we want you to join us! Bring your $5 and let’s celebrate together!”
  5. “You’re invited to a fiver party to celebrate [child’s name]’s birthday! Instead of a gift, please bring $5 to help us create a special birthday memory for [child’s name]!”

Photo of a boy, a girl and a clown where the girl is playfully touching the nose of the clown with many colorful balloons

Why Is a Fiver Party Such a Good Idea?

So many reasons.

Saves Cash

Firstly, much as you try, you can hardly get a decent gift for $5 anywhere these days.

Setting a cash limit will save parents a bundle of cash (especially those of us with kids new to the school who get invited to EVERY single one of their classmate’s parties).

Less Junk to the Landfill

Not only is it good for the bank balance, but fiver parties will also reduce waste on packaging and junky plastic toys that end up in the landfill (or as clutter) after a short time. A win for the environment too.

Less Time Shopping

Time-saving – no longer will parents need to make a special journey to the toy store after hours or during a work lunch break because bringing your own kids to a toy store to shop for someone else is its own version of parenting hell.

Encourages Good Money Habits

The fiver party concept helps to reiterate how small sums of money can add up.

I’m trying to raise a saver and have struggled at times to show my son why we need to use a budget and how it can help us have a better life.

Pooling small amounts of money together to enable a large purchase is a great way to show what I’m trying to teach my son in real life.

A Minimalist Take on the Fiver Party

A fiver party is minimalist by design – less junk, money, and time spent.

There’s no rule saying you can’t spend the money on an experience for your child, or even donate some or all of the money to a cause your family is passionate about.

Be upfront about your intention with the birthday funds on the invitation and you’ll be dandy.

But What if We Want Them to Bring Nothing?

Well, good luck with that. I tried that for the last birthday party I hosted, clearly stating ‘No gifts required’ on the invitation. The gifts still came.

It’s a hard habit to break, and people are worried that they’ll be seen as cheap if they don’t bring anything.

A fiver party puts everyone on the same page. And it might just lead to changing unrealistic expectations in the future.

Get the conversation started by sharing articles like this one, or just bringing it up the next time you talk to your mom friends. 

What do you think? Would you try a fiver party?

Photo of three happy children lying down with confetti around them


About Emma Healey

Emma is a recognised family finance and budgeting expert and founder of Mum's Money. Her advice has been featured in Readers Digest, Yahoo Finance, Lifehacker, The Simple Dollar, MSN Money and more.