The 16th birthday is a milestone birthday. Most 16-year-olds are in high school, are just old enough to legally drive a car and yearn for independence. Some 16th birthday parties and gifts are luxurious and expensive. Conserve money and make your teenager happy by providing fun, thoughtful activities for a 16th birthday celebration.
For a 16-year-old who has a driver's license and has demonstrated good judgment and safe driving skills, consider offering her use of the family car for a set amount of time. Select the weekend immediately after or during her birthday. Allow her to drop you off for your errands and activities and if she has shown she is responsible, allow her to drive alone or with friends. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes the efforts of the University of Iowa to increase parental involvement in teaching driving and safety rules to newly licensed teenagers. Use alone time with the teenager in the car to assess her ability to handle more responsibility and independence with the car. Allowing use of the car for the weekend gives the 16-year-old the freedom she desires and costs no extra money beyond gas and regular maintenance.
Many 16-year-olds own electronic gadgets such as "smart" phones, video game systems, laptop computers and digital music players. As an inexpensive way to acknowledge your 16-year-old's birthday, offer accessories and other small upgrades for his various electronic toys. Companies like Skinit offer thousands of designs and custom patterns for stickers to place on a wide variety of items including e-book readers, cell phones and gaming consoles. Skins cost as little as £9.70 for small devices such as MP3 players. The skins allow the 16-year-old to express himself through colours and graphics. Another way to provide an inexpensive gadget upgrade is to purchase additional minutes of talk time, text messages or ring tones for the teenager's phone.
Instead of hosting a potentially loud or expensive house party, offer your 16-year-old a movie night at home with friends. Purchase an evening's worth of your teenager's favourite movies. Offer refreshments like those served at the movie theatres like popcorn and nachos. Place pillows on the floor and dim the lights for a more comfortable move-viewing experience. Allow the teens to watch the movies alone. Peek in on the teenagers on occasion if necessary. Companies such as Netflix offer a virtual unlimited amount of movie rentals per month for a fee of £5.80. Certain televisions can link to Netflix for instant return and viewing of movies.