We have 12 (yes, 12) birthday celebrations in the coming months.

In true Smart Cookies style, we have put our heads together to make it out of high birthday season with money in the bank and our friendships still intact and we want you to do the same.

Dinners Out: This can often be the most expensive part of your night because you may end up paying for someone else’s bottle of wine when you only had one glass. How do you avoid splitting the bill evenly (without appearing cheap)? Let the waitress know that each tab is separate so when you get the bill at the end of the evening there are no surprises and no awkward moments.

Throw a Potluck: If you want to have people over to celebrate, have everyone cook their favourite dish and you’ll have quite the selection of goodies … all for a fraction of what it would have cost you if you were out for dinner. Also, set a budget for everyone so your guests don’t overspend. We suggest a budget of $15-$20 per person.

Personalize it: Rack your brain and think of three to six items your friend would love and put them in a nice little goodie bag. These items could range from magazines and gift cards to earrings and lip gloss. If it’s a bag full of favourites, how can you go wrong?

Say Cheese: For those Apple lovers out there (or friends of Apple lovers), take a closer look at all of those fabulous features your little toy has. iPhoto allows you to create your own personalized photo albums. and you have created a present that will last for years to come, all for about $35. Even better, see if a few other friends want to split the cost.

If you have questions for the Smart Cookies, email smartcookies@metronews.ca.

The Smart Cookies show you their way to financial freedom. If you want to be smart, be rich and be fabulous, you have come to the right place! Tune in Wednesday night at 9 p.m. EST/PST on the W Network. Be sure to visit smartcookies.com to get new money tips and sign up for our newsletter.

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