Bizarre new Kmart trend taking off
AUSSIE Mums are so besotted with Kmart they are even throwing their children bargain birthday parties inside the popular chain stores.
The "Kmart challenge" - where youngsters are given a certain amount of money to spend on their favourite items - has become a birthday party hit, thanks to Victorian mum Shannon Cassidy.
For her daughter Charli's recent 13th birthday, the mother of two took her teenager and four friends shopping, armed with baskets to fill and cash to burn on their Kmart haul.
"The object of the party was to spend the $30 as they wished - I did tell them to keep in mind that there were little trophies for those that bought the biggest item, savviest shopper and most items," Ms Cassidy, 41, told news.com.au
"They loved it - they had a ball.
"Charli probably chose the most wackiest things to be honest - a blow-up gold crown and a door stop for her room."
She said other purchases included stationery, drink bottles, pet products, earrings and accessories, as well as bath bombs, light boxes, picture frames, room decorations and lollies. And the best part? That everyone - not just the birthday girl - got presents to mark her special day.
"A party and a party favour rolled up into one," she laughed.
"And the beauty of Kmart is you can find so much for so little.
"Maths and budgeting was the brilliant part of the exercise, they all were busily using the pricing scanners within store, adding up and subtracting items so that they could then get other items.
"It was fantastic to see them having to use their brains.
"We live in an age where through the powers of social media, lots of people feel that to give your kids something it has to cost a lot - so I love seeing posts of famous people DYI-ing their cakes, as opposed to those who have spent thousands of dollars.
"I think everyone is budget-conscious and we are always looking for ways to save money but still provide our kids with memorable things."
Ms Cassidy shared her success story on social media, to high acclaim from fellow mums who labelled the party idea as "brilliant" and Ms Cassidy a "genius" for coming up with it. The Kmart-lover thought up the party challenge after trying to organise a unique celebration for her daughter - on a budget.
In total, the party cost her $230, which included $150 for the shopping spree, and $80 for lunch and a doughnut cake.
"Each year I hold a party for my children, trying to choose different ideas and themes - I am like all average Aussie mums who don't want to spend a fortune, so I actually make it a challenge to create memorable parties on a budget," she said.
"This year Charli had no idea what she wanted to have, so very last-minute and being school holidays with only a few friends available I came up with the Kmart Challenge.
"Parents and friends have been very supportive as they all have said in the past that my talents are wasted and I should get into event management or party planning as I love entertaining and hosting parties."