I was talking to my girlfriend the other day and she was telling me how she knew someone who was planning a child's birthday party. This person was by no means a wealthy person but planned on spending upwards of $2,000 on the birthday party, complete with a Jump House and all.
I would probably be considered by most to be a wealthy person but I have rarely in my life spent $2,000 on any single thing or event. I have bought my car, and paid for my Lasik surgery, but that's about it. I have had some huge birthday parties myself, with enough alcohol to supply an army, but have never come close to spending that much on a party.
What sense does it make to spend that much money on a child's birthday? What does that teach the child? The problem that most people have is not that they don't make enough money, it is that they spend too much. Even if they made more money, these people would find a way to spend it. They see what the Jonses have and they want it too, even if they can't afford it. (chances are the Jonses can't afford it either). They want their child to "have everything they never did" so they shower gifts and parties on them when the more prudent thing to do would be to save the money. Kids learn by watching their parents and it is a shame that the thing most American's teach their kids is that spending beyond your means is the thing to do.