First of all, thank you to everyone who chimed in with frugal ideas to help celebrate my husband’s birthday. In years past what we’ve done is either put together a fancy dinner at the house, or taken everyone out to dinner. However, we are in throw-all-extra-money-at-older-son’s-summer-trip-to-Japan mode, so keeping the expenditures under control is high on our priority list.
Luckily, one of my super powers is the ability to throw together a kick-ass day of birthday goodness without breaking the bank.
I put a fair amount of thought into planning the day, and I’m pretty proud of it all. The initial plan had been to get going with our day as soon as the kids left for school, but it turned out that the district had a two-hour late start, which put our day in hyperdrive.
Here’s what we did:
I drove my husband to the Title Wave Used Bookstore, which was having a Buy-One-Get-Five-Free sale. (Yes, you read that right!) I told my husband to pick out some books for himself. He chose a coffee table book on historic bungalow-style homes, a cookbook about propane barbecuing and a book about bathroom remodeling. I chose two books to use as blog giveaways, as well as a novel that had been highly recommended. Total cost — $4.
I then told my husband I was going to take him to his favorite place in all of Portland. He was extremely confused, as we appeared to be headed towards the airport, but then the lightbulb went off and he realized we were going to Ikea. Because yes, he takes any excuse to stop in for their meatballs. Because I have an Ikea Family card, my meal was discounted, plus our after-lunch coffees were free. Total cost — $10.
At this point I gave him the choice of three different “gross motor activities.”
- Ice skating at Lloyd Mall. (My husband played hockey in high school and is a shockingly good skater.)
- Doing an urban hike in Forrest Park, which is within the Portland city limits, and would bring back good memories, as we used to do this often before we had kids.
- Hiking the Columbia Gorge Wahclella Falls trail, which I went on two years ago and have been meaning to repeat.
My husband was tempted to choose ice skating, but ultimately decided on the Gorge hike, as it would lend itself better to conversation, plus it got us out of Portland, which is just that much more fun. Unfortunately, parking was $5, but it was well worth it, as the hike is gorgeous and the weather could not have been better. (Warm, but not hot.)
Total Cost – $5
Our evening was busy with mandatory school events and kid soccer practice, so I planned a fancy, yet simple dinner. (Fettucine with clams in white wine sauce.) Unfortunately, the ingredients were a last minute New Season’s purchase, which greatly increased the price.
Total cost — $34.
After dinner, we drove downtown to pick up our older son from his school event. We stopped into Starbucks, where my husband redeemed his free birthday drink. (Green tea Frappuccino.) He got the largest size and mooch that I am, I had them give me an extra cup so we could share. I’d received a $7 Starbucks gift card from the nurses’ union, so used that to buy our older son his own Frappuccino.
Total cost — $0.
It turned out to be a great day. My husband loved just taking the entire day to hang out and do fun stuff, and he insisted that he liked his birthday books, despite their origin as used library books. The dinner could have been cheaper, but everyone scarfed it down, and it was way cheaper than a restaurant meal would have been.
Total cost for the gifts, lunch, activity, dinner and dessert was $53. Which in my book is not bad at all.
Happy birthday, hubby! May your 47th year be your best yet!
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”
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