Yesterday was my 47th birthday and I worked to figure a number of great frugal activities and treats to share with my family for my Birthday Day of Adventures. We were all very excited.
Sadly, every single one of my plans went bust.
The frugal wow-factor restaurant I had my heart set on turned out to be closed on Sundays, which meant we ended up at a random brewpub which almost made me cry. I strongly hate brewpub food, as there’s usually nothing on the menu I can’t make at home for next to nothing. I had a $5 bowl of potato bacon soup just to be spiteful. $11 hamburgers just piss me off.
We went to a movie at the wonderful historic Hollywood Theater using a coupon which brought the cost down to $15 for the four of us. I chose Birdman starring Michael Keaton. IT WAS AWFUL! Hideous jarring jazz drumming, all actors yelling their lines and competing to see who could speak the fastest and a frankly disturbing plot. Almost all the scenes were uncut with long swooping shots through hallways and stairs which was kind of nausea inducing. I went back to the film synopsis afterwards to see if I’d missed something in the description, but nope I hadn’t. People, give this pretentious Oscar-bait movie a wide berth.
We walked over to Baskin-Robbins for cones as my older son had chipped in a $10 gift certificate that had been gathering dust in his room. (All my frugal plans were within a couple block radius of one another to avoid driven all over town.) I had signed up for their birthday club the day before, but apparently I didn’t allow for enough time and hadn’t received my free cone e-mail. We paid $1.76 after the gift certificate.
We then walked over to Starbucks so I could use my free birthday coffee credit. My husband was one star away from an additional free coffee, so he got in line first and ordered a drip coffee. Unfortunately, the purchase didn’t credit immediately as it normally does. (the people there said that sometimes it takes 24 hours.) I used my credit to order the largest size peppermint mocha coffee for the kids and had them split it into two. My husband and I shared his coffee.
Then we walked over to Panera to get free treats, as I’d joined their reward program, which gave me both a free treat for joining, and a free treat for my birthday. At this point it was 5 P.M. And guess what, they too were closed!!!!!
We then drove home and chilled out for a few minutes before driving over to my mother’s house to pick my parents up for dinner. They’d offered to take us out and we’d settled on a bar-b-q restaurant that we all like. (The Lebanese restaurant I’d wanted to go to turned out to be . . . yes, you guessed it, closed on Sundays! Luckily we’d realized this ahead of time.) Dinner was lovely, although my husband hates to take financial advantage of others, so he picked up the bill.
I’m actually thinking about planning a re-do next weekend, as my husband is off from work and the entire day ended up so frustrating. But here’s the thing. I would rather attempt and fail at frugality than give up and spend without thought. Sometimes my frugality is incredibly impressive, and other times it’s one fail after another. But when you look at the big picture, I’m so much farther ahead than someone who is not even attempting to live a non-consumer life. I get to learn from my mistakes.
What is it they say, “Fall down three times, get up four?”
Yup, my birthday was definitely a learning experience. And I’m back up.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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