This past weekend was my boyfriend’s birthday. The big 2-5! We, along with another friend, drove three hours to Houston to spend Friday night and Saturday day. One of my roommates/bestie recently moved there for a new job. She was a friend of my boyfriend before we began dating and actually introduced us, so it felt right to spend his birthday with her. It was a wonderful trip! I got to spend time with a few of the people I love most in the world and the weather here in Texas has been beautiful. It was 70 degrees all weekend long- perfect for a jaunt over to east Texas. (Also 70 degrees in January blows my mind!)
The first thing to know about me is that I love birthdays. I really do. They are a random cause for fun and a day to celebrate either yourself or someone you love. In my house, my housemates and I have a tradition of treating the birthday gal/guy like they’re a flipping Pharaoh. The general rule is “On your birthday you don’t cook your own food, buy your own drinks or drive your own car.” We have a pattern of a an extravagant birthday breakfast cooked by the roommates, a nice dinner out, and drinks at our favorite dive bar.
Last year my birthday breakfast was challah french toast with homemade whip cream. Two years ago I was the lucky recipient of chocolate chip banana bread french toast. (I love french toast, obviously.) I wanted to treat my boyfriend to my house’s level of birthday indulgence this year. I really wanted to do everything in my power to make his quarter century birthday a memorable one! A road trip to Houston for a big night out, a birthday breakfast Saturday morning and a day exploring another city with good friends sounded just about right.
Of course, I wanted to do all these fabulous things on the cheap! A dinner out, gas, birthday drinks, birthday breakfast- they all add up! I decided to allocate $50 to birthday spending. I feel that was enough for me to spoil him and to pay for myself when out, as long as I was reasonable. How did I do?
$11.55 for gas tank
$11.20 for two drinks (Each of my friends treated my boyfriend to a drink each. Sweet and a score for me!)
$30.32 for breakfast out (2 people)
Total: $53.07 Goal (pretty much) achieved!
My friend who lives in Houston lives in a fantastic neighborhood. Once there we were able to walk to the two bars we hit up Friday night, saving on gas money and eliminating the need for a DD! We were also able to walk to a breakfast place Saturday morning and to a museum I had wanted to check out. The only driving we did was to dinner Friday night and to and from Houston. Even though gas is ridiculously cheap right now ($1.76 a gallon in Austin!) I enjoy walking, particularly when drinking or eating big meals. We also:
-Slept at a friends house for free, saving us housing expenses
-The Austin trio was treated to a Vietnamese dinner by our Houston friend. So kind! #bestiesforever
-I ordered water with my dinner, saving a beverage expense
-Are all moderate drinkers. We each had 2-3 drinks apiece.
-Went to a free museum, saving entrance fees
-My boyfriend plays guitar and the friend we stayed with plays violin. They played for us for about an hour- free and amazing entertainment!
I really enjoyed the weekend away. Getting out of Austin is always refreshing. Seeing my best friend and her new place was wonderful. The weather was perfect and it felt great to spend some time outside, walking around a new place. I hadn’t been to a museum in forever, so I felt very cultured this weekend. 😉 The boyfriend had a good time too. I hope to do more small and inexpensive trips like this throughout the year. Spending $50 for a fantastic time is an expense I am happy to shell out for.
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.
3 Replies to “Budgeting for Birthdays”
I read your post and thought “That is an amazingly cool and inexpensive trip”.I just returned from a 4 day trip to Atlanta and being able to stay with my family really makes a difference. Now, If I only knew someone that could play music and entertain us for the evening!
It was a great way to spend most of the weekend. Getting one major cost- tickets, housing or food- for free makes a huge difference in the budget!
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