Birthday on a Budget: 3 Ways to Celebrate and Save


260374487_a0196c9ec2_zMy birthday is officially only a week away and while I?m excited, there?s really not that much left to look forward to now that I?ve over 21. 🙂

In all seriousness though, I like to celebrate my birthday with my family and close friends, but I don?t like to make too big of a deal about it. You definitely won?t find me parading around wearing a birthday girl tiara or ribbon sash.

Ever since I started living on a budget so I could work my way out of debt, I haven?t had much wiggle room in my budget for the extras in life. So I’ve used these three ways to help me celebrate holidays, like my birthday, while still sticking to my budget and sometimes even ending up ahead.

Ask for What You Need for Your Birthday

I don?t know if it?s just my family and friends or if it?s true for everyone, but I get asked by a lot of people what I want for my birthday. Instead of saying something silly, I try to think of things I need but don?t have room for in my current budget. For instance, last year I asked my brother to get me some new weightlifting gloves that I could use at Crossfit. This year I asked my parents for a [easyazon_link keywords=”gas grill” locale=”US” tag=”wisedollar-20″]new outdoor grill[/easyazon_link]?(or at least the money for part of the purchase).

Gifts like these might not seem like the most exciting things to receive, but they will help me save money in my budget and they are very practical things that I will get a lot of use out of.

Ask for What You Want

Another theory when asking for gifts is to ask for things you really want but won?t pay for yourself. Last year I asked my mom to get me a pedicure appointment for my birthday as I love getting pedicures but I no longer pay for them now that I?m on a budget. This year I was lucky enough to have a friend pay for my pedicure in honor of my birthday!

My dad and I actually happen to share a birthday (yes, the exact same day), so usually my entire immediate family goes out to dinner together to celebrate our birthdays. It’s a fun family time and is a great treat since we usually go to a nice restaurant.

Gifts for Yourself

Again, I?m not one of those over-the-top people, but I do still like to treat myself for my birthday a little bit too. This does not mean an expensive piece or jewelry or new shoes. Instead last year I treated myself to an evening off of work, a nice hot bubble bath, a glass of wine, and a book from the library. It was a great and relaxing evening which is something that I don?t always take the time to do when life is busy.

This year I?m thinking of making it a tradition by taking Friday evening off from freelance work, turning off my cell phone?s email notifications, and treating myself to a nice relaxing bubble bath again. Hopefully that doesn?t make me an old fuddy duddy. 🙂

Now that I?m on living on a strict budget, I?m definitely more appreciative of people?s gifts than I was when I could just go out and buy myself the same thing any other day of the week. Now having people pay for things like my pedicure or something I need for my house is a real blessing and a treat.


What are some ways you celebrate your birthday on a budget? What simple ways do you do to celebrate that don’t cost a lot of money? What’s the most you ever spent on yourself for your birthday?



Photo courtesy of: Scott Beale

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  1. Advance happy birthday Kayla! My birthday would be next month and I’m planning to treat treat my family for a dinner.

  2. We tend to just go out to dinner for my birthday and then come back to the house for a small cake. It’s nice to do something to recognize the special day, but nothing over the top. At this point, the long-term goal of early retirement is more important than an all-out party.

    • Kayla says:

      I’m glad to hear you still celebrate, but don’t get too crazy with it. Keeping your bigger goals in mind is a great idea!

  3. My birthday is a little over a week away!!! My hubby and I used to take each other out to dinner for our birthdays, but 9 years ago we decided to make our favorite dinners in instead. So on my birthday, my hubby cooks my favorite dinner and on his I cook dinner. It’s a cheap and great tradition that we love.

  4. I use to do my birthdays big and go on a trip every year. I haven’t gone anywhere for my birthday since I started on this debt free journey, but I don’t care what anyone thinks once I become debt free I’m gonna save up for my birthday trip every year.

    • Kayla says:

      I think that’s totally fine if you want to save up and go on a trip for your birthday each year (after you’re debt free). That’s great!

  5. My wife and I like to get each other gifts that we wouldn’t normally buy for ourselves. Usually things that are expensive but not a necessity. Because we’re normally on a tight budget these “luxury” purchases are that much more fun. This year I bought my wife a pair of Rag & Bone jeans. Not cheap by any means but it’s in my budget and she will love them for years. So really it’s a pretty frugal purchase.

    • Kayla says:

      That makes perfect sense Thomas! I’m glad you and your wife treat each other with those purchases, but only for special occasions. I decided to ask mostly for things that I wouldn’t buy myself, like a pedicure, or things that I need to get but don’t have the money saved up for, like a new BBQ grill.

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