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Happy Birthday on the Cheap!

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Happy birthday, Hubs!

Hubs’ birthday was earlier this week and between the recently broken A/C and all of our general debt, we’ve really gotten re-committed to spending less and doing away with all excess. It also helps that we’re getting older and probably just generally not caring about birthdays as much. But even so, I wanted to do something to help hubs’ feel special and recognize his important day without spending a bunch of money. I think we got a nice little mix of both.

Leading up to his birthday, I’d been working with the girls on making home-made gifts. They’re very into crafts so they have been crafting all kinds of stuff from a birthday banner to a big poster decorated with glitter and pictures. Hubs was working early in the morning on his bday, so when I woke the girls up we immediately set out to decorate the house, setting up all the sweet crafts the girls had been working on. When hubs’ got home from his morning w0rk, he was surprised and touched by the thoughtful gifts. The girls are now 6 and they’re just a great age for celebrating birthdays – they showered their Dad with big birthday hugs and kisses and lots of extra love and attention!

That afternoon after school (while hubs was back at work), the girls and I made a homemade birthday cake. When hubs got home, we took him out to dinner. This was our one birthday “splurge,” and we just went to a cheap burger place, so the entire dinner for four was under $40. We came home to sing Happy Birthday and have cake and just generally enjoyed being together.

The craft supplies were all things we had on hand, aside from the poster board (which was a “whopping” $1). We didn’t do any crazy extravagant gifts, just the homemade gifts from the girls, a heart-felt card, and lots of fun birthday decorations the girls made to hang around the house. Hubs said his best gift of all was being showered in hugs and kisses in the morning as soon as he walked in from work. We heard the garage door open as he was getting home and the girls ran and jumped into his arms practically as he walked through the door. It was a pretty precious thing to witness. Girls love their Daddy!

The best part, financially speaking, was the low cost of the entire endeavor. We really went for heart-felt more than fancy. And I think we knocked it out of the park in that regard.

How do you (and/or your spouse) celebrate birthdays for each other? Are you more likely to do fancy gifts or homemade gifts? How do you save money on birthdays while still acknowledging and celebrating the individual?

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16 Comments

  • Reply Been There Done That |

    Sweet! That will be a memorable birthday, I’m sure. I once gave my son-in-law a pan of my homemade lasagna for his birthday, and he said it was the best gift ever.

    • Reply Jessica |

      I think the last one was April? This has turned into a life blog and nothing about debt at all. I am still rooting for you, Ashley but it appears you are avoiding

      • Reply Guest |

        I agree as well. It seems that you are once again a 2 income family but we have not heared anything on how this impacts family income and whether you are now able to break even on your monthly budget.
        I find it a pity that you were giving detailed numbers when you were very succesfull and are avoiding to provide any details now that things aren t going as smooth as before. It would be much more inspirational if you could share both your successes and roadblocks.
        Still rooting for you big time but kind of disappointed on the avoidance behaviour (are you aware of this yourself?)..

  • Reply OneFamily |

    I’m sure that will be his best birthday ever 🙂 I gave my FIL a loaf of homemade banana bread one year and then that’s all he wanted each year, LOL

  • Reply Cheryl |

    My question is why post, ask the readers what they think and both Ashley and Hope ignore and really don’t address the questions.

    • Reply Anonymous |

      True. I don’t want to hear about used couches and birthday parties. Time to get back to the nitty-gritty, ladies. To refresh your memories–this blog is about slapping down debt.

      • Reply Kate |

        I don’t understand why we are all jumping on Hope – she gave us a debt update less than two weeks ago and has posted a budget with numbers recently.

  • Reply Janie B. |

    I think that we are fortunate that Ashley (and Hope!) takes the time to post anything, given how very busy she is living her daily life and given the amount of negativity that has been heaped on her lately!

  • Reply Been There Done That |

    I think that Ashley and Hope can be as transparent as they choose to be, but if they are keeping financial and debt aspects private, then why I am reading Blogging Away Debt?

  • Reply Reece |

    I like the personal updates; they give context to a lot of the numbers and financial decisions. I just wish there were more numbers updates!

    • Reply Laura |

      That is how I feel too. I would love to see regular monthly spending and debt updates in addition to the personal posts. That would help keep the bloggers accountable to themselves too, if they had to face their debt and spending numbers every month.

  • Reply Jay |

    Sadly, I would have to agree that this blog has become more about interesting ways to save money here or there on parties or get a free used couch. Hope’s budget is more or less a one month summary of her spending, its incomplete and it doesn’t balance. They probably don’t post finances because they are going in reverse and would hear a lot of sh/t from the responses. But it is what it is, and that’s how you grow and correct it. I’m rooting for Ashley. I don’t think Hope has any intention of getting out of debt, she just wants to live her life the way she wants and hope things work out financially.

  • Reply payday loans |

    Sounds like a memorable birthday. I think most of us remember occasions and fun times once we grow up, not expensive gifts that we replace anyway.

  • Reply Nicole |

    Thank you for sharing these personal updates Ashley! And thank you for continuing to post here at all! Opening yourself up and facing all the feedback has to be difficult. I appreciate the personal updates as it shows the human and lives and emotions behind the numbers, not just robotic finances. I’ve read here from the very beginning, and Tricia may have been more consistent with numbers posts, but she also posted a lot about her life and money saving efforts.

    While a frugal birthday won’t get you out of debt or balance your budget, it does show the right mindset and dedication. I am so frustrated by people who feel we need to spend a bunch of money just because of a date on the calendar (and with no idea what the person even wants). Or for a million other reasons…a lot of people just want to throw money at any situation. There are so many better and more personal ways to show love and appreciation, as you did.

    You’ve been at this debt thing a long time, and have quite a while to go. Life is always moving. As you said, your girls are 6 (eek! how does that happen?! 😉 ) Keep enjoying these special moments. If you can do it the frugal way you did here, even better.

So, what do you think ?