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Happy Birthday on the Cheap!


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?

Savings on the Side


Have you ever participated in a savings challenge? There are all sorts of variations. It’s a gimmick to get people saving.

I have decided that the $1,100 I will receive from my Self Lender account will be my new emergency fund. And that I am going to keep focusing on paying down debt versus going into savings mode again.

But I do want some additional savings…

Save $5s

The first thing I started doing was saving $5s. Have you heard of this one?

The first time I saw it online, the person had a shoe box full of $5 bills just stacked together. It was pretty inspiring.

While I’m not using a shoe box, I do have my change jar. I know it’s gimmicky but this works for me. I am committed to not spending any $5 bills.

As my friend and I were talking the other day, she suggested another option.

52 Week Challenge

Have you heard of the 52 week challenge? There are a number of variations. Essentially, you start at the beginning of the week, and save the number of dollars based on the week of the year.

For week 1, you save $1. For week 2, you save $2…for week 13, you sav3 $13. You get the point.

Well, she suggested doing the challenge backwards so instead of ending the year with needing to save the most money per week, right around the holidays. You start the year saving $52 and go backwards from there. Make sense?

I don’t know if I can commit to this one right now. But if you are interested, I created 52 week savings to keep me on track if I do.

Tell me what your favorite savings challenge is? I’ve got to say they definitely help keep me motivated.