Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthday on a Dime

Happy Birthday to Me!!
Holey Moley, I have turned 29 and what a fun week it has been! Every year I am always beyond impressed by all of the outpouring of love and kindness I get from my friends and family. If I could have a birthday every week, I would not need this budget at all, because let me tell you, I was a spoiled brat and I barely had to spend a thing! All my cash would be going right to the debt! 

My birthday started out the day before the big day with an amazing dinner paid for by my in-laws. When you don’t go out for dinner regularly you forget how special going out for dinner can be. You know those nights when you go out, have a nice conversation with someone you haven’t seen in a while and just shoot the $hit, it really doesn’t get any better. What adds to the delight of it all is that the service was good, the food was delicious, the company was humorous, and my bill was PAID for! Those of you who go out for dinner all the time, I challenge you to give it up for a month and only go out for a special occasion, because it really does make the evening so much more wonderful and your pocketbook will thank you tremendously! Thank you again for wonderful evening T, K & S!

On the day of my birthday I threw a potluck to celebrate with my friends and it was a blast! I never thought that I would have so many people be able to attend on a Thursday night - the turnout was fantastic. There was food galore and so many amazing food creations that I got to chow down on like a dog at a bacon convention! Seriously, I think I filled my plate (and my gullet) 3 times! And the wine, oh my, was there ever an outpouring of wine – and beers! I’m not even going to lie, when I started writing that line, I was reminded that I had some leftover wine in the fridge to drink, which is the equivalent to writer’s gold! 

Get this game! It's amazing AND affordable!
At the end of my potluck we got to play a few rounds of my favourite game, Werewolves (which I’m sure you could make for about 10 cents). Grosso modo (French for all-in-all) it was a great evening and it cost everyone about half of what they would have spent in a restaurant, and I actually got to chat with everyone who attended instead of having to yell across the table in a noisy restaurant. For me, when it comes to big birthday gatherings, parties at a home will outweigh the restaurant if you want to be a bit more social. The best part about going hosting a potluck is the leftovers! I was able to take all the leftover food with me on a 2 day camping trip to the Gatineau hills. It is such a beautiful place to go at any time of the year if you’re looking for something fun and affordable, look no further! 

That’s right folks, the party didn’t stop there! After a long week of work, my coworkers took me out for a nice lunch on them! Talk about a good way to stay on budget! Thanks to my birthday I got 3 meals gifted to me. By the time that this lunch came around, I was feeling like the luckiest boy in town. My budget was right on track and I was getting to have guilt-free meals – amazing!

When I finished up my work for the day, I was off to the big country for some camping! Now let me tell you, I hadn’t been camping in years so I didn’t know what to expect when I went out there, but I knew that as long as I approached it with the right attitude and a great group of friends that I would have a blast and sure enough, I did! The first night we got there (after a couple trips back to my friend’s place because we seemed to keep forgetting something there) we set up the tents, played some card games, and got to relax by the fire with good tunes and great company! It was an epic night of good times and we didn’t even manage to pi$$ off any of the other campers with all of our laughing! Seriously, I think we all loved every minute of it!

Seriously, The Decent is horrifying!!
On day two, the camping journey continued to impress! The weather was perfect. It was hot, but not unbearable, so we went for a little hike to go cave spelunking! I’m not going to lie, I’m a little bit afraid of enclosed spaces, not to the point where I can say I’m entirely claustrophobic, but after seeing The Decent, I am a little afraid that some kind of cave monster is going to come and eat me in the dark. Seriously, that movie scared the $hit out of me! After that it was lots of time spent at the beach, some bocce ball, swimming, splashing, throwing sand and seaweed at each other, you know; all the things a 5 year old would do.

That evening we did the traditional weenie roast and made delicious s’mores followed by the most terrific thunderstorm I have ever experienced outdoors. You couldn’t hear anything but the rain pummeling the tent. Fortunately for me, the inside of my tent stayed nice and dry, but the outside, well not so much. And there were other campers whom I’m sure had their tents washed away in a puddle of rain! It was really intense (pun intended). At the end of the whole camping trip, I only had to spend $87 for all my food, gas, lodging, and entertainment! You can’t even stay for one night at a hotel for that kind of a bargain! The best part is that all of my birthday money more than covered all of the costs which made the camping trip that much more sweet.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, you can have a birthday that is not over the top, affordable, and lots of fun on a budget! The key is to plan well in advance, have LOTS of amazing friends who love you, and learn to live with less. Now the next step is just to hit that 33% goal by the end of October, which I think I can do since I only have $952.08 of debt to pay until I get there! 

On a side tangent, I read in someone else’s blog that they like to set out all of their goals at the beginning of the year with dollar amounts and a timeline for when they want to have all the money saved up by. For me, I think that the things that I want to save for next are: A trip home for Christmas (about $1,500) followed by a new iPhone (about $750) and then a new computer (about $2,000). I realize that the Apple products are a bit over the top for someone on a budget like mine, but really, this past month has taught me that I do need to reward myself from time to time to avoid from going crazy and to reward myself for all the hard work I have done – the catch is to pay cash for it! I’m thinking of trying this out once I get to October when I am starting another year of debt repayment. What do you think? 

Thanks again to everyone for the gifts, calls, cards, hugs, messages, and love! 




  1. Hey John!

    Happy Birthday! So glad I got to share that entire weekend with you and our great friends and not get ONE personal shout-out. Although I have been mentioned in other blogs (which I love).

    Any words of wisdom to someone who has absolutely nothing to do, yet can't find the time to finish their own blog posts?

  2. Lol, I'll write an entire post about you Andy!