Do you want to treat yourself on your birthday? If so, you can, even if you’re trying to stick to a budget. In fact, there are many ways to enjoy your birthday without negatively affecting your financial goals.

Host a Potluck-Style Birthday Party

Host a potluck style birthday party and ask your friends to contribute their favorite food, treats, or booze. You can contribute a main dish, create a playlist, and even make a signature drink to share with your friends.

If you want a more formal affair, consider hosting a dinner party at your home with just a few close friends. There’s no need to spend hundreds at a fine-dining establishment when you can enjoy a similar in-home experience for a fraction of the cost.

Enjoy a Nice Meal for Free

Jot down your favorite restaurants and call or look online to see if they offer free meals or steep discounts to customers who dine on their birthday. This practice is very common, whether the restaurant offers casual or fine dining, but you have to sign up for their mailing list or join their “exclusive club” to take advantage.

And don’t forget the dessert. If your guests request the birthday song, a group of servers will more than likely parade out with some sort of ice cream or cake. But, you don’t have to order at lunch or dinner; the local ice cream parlor may have you covered with a free cone on your special day.

Hit the Road 

Put gas in your car, pack a few items, and hit the road. Of course, you’ll want to map this brief excursion before departure, but you can enjoy a quick getaway on the cheap. Search for nearby attractions and pick one to see for yourself. Don’t forget, you can book a stay at an Airbnb for the night too.

Relax (and do absolutely nothing!)

Not in the mood for a road trip? If you’ve been working a lot, chances are you need lots of rest and relaxation. So, select your favorite show or movies from Netflix to binge-watch, order in, and do absolutely nothing! You’ll end the day refreshed and rejuvenated. Or, you can grab a bite to eat for breakfast, visit a local attraction you’ve been wanting to see, and take it easy for the remainder of the day.

Find Free Entertainment 

How does a free live band performance, comedy show, festival, or carnival sound? If you take a look at the list of upcoming events in your town, you’ll find free or low-cost entertainment. Select one to attend and invite a few of your friends to come along. 

You can also plan to have lunch at a nearby restaurant to keep costs low. Be sure to call around before the event to scope out the deals. Maybe you’ll find a place that offers free birthday meals or irresistible drink specials?

Pamper Yourself With an Expensive or Free Spa Treatment

Thinking a spa day would be nice but don’t quite have the funds to cover the tab? The good news is you can still pamper yourself on your birthday by visiting a beauty school. Many offer facials, manicures, and pedicures at rock bottom prices. And if you want to change your look, they can cut and color your hair as well.

Word of caution: spots fill up fast at beauty schools, so call and make an appointment for services well in advance. When booking, inquire about their specials as your birthday may fall on a day where they’re offering a discounted service you want to take advantage of.

You could also have a spa night in your home using DIY recipes! Invite your friends to bring their favorite wine and snacks, decide on a few movies to watch, and have a fun and relaxing time.

Take An Art Class

Thanks to the recent emergence of paint and wine chains throughout the US, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding an art class. Even better, you won’t spend a fortune or leave empty-handed.

Bonus Tip: Get All the Freebies You Can! 

There are far too many birthday freebies to list here, but here are some that you may not want to miss out on: 

  • Auntie Anne’s: free birthday pretzel when you register on their mobile app
  • Baskin-Robbins: free 2.5 oz scoop when you join the birthday club
  • Ben & Jerry’s: free coupon that is redeemable for a scoop of ice cream when you sign up for their newsletter
  • Benihana: $30.00 off your birthday meal when you fill out a questionnaire 
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: free order of snack-size wings when you register for their rewards program
  • Chili’s: free desert when you sign up for Chili’s Rewards 
  • Denny’s: free Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast
  • Dunkin Donuts: free drink when you join the DD Perks program
  • IHOP: free stack of “Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity” pancakes
  • Krispy Kreme: free donut and drink (varies by location)
  • Ruby Tuesday: free Garden Bar or burger (up to $11.00) when you register with their email club
  • Starbucks: free drink when you register for the loyalty rewards program (but a gift card is needed to enroll)
  • Steak ‘n Shake: free specialty milkshake when you register for the E-Club

Final Thoughts 

Even if you’re tight on cash, it’s still possible to spend your birthday creating valuable memories that will be etched in your mind for years to come.

What are some fun but inexpensive ways you like to celebrate your birthday?


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