Flashback to August before either of our birthdays, my husband was flipping through channels on a TV for his work, and he stumbled upon a commercial. Celtic Thunder, his favorite band, was playing in Reno the Wednesday before his birthday. He asked me, jokingly, if we could go. Jokingly because he knows I hate Celtic music, and cover bands, and well, Celtic Thunder is basically both of those combined. Not my cup of tea. At all. Sorry, not sorry. (For those of you curious as to who these people are, here’s a link!)
Anyway, I told him, no… you have work Wednesday, plus money is tight. And we let the subject drop. Except that I didn’t actually. If they were playing in Reno, then they must have been playing somewhere closer to us as well. I found a different concert, one on Sunday when we were both free. So I went and booked good end tickets (meaning they were $65 a pop instead of $30 a pop, so not really good end, but thus is the frugal life).
Flash forward back to November, and his birthday. Since I’d secretly bought the tickets, he had no idea what we were doing in some random town in the central valley, except that we were meeting some friends to pick up a saddle for Athena. We pulled up to the restaurant that I’d oh so cleverly looked up as the “meeting point”, only to be met with shuttered windows. Whoops.
So I drove around the corner and drove to the theatre. “Uhm, honey… so we aren’t actually meeting our friends. We’re going there instead.” His reaction, priceless. No emotion. No excitement. Just a deadpan, “I hate you.” BEST. REACTION. EVER.
We walked inside, grabbed our tickets, and found our seats. The theatre was gorgeous and intimate. We sat towards the middle, but the sound quality and view was fantastic. I hadn’t been to a concert that wasn’t in some sort of amphitheatre (probably because I go to rock concerts…) and so it was a novel experience.
Since the band isn’t my cuppa tea, I’m not really sure if we got our money’s worth musically. But I will say this, anything that makes your significant other happy enough to tell you he hates you with a smile is worth it.
His bestemor (grandmother, for those of us who, like me, had no idea that was a word until I met a Norwegian) gave us $200 for our birthday (even though mine is in September. She was super cute, and was like it’s for the both of y’all since you didn’t come down on your birthday), which meant that we could buy concert memorabilia since I didn’t budget for it. Ya know, cos of frugality. It was a great surprise to the both of us. Now we have semi matching tee-shirts and the concert CD. All for the low low price of, I actually have no idea since it was birthday money. (Don’t worry, we’re using some of it on flannel sheets for the bed, because well, it’s winter and I’m cold. And the rest goes into our ROAD TRIP FUND!!!)
The whole thing was exciting. I enjoyed not having to count pennies, and having planned it way in advance so I didn’t have to fight with the budget during the holiday season. I’m super happy that we had extra money to grab concert tee-shirts (I have one from every concert I’ve been too, and when I’m too old to wear them, they’re being turned into a tee-shirt quilt) and that we could do that without any stress.
Doing something larger for birthdays fits my MO. I’ve been that way ever since I was little. And being able to do something big and fancy that my hubby enjoyed was well worth the money. He did the same for mine. It’s something that makes us happy, and while our birthdays aren’t the most frugal, we make sure that we cash roll them, and that we plan out the money we’ll be spending in advance. We used some of my tutoring money that isn’t in our strict budget (it either goes into the e-fund or road trip fund) to fund the events, and then, his birthday money to get the special trinkets from the concert.
Being smart about your priorities is just as important as maintaining a strong sense of money management. Our birthdays will always be a little more lavish, but that’s what we enjoy, and we plan for it.