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The Secret to Having a Lavish Birthday on the Cheap

For my birthday this year, my friends decided to show me that it doesn’t take a lot of money to feel indulged. They also showed me how quickly, and economically, one’s personal community can mobilize during a bad economy and turn a day full of costs, into something worry-free. Take a leap of faith and ask for what you want. You’d be surprised tat what they are willing to give.

Go through all your gift certificates, gift cards, and ask your friend to all contribute small amounts to give you something lavish, like a massage.

Beating the Birthday Blues
Having a birthday as an adult isn’t quite like when you’re seven. If you share a bank account with a spouse or partner, you end up paying for your own gifts in the end, whether it’s an expensive dinner or a vacation. The excitement just isn’t there anymore because you’re concerned about going over your budget.

My birthday this year was the best yet. And cheap! It started with a run on the beach. Next, my friends treated me to a pedicure, something I would never pay for on my own. Then we played spa day, bringing our own sample-sized spa products to a cabana club we got in to for free, thanks to a friend’s connection, and planning ahead.

After we felt thoroughly pampered, we brought gift certificates we had for a decadent Oceanside lunch. After lunch at the country club, we took advantage of the pool, stretched out in the sun, and read magazines.

Then, we arrived at dinner at my favorite restaurant. There were dozens of cupcakes at our table from my favorite bakery. Even better, my friends had invited a group of my closest family and friends to share in the good times, and pick up a piece of the tab. At the end of dinner, my friends presented me with my gift: a new iPad paid for with donations solicited from coworkers, friends, and family.

Ask for Community Support for Celebrations
What made my birthday so special this year was that the entire day cost me nothing, and it only cost others what they felt comfortable contributing. It also took less than two weeks to plan. By pooling our community resources, I was able to do what I loved with the people I love, on the cheap.

We really aren’t alone in this economy. Even if it takes getting outside your comfort zone, asking for community support can turn a birthday, or any other celebration, from a stressful day into a day of decadence.

Originally published on