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Jul 242013
 July 24, 2013  Posted by  Entertainment, Features, Hot Deals

I recently celebrated a birthday and was surprised by how much I was able to do for very little money. I thought I’d share with you what I did and offer some tips on ways to plan a great birthday on the cheap.

My birthday was on a Saturday, but I wanted to get an early start, so I started the celebration on Friday night with a minor league baseball game. I had a two-for-one coupon, so I was able to get two tickets for $12. Whether or not you have a coupon, minor league baseball tickets are inexpensive compared with those for the major leagues. And with minor league games, you’re a lot closer to the action. Parking is also often free. I got my coupon from a coupon card I had purchased for $15 early this year (I had already gotten my money’s worth long before my birthday), but you can sometimes find discounts on local deal sites like Groupon or Living Social. For a list of minor league baseball teams, click here.

On Saturday morning, I went birthday shopping, which was free for me because my husband was buying. If you don’t have a spouse who will take you shopping, this might be a good time to use those gift cards you got for your birthday or that spa certificate you bought from Travelzoo or another daily deal site.

When it was time for lunch, I went to McAlister’s Deli armed with a $5 birthday coupon the restaurant sent me via email. Many restaurants will send you birthday coupons or freebies (and other deals throughout the year) if you sign up for their email clubs, so make sure you sign up at all of your favorite restaurants.

After lunch, I went to the beach, which is always free. I know not every city has a beach, but most cities do have things you can do for free (or cheap). Here are some potential ideas:

  • Have a picnic in the park.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Attend an art walk or gallery opening.
  • See a free concert.

If you do some planning, you can also visit theme parks, go to the zoo, play golf, ski, see a movie, bowl, play video games or go to the theater free on your birthday. Check with your local businesses and attractions to see what they offer. Some places require you to join their email clubs to get the deals; others just require a valid ID.

Now, back to my birthday. For dinner, I went to one of my favorite local restaurants. My meal was free. I saw this deal on the restaurant’s sign, but there are simple ways to find similar deals. Start by asking servers at your favorite restaurants if they have any birthday deals. You can also find free birthday meals in our Get Free Stuff on Your Birthday story.

Julie Henry

Julie Henry, RN, MPA, is a freelance writer, editor, and project manager who loves the thrill of scoring a good deal. She writes a bi-weekly "On the Cheap" column for the Sun News in Myrtle Beach. In addition to writing about deals and discounts, Julie is an established medical writer. She has done work for a number of national health care organizations, including The Joint Commission, The American Academy of Family Physicians and the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine. Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, she now lives in Myrtle Beach. Julie owns and operates Kansas City on the Cheap, Myrtle Beach on the Cheap, and Charleston on the Cheap.

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