A Frugal, Simple, and Nice Romantic Paleo Birthday Celebration

Mike and I typically go out on two dates a year- one for our anniversary, and one for our joint birthday. Not counting the babysitter (if we don't manage to arrange a babysitting swap) we usually end up spending $50 on the meal, and that is without getting desserts, appetizers, etc. Just the meal itself.

Yesterday Mike and I had our birthday- his 30th and my 28th, and unfortunately, Mike had to stay late at work, so a date wasn't in the picture. We also didn't purchase birthday gifts for each other since we've had enough expenses lately what with the wedding and all.

So, I decided to make the best of it, and make a nice birthday dinner at home, a stay at home date.

Mike's favorite food in the whole world is ravioli in cream sauce, and I flirted with the idea of making some, but that would have entailed grinding flour, making the pasta, etc- a ton of work- so that it could be gluten free and I'd be able to eat it also.

So I nixed that idea, and decided to spend a little more, to make a fancy meal that didn't take a lot of prep work, so that I could also enjoy my birthday meal and not work so hard to make it. Almost like going out to eat but not quite. Additionally, one of the things Mike appreciates most is a clean house, and I've been a little lazy lately and not keeping it clean to the standard both Mike and I appreciate. While I appreciate the clean and love how the house looks when it is clean, Mike really needs it for his sanity, and I knew that making a fancy dinner with a messy house would be completely missing the point. So I devoted the time to get the place spotless, or as near to spotless as I could manage while home with 4 kids, and made this nice dinner that was simple to make.

What I bought- steaks (a 4 pack, used 2 and put the rest in the freezer for another time), fresh mushrooms, basil, mango juice, a bubbly wine, and strawberries!!! It was the first time I've seen strawberries since they came into season, and while they weren't so cheap, it was a nice way to add a dessert that would be fancy and something I could eat, without all the work.

I marinated the steaks bulgogi style (Korean BBQ- coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, jaggery syrup, sesame oil), baked some sweet potatoes I had at home already, made a mushroom gravy, cooked up some foraged garland chrysanthemums Korean style as well (onion, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, hot peppers, and cashews)- yes, I included something foraged into our romantic fancy dinner. So typical me, haha. Last but not least I made a tomato basil salad, using tomatoes I already had in the house.
I set the table for two, using our nicer dishes and serving dishes, put on some romantic (cheesy) 90s music to set the mood. We popped the cork on the wine, then sat down to celebrate.

The meal was truly enjoyed by both of us, and we both appreciated the super clean house.

For dessert, we had strawberries dipped in melted chocolate. It wasn't exactly fondue, but I melted some chocolate chips with coconut oil in an ad hoc double boiler made with a pretty bowl in a wider pot filled with water, then brought it to the table for dipping.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a movie together. A nice evening! Spent 30 dollars for the evening, but worth it once or twice a year, and still cheaper than a date out.

Now as for gifts, so I said we didn't buy any? Well, timing worked out perfectly, and the new bedset I ordered for our bedroom matching our new color scheme (instead of the mismatched hand me down old and ratty stuff we had until now) arrived today! So that felt like a gift! (I still plan on ordering this orange and grey duvet cover and rust orange throw from here- except the price to us is 27 dollars instead of the 48 dollars it would be to the US.) It feels so nice to have a bedroom with the color scheme I like as well!

Oh, and in honor of the new bed set and our birthdays, I did some major tidying and decluttering in the bedroom as well, so it overall looks better, not just because of the new sheets.

And last but not least- my new fuzzy warm and delicious slippers from Aliexpress arrived yesterday as well, so that also was perfect timing and felt like a gift.

Was that the most frugal birthday celebration ever?
Was it frugal anyhow?
Because frugal, according to my definition, means getting the most for your money, saving money on things that are not important to you so you can spend more on the things that are. And because we had this nice dinner at home instead of out at a restaurant, it cost a fraction of the cost, and it worked with our schedule.

And it was all paleo to boot, something I couldn't easily do at a restaurant!

How do you celebrate birthdays in your relationship? Do you do stay at home dates, and if so, what do you do? Or do you go out on dates, and if so, how much do you end up spending?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

  1. I don't think there's anything wrong with splurging on birthdays, holidays, vacations, etc. Besides, making a $5 homemade dessert that Hubs likes- though expensive compared to normal homemade desserts- is a whole lot cheaper than going to a restaurant and paying $12 for both of us to get a piece of dessert. Also, being frugal on a regular basis is what allows us to spend more on occasion without hurting financially. What you do every day is more important than what you do once a month or in your case, once or twice a year. :)

  2. When we are being careful with money, I usually make the Birthday person's favorite foods all day at home. It's not the most expensive, it's what THEY LOVE to eat, so it makes the whole day incredibly special. Cooking can be pretty cheap, especially if also makes some tasty treats like cookies or scones, etc. So depending on the person, it might be french toast or orange rolls, eggs, bacon, and fruit for breakfast, lunch a special ramen or sandwich, and their favorite home-cooked meal for dinner!

  3. Where were your kids?

    1. Unfortunately/fortunately Mike came home from work really late that night, so by the time we had our dinner the kids were long asleep in bed.

  4. Birthdays in our house have become "your day" which translates into whatever you want within reason/budget/time. For me that means playing a stupid Facebook game all day uninterrupted cos that's what I have come to accept as fun since my spouse refused to work and support the household for nearly 10 years. He's since gotten a job but doesn't make much $$ so I still don't expect anything as far as gifts go or even dinner out. The level of disappointment has gone off the radar and never returned so I 'expect' nothing. Not even a card. Sad huh? It's a reality I'm willing to live with, probably need my head checked.

    I don't like eating out unless I can see them prepare my food since most restaurant kitchens at fancy places are disgustingly dirty compared to fast food. Amazing what a restaurant will hide from the public while charging $$$ for a plate of food, but they do.

    A perfect birthday would be a trip to a art museum, dinner at Joe's Crab Shack (mahi-mahi) and an actual gift that I didn't have to buy myself.

Previous Post Next Post