28 comments

Mrs. Money Mustache Receives Many Gifts for Her Birthday

Eliminating Lady Temptations: Step 2   (see Step 1)
by Mrs. Money Mustache

 

I recently celebrated my birthday.  I turned 37.  The day started off lying in bed with my little boy, who turned his sweet face to me and gave me a morning hug and kiss and then wished me a happy birthday.  Perfect already.  Shortly thereafter, I received a call from my brother who sweetly reminded me that I am now officially in my late 30s.  Luckily, I’ve always loved birthdays and turning one year older.  I feel young, healthy, and happier than ever.  I know myself better, I feel a little bit wiser (mostly thanks to my gray hairs), and I’m learning what’s really important in life.  In the MMM family, we celebrate birthdays for at least a week, because well… why not?  Of course, the celebrating isn’t full of unwrapping and surprises, as is typical of many birthdays.  It’s about a lot more.

Over the years, I’ve heard many women complain that their spouse forgot their birthday or they didn’t receive the special necklace or diamond encrusted love ring that they were hoping for. “Where’s my $150 dinner at the fancy restaurant and my day at the spa… How could my sweetheart forget my Birthday Gift!?”

Stop doing this, ladies!  First of all, if you’re married or in a committed relationship, your financial futures are joined – so he’s spending YOUR money on the gift anyway.  Second, a gift doesn’t mean much if you have to ask for it.  Third, channel your Inner Lioness and give yourself the POWER to make your own birthday or holiday plans.  Why rely on someone else for your happiness?

I’m pretty outspoken about my birthday. If I want to receive any attention, I announce it like a countdown and if I determine that gifts are in order, I get them myself.  It’s more fun that way.  That’s how the Mother’s Day Garden Project began, as well as my annual birthday haircut.  Even the Mister decides he deserves a birthday gift from time to time.

Being married to MMM means that the gifts are different, but they are actually much, much better.  Over the last 17 years I’ve received: a big handmade wooden heart with a poem on the back, a Rock Shox suspension seat post for my mountain bike, handwritten letters and notes, a latte every single morning for the last 5+ years, equally shared parenting, garden boxes, various renovation projects done to my specifications, incredibly funny e-mails, a hike to the spot we were married every year on our wedding anniversary, and candlelit dinners (and even breakfasts!) every single day.

This year, the gifts were plentiful once again:

- waking up next to my sweet little boy’s sleeping face
- listening to my child’s awesome story of his dream within a dream
- a delicious morning cup of coffee and run (I mean an actual run, as in running) to the store to get milk just for me from MMM
- an amazing birthday breakfast from my mom (asparagus was involved)
- talking to my brother on the phone
- a luxury morning shower
- a cool after-rain walk with MMM to get my gluten-free birthday cake mix
- listening to my mom and son secretly making me a birthday cake
- a handmade birthday book and several cards from Little MM
- spending quality time at my parents’ beautiful cottage with family that we hardly ever get to see
- laying tile and chatting side by side with MMM, while Little MM enjoyed a paddleboat ride with his grandparents
- an impromptu birthday song mid-day
- looking though my baby photo albums with my dad
- sore muscles from my hardcore workout at Crossfit O-Town’s free Saturday morning class

It couldn’t have been any better.  So, if you’re expecting a birthday this year, make a list of what you’d like to do.  It could be a walk with the family, a trip to the library, time to write a list of goals, a hike with a friend, a dinner with cake at home, or a day all alone.  Start a birthday tradition.  Bake your birthday cake with your kids.  Do something that has meaning for you but doesn’t cost anything.  Or, if you’re feeling competitive, try a birthday challenge and get a group of friends or your family to partake.  At a recent extended family dinner, we discussed some great physical challenges for past and upcoming birthdays.  Excellent idea!

What do you want for your birthday?

  • Madge August 3, 2011, 7:49 am

    i love the gifts you got! in 2010 my fiancee and i visited his family in scotland around christmas/my birthday (5 days apart) and by far the best gift was hanging around having a few drinks and laughing till our faces hurt. ooh, and the roast potatoes done up in duck fat weren’t bad either.

    this year i think i’d like a little party at home. friends, dinner, wine, hilarity. hmm, i’m sensing a theme here …

    Reply
  • Oskar August 3, 2011, 8:44 am

    I really liked this post! Good to hear from the mrs as well.

    I think the important part is to make the day special. Some times that can cost some money (fancy dinner, gift) and sometimes it costs little or nothing (at home movie night, home cooked snackfoods, a bottle of wine).

    Its important that birthdays are days a little different than other days, so you get a memory to hold on to. After the birthday you should say…all my days are very good but this one was great!!!

    Reply
  • Des August 3, 2011, 10:13 am

    Hmm…I must run in a different sort of social circle – I don’t know any lady that would complain about not getting a diamond-encrusted whose-y-whats-it, and I don’t know any guys that forgot their SOs birthday. Does this really happen, or is it just a straw man stereotype?

    For our birthdays, DH and I have “me” days, and it is always so nice. So, for mine I got to sleep in while he tended to the farm animals (my chore), he cooked breakfast, and cleaned it up. I got to pick what we ate for each meal, and what we watched at night. No need for gifts – a day off from responsibility is way better.

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache August 4, 2011, 11:14 am

      Lucky you!

      I’ve heard almost every woman I know complain about a missed birthday or not getting flowers for Valentines day, or the like. In fact, I used to complain about such things myself (not about the size of a gift, but the forgetting of a particular day). So, yes, it does really happen — often.

      I’ve also heard many women gloat of having received wonderful gifts and on Mother’s Day, facebook was inundated with pictures of all kinds of jewelry that was received by very deserving mothers.

      I agree that “me” days are the best kind of present. There are many ways to make a day special, particularly if the recipient has the right perspective!

      Reply
  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple August 3, 2011, 11:25 am

    I celebrated my 41st birthday camping at the Grand Canyon with my family. True, I woke UP in a hotel in Kingman – but got a birthday song and a kiss from my 5 year old son. We had breakfast and spent some time in the hotel pool before heading off to the Grand Canyon.

    My birthday DINNER was a little wine, hot dogs, rice and veggies on a picnic table next to our tent. Ah, that was the life! Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. He doesn’t get QUITE the same treatment, but he’s taking 1/2 day off work and going to hang out with our son after camp.

    Reply
  • Sarah August 3, 2011, 11:40 am

    Happy Birthday to you! What a wonderful way to spend your birthday!

    Reply
  • Bakari August 3, 2011, 11:56 am

    One year, we had both been out of work for weeks and were especially poor.
    We were never much into gifts anyway, but we decided it would be fun to exchange gifts for Christmas.
    We went to the 2 story super 99 cent store in the city, and set a $10 limit each (after tax).
    We got over a dozen gifts each (some stuff is actually less than a dollar!)!!!

    And the funny thing is, while the marriage didn’t last, the 99 cent house slippers I got about 6 years ago are still keeping my toes warm, at this very moment!

    Reply
    • Bakari August 3, 2011, 11:57 am

      P.S.

      Happy Birthday Ms. MM!!

      Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache August 4, 2011, 11:22 am

      Sounds like those were high quality 99 cent slippers! MMM might argue that you want to stay away from those 99 cent items (I have a xmas stocking story that I might share in one of my future posts), but I definitely see the fun in that.

      Similarly, we did a library book exchange one Christmas. Each of us went to the library and picked out books we thought the others might enjoy and wrapped them up (with used wrapping paper, which I’m sure we’ll never run out of). Turns out 2 out of my 3 books for MMM would have been the wrong ones to buy, so it’s a good think I didn’t actually purchase them! It was fun to see what we picked out for each other.

      Reply
      • Rebecca September 23, 2013, 12:46 pm

        That is a fun idea for free gifts! Might become a future family tradition.

        Reply
  • Kevin M August 3, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Great gifts, your best gift is being able to appreciate all those things instead of falling for the consumerist trap.

    Happy birthday from a not-quite 37 year old!

    Reply
  • melissa August 3, 2011, 2:14 pm

    Happy birthday!!! My 33.3 birthday is coming up next month (my actual birthday date was too hectic, and come on, 33 by itself is a boring number), and if I have it my way, we will have some freshly butchered pigs for a potluck BBQ (if the mosquitoes will let us) and you will come with MMM so we can compare notes on frugality!

    Reply
    • Mr. Frugal Toque August 3, 2011, 4:45 pm

      33 isn’t boring!

      It’s the last number that’s a palindrome in decimal *and* binary until you reach 99!

      /sheldon cooper mode off

      Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache August 4, 2011, 11:16 am

      Splendid! I will definitely be there. Do I have to bring a gift? ;)

      Reply
  • Mark August 3, 2011, 2:32 pm

    oh yah, experiences are far more lasting and better gifts than something in a box

    Reply
  • Frugal Vegan Mom August 3, 2011, 5:41 pm

    I love birthdays too. Parties are better than presents, and don’t cost anything, especially if you have awesome friends who show up with good liquor!

    I turn 29 in two weeks and my gift this year is finally, finally quitting my soul sucking corporate job. I never had the courage or a good excuse before, but now I get to stay home with my little babe…

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache August 4, 2011, 11:17 am

      Now, that is definitely the best gift ever. I bet you’ll feel quite relieved to finally have that soul sucking vacuum cleaner unplugged. Let us know how it goes!

      Reply
  • Nicole August 3, 2011, 7:06 pm

    Happy birthday to a woman who is beautiful inside and out. What a sweet post, you clearly are blessed with a wonderful family and a wonderful perspective!

    Reply
  • melissa August 5, 2011, 8:56 pm

    @ Mr. Frugal Toque… I stand corrected! <3 nerds @Mrs. MMM, of course not, your presence is my present!

    Reply
  • Jenny August 8, 2011, 9:40 am

    Sounds like an amazing birthday! We did a big charity event for my birthday this year and it was great!

    Reply
  • Sam August 14, 2011, 11:37 pm

    Full body massage and sex is a pretty damn good gift from my husband =)

    Reply
    • MMM August 15, 2011, 1:13 am

      Wow, things are heating up on this blog – excellent! :-)

      Reply
  • hands2work September 17, 2012, 3:10 pm

    I stated years ago that I wanted memories not things for my birthday and xmas. I immediately stopped buying gifts for anyone. I still get some though, some people are so determined to spend their hard earned cash on crap I don’t want or need…but it’s the thought.

    For my bf’s son’s 11th birthday last week his mother, father, sisters and brother all gave him gifts. I took him to the zoo which was free and we parked a mile or so away so that was free too. He loved the zoo and said it was his best birthday ever.

    Reply
  • Cajun Mom (Barb) May 15, 2013, 11:59 am

    I LOVED this! What a wonderful birthday! This has always been my (our) style. So preferred.

    We went this route just this last weekend for Mom’s day. I asked for a round of Gluten Free pizzas made to everyones’ tastes (I made them; it was fun) and a movie (from Netflix or our collection). We watched one we all agreed on (Matrix Reloaded) and ate til we all fell over. I had a wonderful weekend. Just what I wanted – lots of hugs and I was declared the “queen of everything” and loved it.

    Reply
  • Rebecca September 23, 2013, 12:53 pm

    The birthday gifts Mrs. MM received on her birthday actually made me tear up. Sounds like a beautiful and well appreciated birthday. It’s so wonderful that you focus on and appreciate the happy beautiful moments. I am favoriting this post and come aniversary time, Christmas, and birthday, I will remember to ask friends and loved ones for experiences rather than gifts and I will remember to cherish those memories and know how blessed I am.

    Thank you for sharing your family’s love with us all

    Reply
  • BD October 9, 2013, 8:39 am

    Reminds me of my family’s rather new christmas tradition: we cook together instead of giving gifts. We are not going cheap on this, but we neither spend a lot of money. We both love to cook and since we do everything ourselves, this will be a five-star four course meal for the price of a fast food menu.. well, probably plus some wine :)

    So we will spend a really nice evening together with candlelight, good wine and do things we love!

    Reply
  • bwall February 8, 2014, 9:58 am

    MMM!

    Thank you for listing the gifts you received–it is a very powerful statement. I think that any woman who can appreciate those items is rich already and is 3/4 of the way to ‘incredibly sexy’!

    Reply
  • Kira July 15, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Love this double feature post!
    Part 1: Grab the bull by the horns scolding/empowerment pep talk
    Part 2: Poetic celebration of life’s simple gifts

    Reply

Leave a Reply

To keep things non-promotional, please use a real name or nickname
(not Blogger @ My Blog Name)

The most useful comments are those written with the goal of learning from or helping out other readers – after reading the whole article and all the earlier comments. Complaints and insults generally won’t make the cut here, but by all means write them on your own blog!

connect

welcome new readers

Take a look around. If you think you are hardcore enough to handle Maximum Mustache, feel free to start at the first article and read your way up to the present using the links at the bottom of each article.

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.

Love, Mr. Money Mustache

Ads

$25 Unlimited Smartphone
The Lending Club Experiment
A $500 Signing Bonus... WTF?
How to Start a Blog

latest tweets