14 Fun and Frugal Ways To Celebrate Your Birthday

Celebrate without breaking the bank with these wallet-friendly birthday adventures.

multi ethnic goofy friends celebrating birthday
Updated July 18, 2024
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It's your birthday, and you want to celebrate. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep more cash in your wallet by having fun for less money.

Celebrating a birthday is a big deal: Just because these are cheap ways to spend your birthday doesn't mean your day will be any less special.

Here are some great recommendations if you're looking for cost-saving ways to celebrate your big day.

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Hike in a nearby park

Monkey Business/Adobe family hiking in uk lake district

For a free experience, hike through a local, state, or national park in your area. To make it special, choose a new place or somewhere you haven’t visited in some time.

If you spend $80 on an annual pass — or even less, if you are a senior — from the National Park Service, you could make this a year of visiting national parks throughout the country. Or, put in 250 hours of volunteer time to get a free access pass.

Hit Cheesecake Factory for free cheesecake

JHVEPhoto/Adobe cheektowaga cheesecake factory from outside

The Cheesecake Rewards program from Cheesecake Factory offers a great birthday reward: Choose a free slice of cheesecake on your birthday.

Many other restaurants offer such freebies for those celebrating birthdays. So, ask about birthday freebies at your favorite eatery.

Renew ties with a friend

djile/Adobe friends playing guitar by beach

Do you have a friend you haven’t seen in a long time? A birthday is a great time to renew ties.

You might even visit someone who lives out of state. If they are gracious enough to let you stay at their home while the two of you explore the city, it doesn’t have to cost much.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

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Try it

Find free museums

Anton Ivanov Photo/Adobe metropolitan museum of art from inside

Some of the museums near you might offer free admission on your birthday. If you have a favorite, contact them and ask.

Alternatively, if you are a Bank of America cardholder, you may be able to take advantage of their Museums on Us program. It gets you into more than 225 cultural institutions nationwide for free on the first full weekend of the month.

Plan a beach day

haveseen/Adobe woman at beach holding sunglasses

A day at the beach is a fantastic free experience. 

Pack a lunch to avoid buying something, take the sunblock, and head to your favorite spot — or find a new one.

Plant a tree

EduardSV/Adobe man planting plant in soil

Your birthday is a great day to give a new tree a chance to grow.

Planting a tree allows you to give back to the planet. You'll also have the joy of watching it grow birthday after birthday for years into the future.

Head to brunch with someone special

Dulin/Adobe friends toasting at brunch table

If a birthday dinner sounds too expensive, find a local brunch destination to visit instead.

You can sleep in, enjoy a leisurely morning, and then head out to get some fantastic food — and maybe a mimosa while you’re at it.

Go to the library

StockPhotoPro/Adobe woman's hand picking book from shelf

If you haven’t visited the library in a while, plan to visit on your birthday and explore all the free things it offers.

In addition to books, you will find movies and a lot of educational material. Libraries are also hubs for community groups you might wish to join.

Volunteer at a local charity

aicandy/Adobe female volunteer distributing food to man

Giving back on your birthday is more rewarding than many realize. It might end up being the best part of your day.

Whether you help to clean up a local park, work in a food bank, or provide seniors with a ride, do something this birthday to give back.

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Host a backyard movie night

Creative Digital Art/Adobe couple at outdoor movie night setup

Drag out a TV — or put up a projector — and turn your backyard into a movie theater.

With the right people and a few snacks, watching a movie outside can be one of the best ways to spend your birthday night.

Head to the zoo

makistock/Adobe mother daughter watching elephants in zoo

Getting a zoo membership is a great birthday investment. You can spend your big day at the zoo, and the membership means you can return many times over the rest of the year.

Depending on how the membership works, you might have access to visiting other zoos throughout your state.

Learn a new craft

DragonImages/Adobe woman decorating greeting card for mother

Learning a new craft has many benefits, from improving coordination and brain health to tapping into a little stress relief.

You might find free craft programs at local community centers or the library. Look into pottery, glass blowing, painting, or other activities from local artisan groups, too.

Visit a karaoke bar

Drazen/Adobe multi ethnic friends singing at pub

Visit a bar or club with a karaoke night if you want a really fun way to celebrate your birthday.

This could be the over-the-top experience you and your friends need to enjoy the big day.

Refresh and reflect

Rawpixel.com/Adobe woman writing notes in journal

Spend a few minutes of your birthday reflecting on the last year in a journal. Then, spend a few more minutes redecorating a space in your home to give it a new vibe that better fits your personality and needs heading into another year. 

These two steps help create a new view of the year and cost nothing.

Bottom line

luckybusiness/Adobe business woman celebrating birthday in office

All items on this list allow you to celebrate your birthday without wrecking your financial fitness.

Remember, whether you spend time with the people who mean the most to you or just relax by streaming your favorite shows, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate your big day in style.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker

Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.