Saturday, April 3, 2010

$123 to celebrate 26

Ann Arbor is a great place for birthday deals. In past years, I've taken advantage by picking up my 1/2 dozen free bagels and maybe catching a half price meal downtown.

This year, however, was different.

My birthday fell on a Monday, and I had the day off of work with no particular plans whatsoever.

And so, in full efficiency mode, I visited the Ann Arbor Wiki Birthday page, selected a few of the many options, plotted establishments out on a map color-coded by day/time, signed up for any prerequisite mailing lists, and let the celebration begin.

The planning is necessary because venues either offer you a deal on your birthday date only, or offer coupons good for a week or two surrounding your birthday. To take full advantage, it helps to have a timeline of places to visit throughout your birthday week. I'm sure you'll catch the vision in the following travelogue.

(Check out the custom map here)

Date: Friday, March 19
Deal: Birthday festivities begin with a free large specialty pizza from Aubree's (technically not an Ann Arbor deal - they're in Ypsilanti).
Cost: $3 (tip)
Savings: $18.00

(It was barely warm enough to eat outside that night!)

Date: Friday, March 19
Deal: Free creation at Cold Stone Creamery
Cost: none
Savings: $3

Date: Saturday, March 20
Deal: Free burrito from Moe's Southwestern Grill
Cost: none
Savings: $8

(This incredibly scary photo is to prove that I was sick the week leading up to my birthday - hello, red puffy eyes.)

Date: Monday, March 22

Deal: Free breakfast/lunch at Northside Grill. They were very nice and let Abe & I split 2 entrees but take the more expensive one as the free one.
Cost: $9.50
Savings: $8

Deal: 1/2 dozen bagels from Zingerman's Deli
Cost: none
Savings: $6 (?)

Deal: 12-pack of long party candles from the Found Gallery (I selected a sherbet orange candle color)
Cost: none
Savings: $3

Deal: Cupcake from Cake Nouveau
Cost: none
Savings: $2.50

Deal: 1/2 dozen bagels from Zingerman's Bakehouse
Cost: none
Savings: $6 (?)

Deal: Gelatto from Zingerman's Creamery
Cost: none
Savings: $2.50 (?)

Deal: Cookie from Great Harvest. When I asked for the cookie, the manager said he'd had a lot of people coming in about free birthday cookies and had no idea how it got started (not by him). I told him it was listed on the birthday wiki and he said he was happy to give me the deal.
Cost: none
Savings: $1.50

Deal: Scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry's
Cost: none
Savings: $2.50

Deal: 1/2 off a meal at the Real Seafood Company, plus a free dessert
Cost: $25.15
Savings: $25

Date: Wednesday, March 24
Deal: $10 coupon from Grizzly Peak, plus a pint glass and free dessert. For lunch, my co-workers took me and another girl who had a birthday the day before out to Grizzly Peak. They don't give you a deal on your check, but do give you the coupon, glass, and dessert.
Cost: none (to me)
Savings: $16

Date: Thursday, March 25
Deal: Free bowl of noodles at Noodles & Co. (They give you a bowl of noodles plus soup! It was enough for Abe & I to split for lunch.)
Cost: none
Savings: $8

Date: Friday, March 26
Deal: Free meal at BDs Mongolian Grill
Cost: $16.77 (tip, plus Abe's meal)
Savings: $13

(I took several photos in this series. Abe is straining to the see the basketball game on the TV behind him. TVs in restaurants are like black holes - he doesn't even watch basketball...)

TOTAL COST: $54.42
(note: if you take out the Real Seafood Company - our big splurge - the cost goes to $29.27 and the savings to $98)

Thank you, Ann Arbor, for a very happy birthday. And don't worry local businesses - I will probably never actually do this again.


Marry said...

That is totally awesome... now that is my kind of birthday!

Megan said...

You took full advantage of the AA freebies. Chris and I staggered most of these deals among our birthdays the 3 years we lived there, so you are pretty efficient to get it into one birthday week!

P.S. Your hair is getting so long. Very cute.

Delia said...

Wow...way cool! Happy Birthday!

Jen said...

Oh Erin, I love that you did this and that someone in your area has created a wiki to help you plot your birthday conquests.

Chelsea said...

Birthweek is such a better idea than birthday, right on! Also, I never thought I'd see long hair Erin--I like her.

Margaret said...

Adventures in savings! Nice!

And Happy Birthday, by the by.

mspaze31 said...

Holy cow! way to celebrate your birthday. I'm inspired.

Janssen said...

This is definitely the coolest thing I've ever seen. Plotting for Bart's birthday now. . .

Dawn said...

This is incredible. I didn't even know there WAS a AA birthday wiki!!! You totally scored!