My bumper birthday bill

Cathy Adams's picture

 This month, most of my salary has been spent on train tickets. Why? I’ve booked to go to Nottingham, Southend and Liverpool. The occasion? For friends’ birthdays.

Not that I’m moaning about the weekends themselves. I love going away for a few days and escaping the smoke and smog of London. But when did birthdays become so excessive?

My parents’ generation had a small family do and maybe a few pints in the local. When I was younger, a birthday party was inviting five mates over for a Barcardi Breezer and a Tesco pizza.

As we’ve got older, birthdays get dragged over weeks and weekends and increasingly require you to dig deeper and deeper into your pockets. Even my own recent coming-of-age involved two meals out, drinks and a party – something I’d expect my friends to fund for themselves.

It’s just the latest fad in our ever-depressing consumer culture. Each birthday has to be bigger and better than the last, which means trips up and down the country (although, I can’t lie, it’s good fun).

Recent statistics from insurance company Bright Grey estimate that we spend, on average, an extra £360 a month over our monthly salary. We’re clearly living the life of our dreams, rather than our means – something I can definitely attest to with the various drinks evenings, dinners and trips abroad that I try and manage on a low income.

Maybe it’s just me getting old. Either way, I don’t mind dipping into my hard earned cash to spend a weekend away for my friend’s birthday – just as long as a weekend in Nottingham doesn’t become a week in Greece in a few years’ time.

What do you think? Do you spend too much money servicing your friends’ birthdays? Let us know.


Your Comments

Last month I treated two friends to a week in Rhodes to celebrate their birthdays.It was all inclusive and it cost out In excess of £2000.It was a magnificent 7 days with the beautiful sea,weather and 5 star food.You only live once and it was a wonderful experience.I am more than happy with a simple celebration but enjoy both the simple and the extravagant .No regrets is my motto.If you can afford it then go for it.

An old friend of mine used to call it living a Rolls Royce life on a Ford income...but things are definitely spiralling out of control. With kids getting limousines to First Communion days and printed t-shirts the norm on hen and stag weekends away keeping up with it all causes financial anaemia. I have a son 18 next year and am already worrying about the cost! Any suggestions for memorable on a budget would be appreciated!

worth every penny - if you have friends - don't neglect them

 I appreciate all your comments. I think the moral here is, it's extremely important to spend time with your friends and family, but maybe we should remember that we can still see them without spending a fortune.

Linda Foreman - what's your budget? I had a dinner party for me and my friends and we really enjoyed dressing up smartly, although not sure that will go down too well with an 18-y-old!

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