Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Birthday Experiment and More Winning News

I celebrated my 38th birthday last Thursday, July 12th. Usually Greg & I pick a favorite restaurant to eat at or activity to do on our birthdays. But this year he was in Salt Lake City, UT on a business trip, so I was on my own for the entire week. I don't know where I got the idea, but I decided to see how many free things I could get just because it was my birthday.
Since this was my first time celebrating my birthday in Portland, I did some research online to figure out what my options might be. Just by Googling "free on your birthday Portland" I found a couple of helpful websites:
I quickly narrowed down my options to things that didn't require a second person plus I also had to consider my overall schedule for the week to determine where I might be able to get to via public transportation and when I would have time to do everything.

I also found out on the 10th that I would be working as an extra on Grimm on the 12th, but didn't know my call time until late afternoon on the 11th. Thus I didn't have as much time on my actual birthday to take advantage of all the freebies as I had originally planned. In spite of that, I still managed to do pretty well for the week. Listed below are the things I got and what I had to do to get them:

RAM Brewery - Free Mud Pie with purchase of any entree valid the week of your birthday. Must join MVP club to receive emails (free).
Einstein Bros Bagels - Free breakfast sandwich when you purchase any drink on your birthday or within seven days thereafter. Must "join the club" to receive emails (free).
Denny's - Free Grand Slam breakfast worth $6.49 only on your birthday with proof of I.D. No other purchase required.
Salt Grotto - Free 45 minute session in the salt cave worth $30 only on your birthday with proof of I.D. No other purchase required.
 Rogue Brewery - Free 32oz beer + choice of a t-shirt worth $18 only on your birthday. No other purchase required. Must be a Rogue Nation member (free to sign up).
Pastini Pastaria - Free entree at any price (mine was $14) valid on the day before, day of, or day after your birthday. No other purchase required. Must sign up to receive their newsletter via email (free).
Famous Dave's - Free entree with purchase of one entree valid for ten days after your birthday. Must sign up for P.I.G. Club (free). Since this was a BOGO offer I waited until Greg came home to take advantage of this one!
Redbox - Free movie rental valid for one month from your birthday. Must sign up for Redbox emails.
Marriott Rewards - One Elite night credit automatically added to your account on your birthday if you click the link in the email. Must be a Marriott Rewards member (free).

Here are a couple of things I didn't have time to take advantage of but wish I had:
Starbucks - Free drink only on your birthday. Must be a Starbucks Rewards member. I actually got the drink in the photo for free on Friday the 13th as part of a promo for the new Refreshers line.
The EastBurn - Birthday Power Hour (free drinks for you & nine friends). Email the restaurant to be randomly selected for the power hour, 9-10pm only on your birthday. I actually did get picked but was working on Grimm.
I really expected to be able to get a free haircut on my birthday, specifically thinking that Supercuts or Great Clips would offer something like that, but my research only turned up $5 off a haircut at Bishops Barbershop, which I didn't have time to do.

Considering that I used our Trimet pass to get around (and thus had no transportation cost), my only expenses related to my week of freebies were tips and the odds & ends required food or drink purchases. I estimate the total value of everything I received (the things I actually took advantage of) is at least $100. Not a bad birthday gift to myself!

I also received a gift certificate for a one hour massage at North Portland Wellness Center from my sweet husband and some generous monetary gifts from several family members. Thank you!!! I have been patiently waiting for many months now to purchase a new laptop, as my trusty little netbook is starting to show it's age (it has been my only computer for the past three years and has traveled around the world with me!). After much research and hands-on testing at multiple retailers, I ultimately decided to purchase an HP 15.6" laptop, putting good use to my birthday money. I actually just received the computer today so am looking forward to setting it up!

In other technology-related news, my other not-really-a-birthday-present-but-just-happened-to-buy-it-two-days-later gift was a new phone. I have been using one of my old Nokia phones with a T-Mobile pay-as-you-go SIM card for the past three years, which has extremely limited my ability to communicate while on the go. It was certainly a great way to save money, considering I was spending less than $10 per month for cellular service, but it was becoming more of a burden than a blessing. So again, after much thought & research, Greg & I are now proud owners of iPhones!

And finally, perhaps the best news of all. After an unexpected delay in tallying the results of the Portland City Living contest, which I wrote about in my previous blog post, the winner will be publicly announced sometime tomorrow as ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enormous thanks to all of you who voted because it obviously made a difference. And you truly gave me one of the best birthday presents I could ever ask for! By my estimate the prize package is worth over $1750. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!

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