Amazingly, I have reached 40th. I know plenty of people hate significant birthdays because it makes them feel old. Fortunately, it doesn’t with me as I feel old every time I look in the mirror.
Now, I’m the keep-to-myself kind of person. I hate having lots of attention and couldn’t think of anything worse than a party and trying to keep everyone entertained. So, I was over the moon when my wife told me she had booked us a night away without the kids. Only our 2nd night in 11 years!
Let’s get one thing straight… Before I go into our money saving for our night away, let me clear something up. I like money saving and I also like spending. These 2 things aren’t mutually exclusive and it just means that if I can save some money somewhere, I will.
A little bit of research can save you a lot of money.
Our (well my wife’s) chosen hotel for this trip was the InterContinental at the O2, London. If you’re not familiar with it, it connects directly to the o2 and is quite swanky. It’s not a cheap place to stay. However, a quick check of cashback sites and my wife found 10% back if you booked through Quidco! That was over £30 saved, with just one click of a button.
Not long after we arrived at the hotel, we were both feeling pretty hungry. After checking through the hotel prices and laughing, we headed off to the O2 to see what we could find to eat. After looking at the menus of about 20 restaurants, we decided to push ourselves to the extreme and opted for burgers. We settled on Byron as neither of us had ever been and they had a great choice of food.
As it came to the end of our meal, the table next to us showed the waiter an email for a discount. Spurred on by this, I went into a panic and googled discounts. As luck would have it, Byron was offering 50% off all food for Blue Light card holders. Chching! That was another £16 saved.
Byron is also listed on Airtime Rewards, which earned me £1.29 cashback.
Although one sour note… I found out a day later that if I had paid using my Santander debit card, I would have saved another 8%. That’s over £2 I missed out on. Shame on me.
Of course, I’m no longer of that age when I can spend a whole night in a hotel room, so we decided we would catch a movie in the evening. There is a Cineworld in the O2, which offers a 4D experience. If you’re not aware of 4D, basically it’s a fairly immersive experience where your seat moves, smoke fills the cinema and you get wet. Sounds fun, but it can be a bugger trying to have a drink whilst constantly moving up and down.
I opted for us to watch 1917… I can’t think of anything quite so romantic as men trying to kill each other.
Anyhow, my wife has a Kids Pass membership which gives you discounts on cinema tickets and sometimes food. 2 adult tickets, 2 large drinks and popcorn came to £30.40 – a discount of £10.88.
Drinking in London isn’t cheap. So, we popped to the supermarket on the way up and bought a load for our room. Not very classy, but very money-saving.
The following morning, we decided to do a bit of shopping. Although, we didn’t realise that most of the shops don’t open in the O2 until 11:00. So, after a bit of waiting around, I went to the Levis store to get some jeans. Signing up to the Levis’ reward scheme in-store saved me £5. As this is only the 2nd time I’ve been to Levis, I probably will never use it again.
We also popped into GAP, which I couldn’t find any discounts for. However, my wife has a Student Card and thought she would try her luck by asking the assistant if we could have some money off. Turns out, students get 10% off at GAP! If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
And to top it all… I also have an Amazon credit card which earns me cashback for every purchase.
So, in total, we saved around £80 with very little effort. Just do a little bit of research and you’ll be amazed how much you can save.
Oh, and we had a great time too! The most romantic gift I could hope for was a money-saving birthday.
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