02 February 2009

Saving money on the wife's birthday

This can be a dangerous time of year when it comes to spending money. After making it through the Christmas and New Year period and remaining well under budget there is alway the danger of splurging on Mrs Whitey's birthday and being forced to spend actual cash.

Unfortunately this year she insisted on a big night out. That can usually be accommodated, but this time Fitzies Cafe has been demolished and the China Diner was booked out for two weeks solid. With petrol back to $1.15 a litre, that left only the two restaurants within easy walking distance of Chateau Whitey, Lebrina and the more reasonably priced King Wah. Unfortunately Mrs Whitey insisted on Lebrina. Knowing the prices at Lebrina, I needed a plan.

Through coincidence of circumstances, it turns out Lebrina has a private room out the back and this can be hired separately, but only during the month of January. Getting Mrs Whitey to bring forward her birthday dinner was the easy bit, haggling down the room hire to just $100 on the basis that we would provide our own food and waiters was a bit trickier. After cutting and pasting from the King Wah take away menu, writing "Lebrina" on the top, everything was set.

I am sure none of the guests caught on and just assumed that all meals at Lebrina were served in plastic containers with a fork and spoon. Based on my culinary understanding Beef and Black Bean and Sweet and Sour Pork probably count as modern Australian. Another great money saver was decanting the Berri Estate Shiraz and passing it off as the world's best Shiraz from last year. The Fruity Lexia was a bit more difficult, but no outright complaints.

As I was able to change the prices on the menu to more properly reflect the venue, I had no trouble extracting $150 a head out of the guests, although there was one recalcitrant that won't be invited next year.

All up a clear profit of $1,322. So another wonderful birthday for Mrs Whitey.

Hip hip hooray!

Labels: ,