Time flies when you are having fun – and when you are with the one you love. As the years go by, perhaps your anniversaries begin to sneak up on you, with you and your loved one seemingly always ending up going out to dinner again. Or perhaps the big day comes and goes, and you don’t do anything at all because you are on a tight budget and can’t think of something to do that is celebratory, memorable, and won’t cost a fortune. (Sure, a trip to the wine country sounds perfect; but is it worth refinancing your home and mortgage to finance this?) Well, luckily, you can be both romantic and financially smart.
Here are 10 inexpensive and exciting new ways to celebrate your anniversary:
1. Recreate Your Wedding Night Menu
Try to recreate your first married meal with your spouse. Work together to choose recipes, go shopping for the ingredients, and cook as a team. My wedding dinner included an elegant tomato salad and chicken piccata – not something I would normally take the time to make at home! Making it with my husband would certainly be a fun challenge. For those of you who are really ambitious, try recreating your wedding cake. If you are not married and celebrating a dating anniversary, try to cook what you ate on your first date. Cooking, in general, is an extremely fun and cheap dating idea that you should always consider. If you’re still not sure what to do, find a new special recipe or use an online service like E-mealz to plan out your meal. End the evening snuggling on the couch, watching the first movie you saw together.
2. Relive Your First Date
My first date with my husband was at a fast food sandwich restaurant, followed by stargazing. Since then, the restaurant has shut down, and the place where we went stargazing is no longer accessible. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is that we now live 500 miles from where we first met and dated! Still, even if we can’t exactly recreate our first date, we could go to another sandwich place and find another field from which to watch the sky. First dates are usually inexpensive ones, so you can relive those memories at a reasonable price.
3. Have Your Own Personal Photo Shoot
Make a list of some of your favorite places around town, load up your camera, and have your own photo shoot! Go to places that hold special meaning to you and your significant other. Perhaps you could stop at the place you had your first kiss or the church where you were married. Ask a passerby to take a couple shots of you. Another idea is to simply take a photo of you together each year on your anniversary. Keep an anniversary album for these special memories.
4. Make an Anniversary Mix CD
Make a CD of all the songs that have meaning in your relationship, and go somewhere special to relax and listen. Share with each other the memories you associate with the songs. Another idea is for each person to make a CD to share with the other. Then, stay home and dance!
5. Do Something New
My husband and I just celebrated our fourth anniversary. And yet again, we went out to a restaurant, which was great, but dining out is nothing new or particularly exciting. So for next year, we have decided to go for a hot air balloon ride. Yes, it’s expensive, but we are planning ahead to spend a little more next year since it will be a milestone year. Is there a romantic, cheap weekend getaway package that you and your spouse have always wanted to explore but have never gotten around to doing?
6. Get Crafty
If you are feeling a little artsy, go decorate some pottery for each other (most towns have a DIY pottery studio or two). Or make something together, like a photo album or scrapbook of the previous year’s events.
7. Watch Your Wedding Video
I don’t think I have ever watched my wedding video. Honestly, I am not even sure where it is. But what’s the point of having a video made if you are not going to watch it? Your anniversary is a great opportunity to remember that special day, so dust off that wedding DVD and watch highlights together. If you don’t have one, perhaps you have a video of a vacation you took or another memorable occasion. If not, look through your wedding album or pictures that you have taken throughout your years together.
8. Give Thoughtful Gifts
For each anniversary year, there are traditional gifts that you can give. For example, the gift for the first year is traditionally paper. Consider giving your spouse stationery you have customized, a book, a love letter, or anything else associated with paper. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful. There is also a modern anniversary gift for each year. For example, for the fourth anniversary, the modern gift is appliances, which could be a lot cheaper than a pricey piece of technology. If you’re interested in what these gifts are, here is a handy list of traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year.
9. Match Your Gift with Your Anniversary Year
If this is your fifth anniversary, give five roses. If this is your tenth anniversary, give a ten minute massage. Be thoughtful and fun. Make a game out of it, and see who can come up with the most creative number-themed gift.
10. Just Be Together
Take the day off from work, turn off the cell phone, stop checking your email, and just spend some quality time together and save money. Keep it simple and remove yourselves from your busy everyday lives. Celebrate your life together because that is what your anniversary is all about.
What creative date ideas do you have for celebrating anniversaries?
(photo credit: nattu)