5 Romantic, Inexpensive Anniversary Celebrations

Photo: Regan Fuller

You can’t quantify love.

It's not exactly a catchy, Beatles-esque hook, but it's true nonetheless.

Happily wedded couples have known for years that some of best anniversary gifts are often the most inexpensive. The idea is certainly more appealing during tight economic times, but there's an evergreen, more romantic ideal lurking here as well.

No doubt, the sparkly tennis bracelet or pricey tool set comes as a nice surprise. But some of the most powerful and long-cherished gifts are rooted in creativity, originality, and, dare we say, frugality. Here are a few ideas for inexpensive anniversary gifts. (See also: 24 Tips From a 24-Year-Old Marriage)

1. Explore the Great Outdoors

Go camping for the weekend. If your anniversary comes during one of the changing seasons, this is a great option. Make sure to plan your meals and check the camping site’s amenities.

Camping may be too ambitious for some couples, but a picnic surely isn’t. A surprise picnic is even better. For the ultra crafty, outfitting a kite with an “I Love You” banner would be the icing on the cake. A slightly more costly but still-frugal option is to rent a boat for a day. Again, that option depends on weather. Couples can still make it special by packing their own food and celebratory champagne.

2. Surprise Each Other

Decide which one of you will spearhead certain surprises. For instance, one of you makes dinner, plans a post-meal activity and a night cap while the other does something similar on the following day. Think of some of your first dates and incorporate their best moments into your anniversary celebration. Miniature golfing, bowling, or maybe just a walk around town to a sentimental location can remind you of your first times together.

3. Go Green

Simulate a blackout by unplugging all the lights and electronics so you’re forced to rely on candles and/or a fire. Feel free to bend the rules to put on romantic tunes or finish preparing a candle-lit dinner. Then cuddle up and enjoy the dark.

4. Hop in the Car and Go

Pack a few bags for a spontaneous road trip together. Going far is not the crux of having fun here. Instead, go wherever the road takes you. Don’t forget a road map so you have a general idea of where you are once you get there. Otherwise, forget your inhibitions about planning and just go for it.

5. Stay Home

With time off, couples often want to travel. Planning for trips has the propensity to cause stress and can put a crunch in the celebratory feeling. Prepare for a “staycation” instead. Turn off the cell phones, computers, and other bothersome communication devices.

Anniversaries are a natural time to reconnect with your partner, reminisce about good times, and prepare for plenty more. Celebrating love does not have to be expensive, and when it’s celebrated best, it hardly costs a thing.

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Guest's picture

As a young-and-married quickly approaching her 1 year anniversary I was so thankful for this post! We totally agree with your "staycation" idea and because of that feel ok spending a little extra on presents and a nice dinner which is a vacation in and of itself from lording over every penny we spend. We agreed to splurge a little on each other and having just bough my husband's present I feel GREAT about it. There is nothing like loving on the one you love, thanks for the post!

Guest's picture

This is giving me ideas...thanks! :)