20 Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary on a Budget

If you’re anything like my husband and I, you have times when you want (or need) to celebrate your anniversary on a budget. I’ve compiled 20 ways to celebrate that will help make your anniversary special.

If you're anything like my husband and I, you have times when you want (or need) to celebrate your anniversary on a budget.  I've compiled 20 ways to celebrate that will help make your anniversary special.

As of this year, we’ve been married for 16 years which is 8 years more than when I originally wrote this post. Since then, we’ve continued to have years where our anniversary was celebrated on a larger scale (like our week long trip to Kauai). Other years, we’ve had a new baby we couldn’t leave at home so we took them with us to a local restaurant.

I believe that the cost of a celebration is less important than just taking the time to celebrate in the first place. I always look forward to celebrating our anniversary because I love remembering and celebrating the day we were married. It’s also a great way to think back on how far we’ve come and the life we’ve built together.

Even though our finances allow for more expensive dinners or experiences, my husband and I are pretty frugal. When it comes to vacations and other celebrations, no matter how big or small, we are always on the lookout for a good deal.

This got me thinking and I realized that there are probably a lot of couples in the same boat as us.  You want to do something special, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend. I’ve created a list of ideas that will help you celebrate your anniversary on a budget.  I would estimate the cost ranging from $0-$400, depending on which option you choose and where you live, as well as your personal budget.

20 Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary on a Budget

  1. Picnic at home

Grab a blanket and head outside! You can stay in your own yard, go to a local park or take a short hike to a scenic overlook. If going out isn’t an option, such as bad weather, you can stay inside. Spread out a blanket and grab some pillows to sit on.

Want a more intimate atmosphere? Set up an indoor tent and string some lights around. Either way, a picnic is a fun, low-key and inexpensive way to celebrate your anniversary.  (Check out this list for 97 of the Best Picnic Ideas.)

How To Celebrate Your Anniversary On A Tight Budget--lots of great ideas that will fit any budget
  1. Take a walk down memory lane

If you live nearby some of the places where you and your spouse have special memories, go back and visit them.  Take pictures, recreate the moments and remember the excitement of falling in love.  Visit your old stomping grounds.  Go to the parking lot where you used to make out.  Another idea would be to attend an event together that you went to when you were dating, such as a college football game or a play.

  1. Dinner at a favorite restaurant

This could be as inexpensive or pricey as you want it to be.  For my husband and I, we love going to TGI Friday’s or P.F. Chang’s because they have some of our favorite food and lots of good memories.  Plus, we rarely go there so it’s a treat for us.  If you want to dress up, go somewhere nice and enjoy being fancy for the night.

  1. Movie night

A movie night can be as simple or as extravagant as you have a budget for it.  You could rent a Redbox movie or a streaming service if you don’t want to leave home.  If you decide to go out to the theater, going to a matinee is less expensive than going in the evening.  Bring a few snacks in your bag so you don’t have to spend money on the food from the concession stand.  Some places have drive-in movies so check around and see if you have one locally.

  1. Order take out

If you don’t have the luxury of leaving home (because of your kids or any other reason), you could order take out from a favorite restaurant. Pick it up yourself or have it delivered.

You could easily couple this with having a picnic at home if you don’t want to prepare the food yourself.  Or you could go for a drive up the canyon, to a park, to the beach or any other place that you enjoy.

  1. Visit touristy places off-season

One year, my husband and I stayed at a hotel near a local ski resort.  Since it was May, there weren’t many people around and we were able to enjoy the scenery and visit little shops and eat at restaurants without the crowd.  Our hotel was much less expensive as well.

  1. Celebrate your anniversary before or after the official date

Going along with the previous suggestion of visiting places off season, you could opt to celebrate your anniversary early or late to take advantage of that.  In addition, if you like the beach but got married in the winter, maybe you could celebrate in the summer and go when it’s nice and warm.  Same thing goes for an activity like skiing.  I don’t think it always matters when you celebrate, as long as you do.

  1. Use coupons or gift certificates

I am all about getting discounts.  Why pay more for something if you can save a little money?  I don’t think it cheapens the experience at all but rather makes it more enjoyable because you’re not spending more than you want or need to.

One year for our anniversary, my husband and I got couples massages at a huge discount.  We were able to do something we wouldn’t normally do at a fraction of the cost.  My sister told me the other day that when anniversaries or birthdays come up, they always check their gift cards to see what they have so they know what they can afford to do.

  1. Go on a stay-cation

More than anything else we’ve done to celebrate our anniversary is to go on a ‘stay-cation’.  We find a hotel within an hour or so from home and stay overnight while a relative watches our kids at home. Just getting away from home and going somewhere new can be so relaxing and rejuvenating.  You don’t make your bed?  Someone else will.  You want a late night snack?  Someone will bring one to your door.

If it’s an option for you, going on a weekday versus a weekend will always save you money at a hotel.  You can still stay somewhere nice without having to pay premium pricing.

  1. Camping

I’m throwing this idea out there for those of you who like camping.  I’m not in this category, but I know a lot of people who are.  If you are one of them, this could be just the thing for you to do to celebrate your anniversary.  Whether you camp in a tent or rent/borrow a camper, camping is definitely one of the least expensive ways to get away.

How To Celebrate Your Anniversary On A Tight Budget--lots of great ideas that will fit any budget
  1. Ask a friend or family member to watch your kids overnight

If spending money on a hotel isn’t something you can afford, see if friends or relatives would be willing to take your kids for the night while you stay at home.  Enjoy a full night’s rest without wondering which child will have you up at 6am.  Combine this with another stay at home activity listed above and you’ve got a great anniversary planned!

  1. Go on a scavenger hunt

A friend of mine who recently celebrated her and her husband’s 40th anniversary shared a fun idea. One year when they were younger and didn’t have a lot of money, she created a scavenger hunt. It took him around to the homes of friends where he was given food items that he brought home. All together, it made a yummy and memorable dinner just by using a little creativity.

Creating a scavenger hunt can be as simple or complex as you want. Deciding on a theme can help, because it guides you through the places you can hide your clues.

  1. Pick an activity from The Adventure Challenge

Have you heard of The Adventure Challenge scratch off date book? My husband and I have both the date book, as well as the date cards. We’ve enjoyed every activity we’ve done so far. You can get a little guidance for choosing a date by using the legend they have next to each date: length of time, money spent, indoor or outdoor, etc.

Not only is this a great anniversary activity idea, it also makes a perfect anniversary gift! Keep the love alive by continuing to date each other throughout the year. (You can also buy themed date night boxes!)

  1. Go to brunch or lunch instead of dinner

Want to go out to eat, but trying to save a little money? If you don’t have a gift card or coupon to a restaurant you like, try going for brunch or lunch. The portions are a little smaller which means you are also paying less for your meal.

This is also a nice way to save a little money if you are away from home when celebrating your anniversary. Brunch allows you to combine breakfast and lunch so that you are paying for one meal instead of two.

  1. Record a video of you telling your spouse what you love about them

If you feel comfortable in front of a camera (and even if you don’t), there’s something really special about recording how you feel about someone you love. When it’s on video, they can watch it over and over again. Everyone wants to be told they are loved, but if a video is intimidating to you, narrow down what you talk about.

Additionally, you don’t have to make it long. Try for at least a minute of video. There are many free video programs available to help you bring it all together. (A favorite of mine is Canva.)

Here are some ideas to get your imagination going:

  • Retell your first date or first impression of them from your point of view.
  • Relive a vacation or trip and why you loved going with them.
  • Share what you admire about them.
  • Create a video montage.
  1. Write a love letter or poem

Alternatively, you could write a love letter or poem. Use some of the ideas from the video suggestion above to get you started. If you’ve been married for a long time, it might feel tricky to sum everything up into a single letter or poem. Focusing on a specific area of your relationship can help. Include the letter or poem with a bouquet of flowers.

  1. Go to a free outdoor concert

Where I live, there are various concerts and shows throughout the summer months. Some cost money, but others are completely free! If you want to see about possible concerts/shows in your area, try searching online for something like “free outdoor concerts in _______”. Fill in the blank with your city, county or state and see what comes up!

  1. Make a memory shadowbox

One of my husband’s favorite anniversary gifts I’ve given him is a memory shadowbox. I filled out some little heart shaped tokens with memorable events and put them inside. After giving it to him, we filled out more tokens together and put them inside. We have it on a dresser in our bedroom and see it often.

I have a whole tutorial on how to make your own memory shadowbox HERE.

  1. Watch your wedding video together with popcorn and treats

One of my biggest regrets when planning our wedding was that we didn’t hire a videographer. A soon-to-be brother-in-law of mine promised to bring his camcorder but forgot. As a result, we have exactly zero videos from our wedding day. It still makes me sad.

So if you are one of the lucky ones who have a wedding video, take time to watch it together! Pop some popcorn, grab your favorite treats or a special dessert and relive that memorable day.

  1. Go enjoy nature

My husband and I love going on a good hike. There is something about getting out in nature together that brings us closer. When we visited Kauai, we specifically included at least one hike a day in our itinerary. (Find our favorite hikes on Kauai here.)

If you don’t like hiking, or don’t have anywhere close enough to you, take a stroll along a nice trail in a park. Hold hands. Hide behind a tree and steal a kiss. Pack some snacks and water and get outside!

I hope you find a great way to celebrate your anniversary on a budget together!

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If you're anything like my husband and I, you have times when you want (or need) to celebrate your anniversary on a budget.  I've compiled 20 ways to celebrate that will help make your anniversary special.
If you're anything like my husband and I, you have times when you want (or need) to celebrate your anniversary on a budget.  I've compiled 20 ways to celebrate that will help make your anniversary special.

Hi! I’m Shani,

A stay-at-home mom of 4 and wife. I love sharing easy to follow craft tutorials, kid activities, family-friendly recipes, organization, travel and motherhood. I hope you’ll feel uplifted and empowered by each post, regardless of what kind it is. Join me as I raise my little munchkins and share the sunshine in this beautiful, crazy thing called life! Read more...

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