How To Celebrate Your Anniversary On A Tight Budget--lots of great ideas that will fit any budget

Tomorrow my husband and I will be celebrating our EIGHT year anniversary!  It’s hard to believe how fast the time has gone and all that’s happened in that time: college graduation (2 Undergraduate degrees and one Masters degree), bought our first home, had 2 kids, job changes and many other experiences and memories.  I always look forward to celebrating our anniversary because I love remembering and celebrating the day we were married.

I remember for our one year anniversary we decided to go on a cruise.  We were still in college so we saved up and bought a Mexican Riviera cruise.  I had been on a cruise in high school and my husband had never been on on so we were really excited.  As luck would have it, the swine flu broke out a week before we were supposed to leave and all cruises to Mexico were cancelled.  Unable to get a refund, we decided to go on the California Coast cruise that was being offered instead.  It was kind of a letdown to be honest and we haven’t been on any big anniversary celebrations since then due to life happening.  Since then, we’ve done various activities for our anniversary each year ranging from dinner and a movie to an overnight stay in a 5-star hotel.

How To Celebrate Your Anniversary On A Tight Budget--lots of great ideas that will fit any budget
Our Wedding Day (2008)

Since our anniversary falls on a weekday this year, we are waiting until the weekend to officially celebrate our special day.  We decided to drive into the city and go to dinner and spend the night in a hotel while my mom watches our kids.  My husband and I are pretty frugal when it comes to vacations, no matter how big or small, so 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 I think would be fun for an anniversary date/weekend.  (I would estimate the cost ranging from $0-$300, depending on which option you choose and where you live, as well as your personal budget.)

How To Celebrate Your Anniversary On A Tight Budget--lots of great ideas that will fit any budget

Picnic at Home–Grab a blanket and head outside!  Or stay inside if that’s your preference.  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.)

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 (you know you did it).  Another idea would be to attend an event together that you attended when you were dating, such as a college football game or a play.

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 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.

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 even rent a movie from On Demand or another similar service if you don’t want to leave home.  If you decide to go out to the theater, going to a matinee is less 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.

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 and bring it home.  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.

How To Celebrate Your Anniversary On A Tight Budget--lots of great ideas that will fit any budget
Park City (2015)

Visit Touristy Places Off Season–Last 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.

Celebrate Early/Late–Going along with my 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.

Use Coupons and/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 using Groupon.  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.

Stay-cation–More than anything else we’ve done to celebrate our anniversary is to go on a ‘stay-cation’.  We find a hotel nearby 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.  Also, 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.

How To Celebrate Your Anniversary On A Tight Budget--lots of great ideas that will fit any budget

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.

Have Friends/Relatives Take 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 2am.  Combine this with another stay at home activity listed above and you’ve got a great anniversary planned!

I’ve only listed a few of the ideas that I came up with.  If you want a few more suggestions, visit The Dating Divas website.  The whole purpose of their website is to provide ideas to keep the flame burning between husband and wife.  I found a link to 75 Dates to Celebrate Your Anniversary ranging from tame and simple to hot and spicy.  They’ve got something for everyone.

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

What have been your favorite ‘on-a-budget’ dates or anniversary celebrations?


  1. Such great ideas! I love the idea to visit touristy places off season! It saves so much money and you can really avoid the crowds. Picnics are awesome too!

  2. All such great ideas! We usually do low key things for our anniversary. Next year is the big 1-0, and I'm hoping to do something a little more…

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