How to Celebrate while Staying Within Budget

I love you

My husband and I recently celebrated our 2 year anniversary at the end of January. As it happened, it coincided with the aftermath of a bit too much spending at Christmas time — the dreaded credit card bills. Granted we pay our credit card bills in full each month, so when the ones from Christmas came, there wasn’t too much money left over after they were paid. I really wanted to go away for a night to celebrate since we both had the day off, but it simply wasn’t in the budget. Instead, I made it my goal to find something fun and memorable to do that was easy on the wallet. Here are some suggestions for others who are trying to do the same thing.

Decide ahead of time that no chores are to be done on that day: Since we are new homeowners, it seems that we are always doing some kind of house project if we’re not taking care of the general cleaning of the house itself. So we deemed our anniversary a no-chore day — no cleaning, no laundry, no yard work (even though there isn’t much yard work to do in January anyhow) — just relaxing. This didn’t cost us a thing, but it was definitely enjoyable.

Treat yourselves to a small, but rewarding purchase: For us, it was Starbucks. We love going to Starbucks, but since it’s so expensive, we can’t go all the time. To help make our anniversary more than just an average day, we started it off with delicious (overpriced) caffeine goodness.

Find something that you enjoy, but doesn’t cost any money: Since our anniversary is the middle of winter, we’re pretty much guaranteed to have cold weather. I can think of a ton of things that are free and enjoyable in summer weather, like going to the lake, taking a walk, having a picnic in a park, and many other things. But what do you do when there is a foot of snow on the ground and 20 degrees outside (as it was on our anniversary this year)? Well we decided to go for a drive and take some pictures. We happened to get about a foot of snow the night before our anniversary and since I grew up in an area that hardly got any snow, I wanted to go see the beauty of nature covered in white. So we took a drive and went to a beautiful park and took pictures of the snow covered trees against the backdrop of a beautiful blue sky. When life gets so busy and there are so many things to do, it’s not often that you get a chance to just enjoy nature’s beauty — and that is priceless.

Relax: After we took our scenic snow drive, we decided to actually just go home and take a nap. Sounds simple, but it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to do that!

Look for inexpensive fun activities: We have a park downtown that borders a river and there are lots of fun things to do down there. Two things that I came up with to do that I thought would be fun were miniature golf and ice skating. I hadn’t done either in quite a long time and each activity would cost us less than $5 each. The point is that we would be having fun with each other and not spending a fortune.

Find ways to eat out with a discount: There is a mall right by the miniature golf and ice skating complex and they have two nicer restaurants. We decided that we wanted to have dinner at one, but we couldn’t decide which one. I got online to look for the menu of each restaurant and figured we could decide that way. I found the menu for one restaurant, but while I wasn’t able to find the other restaurant’s menu, what I did end up finding was a coupon for 20% off the entire meal purchase! Since both restaurants had the same price range, we decided to go to the one we had a coupon for. We ended up eating a delicious meal in front of a big rock fireplace and for 2 entrees and 2 drinks it only cost us $25. And since we told our waitress it was our anniversary we also got a free dessert!

In addition to searching for coupons, you can also check different restaurants’ lunch menus. Often times they will serve smaller portions for about half the price earlier in the day as part of their lunch menu. I personally can never finish a full meal at a restaurant anyhow (especially when I fill up on free bread beforehand) so that is perfect for me. And often lunch is served until 4 so you can save a lot by simply doing an early dinner.

Celebrate each other (or yourself): Our anniversary was special simply because we were together and celebrated with each other. At the end of the night we gave each other massages in front of a fire in our fireplace at home and helped each other relax. I think this was the most enjoyable part of the day and it was free. If you don’t have a spouse to celebrate with and are perhaps celebrating a birthday with friends, you can celebrate yourself as well by perhaps pampering yourself with a foot bath or by eating your favorite ice cream.

I’m learning more and more that you can celebrate events without spending a ton of money. Sometimes just the simplest things can be the most rewarding and spending time with loved ones is a celebration in itself.

Image courtesy of @LY$

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2 Responses to How to Celebrate while Staying Within Budget

  1. Ann says:

    I love how you gave the word “celebrate” a lovely, inexpensive and priceless connotation here. To celebrate is to find joy in it, not to throw all your money at it.

  2. KellyB says:

    That all sounds wonderful! Good for you two that youcelebrated your togetherness. Years from now I bet you will both look back fondly on that day, even if you celebrate other anniversaries more expensively. Time together is the most precious thing, and you made it memorable! Many happy returns!

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