25 Free & Frugal Ways To Celebrate Your Anniversary

By Carlie Kercheval on Wednesday, June 26, 2013

25 Free & Frugal Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary

Earlier today, I received a note from Annalee, a military wife, wanting to know if we had any special ideas for military couples.  You betcha!  

Happy Wives Club contributor, Carlie Kercheval, is with us today sharing some of her best tips.  But these ideas aren’t just for military couples, they are for all of us.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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As a military family, my husband and I have spent many wedding anniversaries apart.  

But even when we weren’t with each other in person, we did our best to celebrate our wedding anniversary in creative ways to show one another how much we care.  

Celebrating doesn’t just show the world that love and marriage still go hand in hand, it nourishes the love within you. 

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.  Just one week after moving from Germany back to the United States, and fumbling our way through getting the family settled, we once again put our ingenuity to the test to make that day special.

Here are some of the things we’ve done over the years to commemorate the day we said I do.  Try one, or two, or three – you’ll be glad you did!

25 Free & Frugal Ways to Celebrate Your Anniversary:

  1. Write a love letter to your spouse. Spray it with your perfume or kiss it with your favorite lipstick. Here is an anniversary letter I published on my blog last year when my husband was serving in Afghanistan.
  2. Blow up a balloon for each year of your marriage and put a piece of paper in each one with something nice about your spouse. My husband enjoys popping the balloons and reading what I have to say on each one.
  3. Go out to breakfast instead of dinner. It is much lighter on the wallet and is a great way to start off your day.
  4. Dress up and dance all night in your living room or bedroom.
  5. Enjoy a quiet game night at home preparing your favorite snacks and beverages. If you feel like it, invite some friends to join in earlier in the evening, reserving the late evening for the two of you.
  6. Make a special dinner with choice ingredients at home. Spice it up with candles and your favorite music playing softly in the background.
  7. Go out to dessert instead of dinner. This is a great way to have time alone while going easy on the budget.
  8. Bake an anniversary cake together. My husband and I bake together every chance we get and we use this time to test out our newest recipe ideas.
  9. Record a video using your webcam or cell phone telling your spouse what you appreciate about them. My husband and I have done this several times during deployments and it is such a wonderful memento to keep!
  10. Order takeout from a local restaurant and eat under the stars.
  11. Go to a local wine tasting during the day.
  12. Ride bikes at a favorite recreation spot. Our personal favorite is along the coastline near the ocean.
  13. Make ice cream sundaes at home.
  14. Take pictures of one another and make some fun collages for free at a site like Picmonkey.
  15. Take a shower together. This is something that in the business of life many may not do. Not only is it fun, it is free.
  16. Eat a picnic lunch at your favorite spot. We have done this at the beach, on a mountain, at a park, and even in the desert.
  17. Learn how to say I love you and happy anniversary in several different languages. Once you learn this, show it off on your anniversary.
  18. Play your favorite sport together. Don’t have a favorite, then learn a sport together – even better! 
  19. Paint or draw pictures of one another. Hey, you might not be an artist, but let me tell you, it will be a time of laughter and fun – that’s for sure!
  20. Have a fun night of intimate games planned. Get a new special “outfit” for the occasion and enjoy one another.
  21. Go bowling.
  22. Go on a hike.
  23. Go on a boat ride. If the food is expensive, just bring some of your own to share on the ride.
  24. Read aloud a book to one another.
  25. Have a dream night. Hubby and I have done this on several anniversaries. We just dream big together setting long and short term goals. We are both big dreamers so this is a wonderful thing for us to do.

This is your special day.  Whatever you do, don’t allow financial challenges to get in the way of celebrating the wonderful union you share.  Set aside the time and get creative!

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite ways to save money while celebrating your anniversary?


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Carlie Kercheval is a happily married stay-at-home homeschooling mom. She and her college sweetheart have been blessed with 3 precious children to raise while traveling the world as a military family. Carlie is the founder of Today's Frugal Mom™ and Managing Your Blessings. Carlie and her husband co-author the Learning to Speak Life™ family Bible studies and together they co-host the Learning to Speak Life™ Podcast. When she is not busy enjoying her family and the great outdoors, you can typically find her cozied up somewhere under a blanket with a good book.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comment Policy
  • Mrs.kemp

    I over love the idea um gone do the ballon one thankss for mature ideas

    • Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Yes! One of my favorite ideas on this list. I’m looking forward to doing that for my hubby as a special day this year.

      • Mrs. Honaker

        Balloon releases are REALLY bad for the environment. I work with a wildlife rescue organization and have had to handle a lot of damage control because of balloon releases. When the balloons return to Earth they typically end up in an area full of wildlife who get tangled in or attempt eating these balloons and end up severely wounded and sometimes die from the injuries. Balloons can cause broken legs and wings, strangulation, and deep lacerations just to name a few.

        • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

          You are absolutely right about balloon releases! That’s why we’re not suggesting that here. These are balloons that are indoors and unlikely to even be blown up with helium. It’s a fun place to put notes and then blow them up so your husband can pop them and read the notes inside.

        • pc hacks

          Seriously. …. where do you read about ballon releases in this column. .. to hung up on your environmentel bullshit to read it right…. go back to drinking your coolaid you pos…prob voted for Obama. ..retard…

          • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

            Whoa…it’s definitely okay to agree to disagree. But in love, with respect and grace. Please. <3

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Mrs. Kemp, Yes ma’am, it is fun!! We have also done this idea for each of our 3 children on one of their birthday’s too :) Thanks for reading my article :)

  • http://www.toodarnhappy.com/ Kim Hall

    A dream night as a date night: I love that idea! What better way to celebrate where and what you want to be as a couple! Creating at least one vision board as part of that date would be fun, too!

    • Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Oh, that’s a great idea Kim! You and I really are two peas in a pod. We have a vision board too!

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Kim, we definitely take it further than the dream night. We do have vision boards and even take communion over each time we make our goal lists together and celebrate once those goals are achieved! It is such a beneficial way to keep us both focused and encouraged on the dreams in our hearts! Thanks for stopping by :)

  • http://www.cherigregory.com/ Cheri Gregory

    When we were young and poor, we’d go to the mall to buy a Cinnabon with two forks, a milk with two straws, and then sit in Nordstrom and listen to the piano player for an hour!

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Cheri, that is too cute! I love that idea. Even though we’re not young and poor anymore, I’d do that now! Thanks for reading :)

      • Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

        Absolutely love this post, Carlie! Thank you for sharing it with us. <3

    • Alvin John Paul Sunga

      Cheri, my wife and I were the same. We used to buy those 35 cents Mc Donald Chessburgers on Sunday and sit at this cute and vintage looking amtrak station in our town and watch the trains go by. Two Cheeseburgers….$0.70. Large Diet Coke ….$1.70, sharing it with the one you love…..PRICELESS. =) thanks for sharing

  • Annalee Narwold

    Thank you! These are great ideas that will come in very handy!

    • Carlie Kercheval

      You are more than welcome Annalee! I am happy they could help you!

  • Kendra Fletcher

    I love these, Carlie! Our anniversary is the day after our son’s upcoming wedding, and I don’t think we’ll have the energy to do much else that day. You gave me some great ideas to make it special.

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Thanks Kendra :) I am so happy that this article can help make your day special! Enjoy it, sweet friend!

  • Sawyne Williams

    Thank you so much!!! I needed this we been together for four years with two kids and one on the way. Not once have we went out on a date ever since we had our first child. Money is an issue! Our anniversary is on Saturday and have no extra money to do anything. Thanks again!

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Sawyne, I am so happy this could be of help. We also have 3 children to consider when doing all of our planning as well. It is not easy. And who doesn’t like to save a buck or two? I pray that you have a wonderful anniversary and am thankful for your comment!

    • Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Happy anniversary, Sawyne!!

      • Sawyne Williams

        Thank You Fawn!

  • Delora

    What great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. I will be doing this one this weekend:
    Make a special dinner with choice ingredients at home. Spice it up with candles and your favorite music playing softly in the background.

    • Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Nice!! Something tells me you’ll be having a fabulous weekend :) .

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Awesome, Delora! We have done this several times and it is ALWAYS a hit :) Thanks for reading!

  • MrsLGaston

    Great ideas!! My 3rd year anniversary is coming up next week and I will incorporate some of these into our anniversary activities!

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Mrs L Gaston, I am SO glad you find these ideas useful! Happy 3rd Anniversary :)

  • Jana

    Thanks for the ideas! My first anniversary is coming up soon, as well as our anniversary for when we met – 4 years ago! My husband loves cooking, and the most fun times for him is when we try out a new recipe (me cleaning the dishes while he makes it dirty… by the time the food is done, it’s only our dishes that needs to be cleaned!). Being in South Africa, another awesome and relaxing date idea is to “braai” (barbequing on open flames) – just the two of us… Plus, eating from the grill as the meat, potatoes (or sweet potatoes) bread or veggie-kebab gets done, there’s also almost no dishes to do!

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Great idea!! I love how “braii” looks. Maybe I’ll start calling it that rather than BBQ :) .

    • Carlie Kercheval

      Jana, you are so welcome! Yes, bbq’ing is something we do together often as an “at home date”. Like your husband, my husband is a brilliant chef and I enjoy eating his braai :) Thanks for stopping by!

    • bobcat

      Oh how I miss you South Africa now, the meat is real good. I loved it especially in Capetown, lekker braii.

  • MrsATrimble

    These are some really great ideas and I’ll definitely print this for next year and years to come! My hubby and I are celebrating our first anniversary with a trip to San Francisco (5 days). I told him that after this, no more expensive trips..LOL.

    • Carlie Kercheval

      I am so glad my list can inspire you! Have a wonderful time In San Francisco! That is one of my favorite cities!

  • Jennifer L. Staples Carroll

    Love the ideas. My husband, Michael, has NOT given my anything for any of our anniversaries. Some I can understand with being gone. He being military, now he is not. We have married for 14 years. It will be 15 in January of 2014. We have been together many years before and friends even longer. I want to buy new rings that mark our 15th anniversary. Also do something special, but funds are not there. Would love to something in Downtown Charleston with family. Hopefully as a surprise all to him. Any ideas would be great. One more thing, our 15th is New Years Day.

  • Jacqueline Kurth

    Wow, I’ve been married almost 25 years. My husband has not participated in planning for our anniversaries. I decided that since this is our 25th, I’d prefer that he did. So I was fortunate and found your site, what brilliant fun ideas you have suggested.

    • http://www.learningtospeaklife.com/ Carlie Kercheval

      Jacqueline, thank you so much for stopping by! I am glad you liked my ideas :) I pray that you have a wonderful 25th anniversary!!

  • Ann

    My husband and I spent our second anniversary looking at our wedding video while eating cheap take out in our finest china at our coffee table – our only table on the living room floor.

  • Nicole

    last year, I got some card stock for a few dollars at the store and made custom coupons for my hubby to use whenever he wanted. They just said things like “good for 1 30-minute massage” and some were tailored to his specific personality like “Free to choose whats for dinner” (he LOVES mexican food and I hate it, so we don’t eat it often!) and then some of the more bedroom specific ones. He loved it! He said it was one of the best gifts he’s ever gotten. They were simple to make, I just cut the cards out the be the same size and tied a red ribbon around them to hold them in place!

  • Nicole

    We love to cook together, so our anniversary tradition is to make a gourmet picnic and go to a beautiful park.

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Oh, I’d love to do a gourmet picnic together too. We’ve done picnics but not gourmet. Adding that to the list… :)

  • Larissa

    Luckily, it’s only our first wedding anniversary(5th anniversary of being together) and that means the paper anniversary. My original plan(planned months ago) was to get my husband concert tickets and maybe a scrap book of our first year together. However – because of some negative things that have happened, the scrap book did not. The concert tickets are impossible right now because we are down to our last ten dollars until who knows when, which we need for gas to get to work. Just raided my MIL’s pantry & deep freeze. I’m going to dress up, make a nice meal for hubby and we are actually going to eat at the table for once. Also, anything on the list that hubby and I have any interest in doing, we do not just for our anniversary. We love and celebrate each other every day, but in the spirit of specialized anniversaries (i.e. paper), I’m going to make him a card…. Or maybe a bunch of paper cranes that say “I love you” and “Happy 1st Anniversary!” I just thought of that… He gets home in two hours so I better get moving!

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      So what did you end up doing, Larissa? Would love to know!

  • michelle

    I’m writing to let you know that the get ex back Magic Spell i did to get my ex back worked! I’m shocked at how fast things have turned around! I didn’t think it would happen this quickly to be honest. Jennifer and I have been having problems for a while now, on account of my stupid choices and horrible behavior. I’m ashamed and very sorry for what I have done to her and us. Things were ending fast and I wasn’t ready to let her go. I always knew I loved her and I realized I couldn’t live without. I pushed her so far away and I knew she just didn’t care anymore. She did mention several times to me that is was over and she wanted to just end it. That’s when I ordered the spell for lord azeez. I’m happy to say that she’s finally beginning to forgive me and get past all the issues we have. I’m really impressed! I didn’t think this would work, but I was out of options and had nothing to lose. All I have to say is I’m happy I did because I’m happier than I have been in a long time. I will never take her for granted ever again. I don’t want to lose her. I just wanted to thank lord azeez and share this testimonies with you lordazeez1990@hotmail.com

  • Nichole Sudal

    Love the baloon idea! Perfect for us, as we are on a budget b/c our anniversary is so close to Christmas, on New years eve.
    We have 3 kids that blow our budget so this is great! Thanks!

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club


  • Jennifer

    Our Anniversary is tomorrow…#13! We spent most of our money on the kids this Christmas, so we are going low key this year. Our sitter canceled too, so we have decided to include our two sweeties in our dinner & a movie. We will be seeing “Frozen”. We can celebrate alone later on in the evening;-)

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Happy 13th anniversary, Jennifer! Hope is was a fabulous one for you :) . What did you think about Frozen? The Hubs and I went to see that last week.

  • cyberviolet

    love these ideas, we r not on a budget but we have no one to babysit and decided we would treat the whole family to a new video game console & games, something even the lil ones can enjoy.we have agreed no pressies but he no doubt will do flowers , cant b the only one not doing n e thing so ur ideas r perfect so thank u. :)

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      So happy these were helpful!

  • Stacie

    I love these….thanks for sharing your creativity!

    • http://www.learningtospeaklife.com/ Carlie Kercheval

      You are very welcome, Stacie! Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Samantha Lang

    Our first wedded anniversary is coming up as well (July), and though no one’s mentioned this idea, and its not exactly CHEAP its a nice idea.

    When we moved in together we came with mismatched furniture, and just called it a day because we didn’t want to buy new furniture and “waste” money on stuff we could LIVE with.

    Though we can still live with our mismatched furniture, some of it is starting to deteriorate, so I am hoping to be able to replace all our “master bedroom” furniture with a real bedroom set vs. mismatched items, for our first wedding anniversary gift idea.

  • Rose A

    Love your ideas. We are married for 16 years and tomorrow June 5th is our anniversary. In the first few years we traveled a lot as missionaries to Africa and Asia. We always had our children with us. We usually go out to a fine dining and then watch a family movie at home. Since last couple of years we booked a family room in a hotel through tavelzoo.ca but this year we cant afford it so we are switching back to either fine dining or take out and a movie at home. One more thing even if we eat at home with our children we all dress up and take tons of pictures.

  • Marlene Gaston Sefiane

    Love these ideas! We celebrated our 2nd anniversary by cooking a meal together then had a candlelight dinner. It was the most fun we had!

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      Yeah!! Congratulations, Marlene! So happy you had a fabulous anniversary.

  • Rick

    Carlie, I found your article while searching for anniversary gift ideas.
    My wife and I have been together for 38 1/2 years, married for 35 of
    them. High school sweethearts. I remember the day we met and started
    dating, (April 14th 1976) and give her a card and a yellow rose on that
    day. Since we buy each other gifts throughout the year, unique gift
    ideas for our anniversary have gotten harder and harder to come up with.
    I usually come up with something really different each year. This year
    is the hardest of all. I am stumped. So I started asking the women I
    work with and searching the web for ideas for another special
    anniversary. I saw the link for your 25 ways article. Then i saw that it
    was on the “happywivesclub.com” site. I almost passed it by, but
    thought who better to ask but wives! I am glad that I clicked. Great
    ideas! i have done some of them before, but the others are pure gold and
    i will be using them this year. Thank you for the ideas! Rick

    • http://www.happywivesclub.com/ Fawn @ Happy Wives Club

      So glad you didn’t let that URL scare you off, Rick!

    • http://www.learningtospeaklife.com/ Carlie Kercheval

      Rick, thank you SO much for your kind words. They really mean a lot! I am so happy that you didn’t allow the blog title to deter you from visiting! Thank you for loving your wife for nearly 40 years. You are both a wonderful example of what marriage is all about! ~Carlie K.

  • Tiffany

    I am doing this tomorrow I will let you know how it goes… I reserved a hotel room (got a great price and room on priceline. ..4 star hotel 71.00 tax included!) I made a heart puzzle and cut it up in 15 puzzle peices (1 for each year of our marriage). On each piece I wrote something I love about him, a special memory, ect. Then I have made up a “scavenger hunt. The letter will be taped outside the door when he arrives explaining the game and the 1st clue. The letter then states once he has found all 15 peices he will see just what make my heart beat. ( oh and the clues all have to do with stuff he likes and his personality. .ie Use your Nutty personality to find the 1st peice and your next clue. The 1st item is peanut M&Ms his favorite candy.) Room and stuff for scavenger hunt… $81.00!

  • Cheryl Comeau

    My husband is a mans man, he would think most of this stuff is for sissies. He might like the ice-cream idea.