In a time where we’ve resorted to Netflix & chill dates (guilty as charged), it seems all the more daunting to plan a romantic night out on a budget. However, it is possible to celebrate your anniversary with your main squeeze without forgoing your retirement plan.
When you shift the idea to spending quality time together rather than on pricey gifts, it’s simple to plan a romantic anniversary date that focuses on the love you share rather than the money you spend. Real talk: nothing breeds affection quite like a unique experience together or a thoughtful handcrafted scrapbook of your inside jokes.
Leave the box of chocolates to Forrest Gump, here are my favorites ways to celebrate a romantic anniversary, inexpensively:
Even better if you’re no Barefoot Contessa, making a mess is part of the fun! Search for a recipe you’ve both been dying to try and plan a night in your aprons. Even better, attempt to recreate a dessert you’ve both shared before. Fondue is next on our list!
Go back to your middle school days, minus the braces, and spend a night at a rockin’ bowling alley. Splitting an appetizer of bar food and perfecting your strike are sure to spark some friendly competition. For another challenge, keep the bumpers up and see who can get the lowest score. It’s more difficult than it sounds!
Reenact Your First Date
Flashback to your initial time together and reminisce about those seemingly unimportant details from that night. Seeing how your relationship has grown is sure to give you all the feels.
Spending time outdoors is a great way to disconnect from the rest of the world. When you’re surrounded by trees and trails, the only thing you have to pay attention to is each other. Plus, working up a sweat is a great aphrodisiac.
Wine/Whiskey Tasting Night
Stroll through your local wine shop and pick up a couple of inexpensive bottles to try. Split a cheese and fruit plate while creating your own score card (or steal this one here) and have fun sampling different beverages. Or, per my boyfriend’s request, try a whiskey or scotch tasting instead.
Dust off your Nintendo 64 and start competing for the trophy in Mario Kart. My S.O. and I invested in Guitar Hero to create our own mini-concerts in the living room. If it’s the closest I’ll ever come to get to being in No Doubt, I’ll take it.
Take your video gaming out to the nearest mall and have a battle at skeeball. Split a slushi and see if your Pac-Man skills have improved since middle school. The best part? Giving your winning tickets away to the closest 6 year old around you.
While this should be the only time you look at your phone during any anniversary celebrations, new apps are a great way to find a creative outing. We’re currently obsessed with Spotluck, a mobile spinner that chooses a restaurant in your area to eat at along with preferred pricing. It’s presently only in the DMV region, but keep your eye out! You can always resort to the classic Groupon for a couples’ massage discount or LivingSocial for a rock-climbing excursion markdown
Specifically, with no destination in mind. Create a scavenger beforehand with various tasks to complete along the way. Include items such as taking a picture of a local tourist attraction, eat at a 24 hour diner and find a literary gem from a used bookstore. Plan a playlist of favorite songs from your relationship to listen to along the way. K-Ci and Jojo are not optional.
Lastly, spend an afternoon with your artistic hats on. Rather than focusing on the next home project (ugh), make a whiteboard to hang up for you both to write thoughtful notes on each morning. Or, fill a mason jar with inexpensive date ideas so you never run out.
How do you and your partner-in-crime like to celebrate your anniversary?
Since we both share in our love for the outdoors, we plan hikes in local parks with a picnic along the way. We also like to spend the day doing some of our favorite activities, i.e. sleeping in, hitting balls at the golf range and splitting take-out Thai food. Perfection.