No to Anniversary Gifts. Yes to Anniversary Adventures!

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If I did my job right, we’re out the door right now heading to an undisclosed location, about to do undisclosed things (ow ow!). It’s our 3-year anniversary which means I have to put on the charm and make sure I’m doing my husbandly duties ;) Do any of y’all remember when I live-blogged at the wedding?! Haha… it was in the very beginning of my blogging addiction.

But unlike Valentine’s Days or Birthdays, we always choose to GO somewhere over buying each other gifts for our anniversaries. It always seems way more romantic being in a new place celebrating rather than our homes. Even though it may be more expensive depending on *where* we go… Our 1st anniversary we hit up a bed and breakfast in Charlottesville, VA (one of the most beautiful places around!!!), and we walked all over town exploring and soaking in the culture while there. One of my favorite places was Monticello – home of the good ol’ Thomas Jefferson! (who actually died in debt, btw). It was pretty splendid. Especially the part where we “accidentally” ran into a fellow personal finance blogger out there ;) Haha…oops.

Our 2nd Anniversary was celebrated half-way across the world during our 10-Day Eurotrip. There were about 12 of us there all traveling around, but there’s nothing like being surrounded by a handful of your closest friends on your special day anyways :) It was definitely an adventure. And definitely expensive too! (For an anniversary trip at least, the entire trip cost around $4,500 which wasn’t *too* bad for a 2 person trip for 10 days, but it was still a pretty penny at the end of the day).

Just like anything else in life though, it’s all about the priorities. I know $X amount saved for X amount of years will make me a bazillionaire some day, but in cases like these the spending of it far outweighs the future potential benefits.  At least when it comes to a marriage :) Although I’ve never tried getting the wife a savings bond or a handful of stocks before! haha… if that doesn’t scream I Love You, I don’t know what does!

So as you read this today, please send over some happy thoughts that I’m being a gentleman and treating the wife like she’s supposed to be treated.  I told her that every time I slip and talk about my blog I have to do an errand for her when we get back. And 24 hours is a loooooong time to be on my best behavior!! :)

What do you guys do for anniversaries?  Do any of you put spending caps on gifts?

(Photo by Xanetia)

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  1. Niki May 31, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    I am a fan of this. I don’t think I have gotten a gift in years, but we have spent our anniversaries doing things like going on top of the space needle or rock climbing.

  2. cashflowmantra May 31, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    This is a great idea. My brother-in-law stuck all 50 states in a hat. They draw one out each year and take an anniversary trip to that particular state and find things to do there. Sounds like you are doing something similar. Blogging at your wedding? Interesting. The internet didn’t exist when I got married. How about them apples?

  3. Mysti May 31, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    Our anniversary is 1 month after Christmas, so we have never really done much for it (other than our 1st anniversary).

    Keep up the good work….my husband decided to check out of our marriage awhile ago….and cheated on me….and now we are trying to put the pieces back together. If you don’t tend your marriage….it dies.

  4. Kevin @ May 31, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    I’ve been with my girlfriend close to 2 years, and I don’t think we’ve ever got each other gifts. We always do something together for birthdays and other special occasions

  5. Trinnie May 31, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Normally we like to travel…however, the past couple of years have kinda put a damper on that due to work…but it is what it is! Last year, my wonderful hubby gave me my Kindle, which has totally been one of the best gifts ever!

    You and Mrs. J$ have a wonderful anniversary, and congrats!

  6. Rafiki May 31, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Happy Anniversary. Don’t try checking the blog if she takes a nap either, that would be cheating.

  7. Brian May 31, 2011 at 10:17 AM

    Happy Anniversary. I just stumpled upon your blog last week, and have been reading your posts and really enjoy your style.

    The old lady and I got married on Leap Day in 2008, so we haven’t had an annivesary yet. I made her a deal that when the actual 29th rolled around we would go on a trip out of the country. We are currently decided where we want to go (we are down to Australia, Singapore or Italy).

    In the off years we typically go on a weekend trip a couple hours from home and explore the local area and look for a winery (we have a goal of getting a local bottle of wine from each state, then having a blow out tasting party for a few of our closest friends).

  8. Katie May 31, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    Happy Anniversary! I concur that the memories made actually DOING something is worth MUCH more than something that will end up in the donation bin or trash later on down the road. Besides, better get that traveling in before the kids arrive!!!!! (I really hope I am not jinxing you!!!! :) )

  9. Jen May 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Happy Anniversary! It’s so sweet when guys make a point to do something special like you are. I’m sure your wife appreciates and loves it.

    My honey and I do the same thing, aside from a 10-day EuroTrip, which would totally rock. Buying gifts just seems so impersonal to us when we can make a new exciting memory.

  10. LLF May 31, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Some times, you should slurge a little, and this is an excellent occassion to do that. What’s the point of saving if you don’t ever enjoy any of it?

  11. retirebyforty May 31, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Have a great time! I’ve been terrible this year about birthday, mother’s day and ….
    The baby just keeps us so busy and we can’t go anywhere. Hopefully we can do something for our anniversary later this year.

  12. Sara May 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    This is similar to what we do. We generally go on trips, go out to eat, etc – all experiential things instead of STUFF. Also we set rules for Christmas spending – usually the gift has a theme of some sort, such as “must be made”, and then we may do a spending limit on that also. It forces us to be creative, and our parents are already intent on buying us nicer STUFF since we literally don’t let them pay for anything else in our lives, so there’s no need for us to put out gobs of money on each other.

  13. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter May 31, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    My hubby and I were guilty of going bananas when we were first together with gifts. We went way overboard. Now we still get each other nice things once in a while but we put our main focus on experiences together or shared items that we can both enjoy, i.e. things for the house.

  14. Amy May 31, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    We made a commitment to stick to the traditional anniversary gift list-, which has forced us to be creative and put some thought into each other’s gifts, and pretty much requires us to not spend very much. This year we’ll be celebrating our 8th anniversary, which means we’ll be looking to get something made out of bronze or pottery. I think I might have us go to a paint your own pottery place, which will then also be an experiential gift.

  15. Crystal May 31, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Happy Anniversary!!!

    Mr. BFS and I just celebrated our 6th year anniversary and he surprised me with a very cool desk to blog from at home! I am super happy and am now cleaning out the guest bedroom to make a 2nd office (we don’t have kids or overnight guests, so I have no idea why I didn’t do this sooner!!!). By the end of the summer, I will have a great blogging office, but I’m still trying to keep showing up at work until December so we can build up some financial padding…it’s getting harder to make that commute every day…

  16. Yana May 31, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    An anniversary is not that much different from any other occasion, to us, other than it seems like an excuse to spend bigger. When we want something out of budget, we try to find an excuse to buy it – and occasions are the excuses we use most. When we got our new car, we called it an anniversary gift. I admired a very expensive piece of jewelry online a couple of years ago, not thinking at all of getting it, but my husband practically forced me to buy it – I think that was another anniversary. Basically, we don’t make big purchases often, but we like occasions because they seem like the best excuse to buy something pricey, if we can afford it.

  17. Cat May 31, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    I love travelling. I think that’s a great idea!

  18. Barb Friedberg May 31, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    My hubby is still romantic after many years of marriage. Although he buys me gifts, I prefer small momentos. We love to travel, go to shows in NYC, and spend lots of time reliving our experiences and memories.

  19. Alotta Lettuce May 31, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Dude and I are coming up on our second anniversary and are having a tough time deciding how to celebrate.

    As a general rule, I prefer experiences to things while dude prefers, well, both. Ha! However, we just had a really incredible European vacation 2 months ago, so our travel budget (both money AND time) is pretty non-existent at the moment. We’ve thought about doing a short weekender close to home, but every time I think about dropping a few hundred bucks to go just a few hours away, I resist, because I know we could spend slightly more and go much further.

    Last year we actually bought a piece of art for our home – something I love, but don’t necessarily want to do again.

    If I’m being honest, what I REALLY want for our wedding anniversary is to rip out the carpet in our basement family room and install laminate floors. Sexy and romantic it is not, but DAMN! We’d surely enjoy them for years to come.

  20. Ross @ Go Be Rich June 1, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    It’s funny I came across your blog today, as just last week I was up in Charlottesville, Virginia. I also checked out Monticello while I was there and it was freakin’ awesome! (interesting side note, even after selling his library, the largest library in the North American continent, to congress in an attempt to get out of debt, he was still nowhere close to solvent… that library started the Library of Congress).

    We also checked out Monroe’s farmhouse down the way from Monticello as well… much less grand than Jefferson’s crib.

    As far as commenting on the whole anniversary thing, I think I’ll pass. No wife for me for a long while I’m thinking.

  21. J. Money June 1, 2011 at 10:38 PM

    Thanks for all the kinds words, friends :) I’m back now and we had a killer time! Much better to come back to blogging “work” than real work like last year, haha… hope everyone’s doing well!

    @Niki – Yes! That is awesome! Experiences that will live a loooooong time…. until you both get old and forget everything ;) (But then who cares about gifts anyways? Haha…)
    @cashflowmantra – Wowwwwwwww now THAT is a great idea!!! I am SO trying that next year. You wait and see ;)
    @Mysti – SAD FACE!!!! :( I am so sorry to hear that, that blows… us men can be a$$holes sometimes, no doubt about it. I hope things get better for you two, however way that works out!
    @Kevin @ – We’ll see when you get married ;) (oh crap, does she read this blog too? Did I spoil your surprise? I mean…)
    @Trinnie – Thanks Trinnie! The kindle is a great idea for sure for you :)
    @Rafiki – HAH! Too late. I “cheated” like 10 times…. turns out when you go away for a day everything likes to blow up ;)
    @Brian – Yes! Brilliant!!! And so cool y’all decided to get married on that day too, that’s fun :) If you allow me to cast a vote in your travels, I say Australia all the way… it’s the one place I’ve always wanted to go but can never figure out when or how or anything… I’ve managed to get to Italy and all over Europe and the states, but Australia is so elusive! haha… thanks for the positive notes too, means a lot :) welcome to the blog, my friend.
    @Katie – Ack!!! But I can say we’re still “practicing” for them! hahaha… zing!
    @Jen – Yay!!! You should totally try out bed and breakfasts if you haven’t already, they’re so charming :)
    @LLF – No doubt about it!
    @retirebyforty – Babies are good excuses though ;) Much better making sure all is good in that home front than frollicking around town! Haha…
    @Sara – Great idea! We have a cap on Xmas and Bday gifts too – and also homemade stuff at times, but usually we run out of ideas after 3 in a row, haha… it def. makes it fun though :)
    @Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter – Us too :) But then it came to the point that we didn’t really *need* much and would go shopping last minute looking for stuff just for the sake of it. It’s great if we got each other something we really wanted, but usually we just get it ourselves when that comes up, haha… glad you guys are having fun exploring too!
    @Amy – Hey! That’s an excellent idea, I like that! Never seen that list either, that’s pretty detailed, haha…
    @Crystal – Congrats on the 6 years!! And GREAT to the blogging desk! We are in the *exact* same situation w/ a 2nd room and no kids, etc, and I just did that in December :) Though I must say I rarely go in there to blog, haha… but when I do it’s nice and setup for me! You will love having your own office :)
    @Yana – That’s a good way to look at it all too. Whatever works!
    @Cat – Thanks Cat :)
    @Barb Friedberg – Yay! Your husband seems like a wonderful man :)
    @Alotta Lettuce – Haha you should go for it then!!! Or at least start saving for it and THEN do it :) I’d probably count your European trip as our anniversary gift to each other, but that’s just me. Gotta make sure that budget stays on track, baby!
    @Ross @ Go Be Rich – HAH! Awesome!!! Did you know James Madison’s place was 40 mins away too??? We recently went there and it was pretty cool too :) I forgot Monroe’s was around there or else we’d have hit it up at the same time! Looks like we’ll have to go bakc, haha… thx for stopping by my friend.

  22. bleu June 2, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    I’m a little late, but Happy Anniversary! I agree with the trips and no gifts… life is about experiences and that is what people remember the most. Enjoy!

  23. 20 and Engaged June 2, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    Congratulations on 3 years! We just celebrated 12 days :) hehe. That’s actually a great idea, to go on trips instead of gifts. We “Santa Claus” each other throughout the year, so anniversary gifts are way too predictable. Looks like I have to not only plan a honeymoon, but our first anniversary trip too lol

  24. J. Money June 2, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    @bleu – Thank you!! It was a great GREAT day for us! :)
    @20 and Engaged – CONGRATS!!!! That is awesome!! Soak it all in and enjoy this special time of your lives – it’s a really magical on!!! (man that sounds cheesy, haha… but so true!)

  25. P June 4, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Happy anniversary!

    I like the idea of going some place instead of just doing gifts, but it depends on the people in the relationship – some people like gifts better.

    I’m with you on spending some money now instead of saving it all for when you’re 65. Saving all that money for you and your spouse to spend in 40 years is great – if you’re both going to be around. But there are no guarantees in life. Hubby and I have sometimes spent money on trips, even though it could have been more wisely spent on paying off debt. Why? Because we want to have fun along the way. We don’t want to get to 40/50/60 and say, ‘Wow, I’m so glad we didn’t ever go on any trips’. Or, if (God-forbid) something happens to one of us, I don’t think it would be great to be the spouse left behind and sitting there thinking ‘Well, I’m so glad we never did anything together’. Now, I know there has to be some balance and there are free things to do and what-not. But sometimes, a trip out of town is really worth the money spent. (Sorry, J, I hope that wasn’t a downer for your anniversary – the point I was trying to make is that I think it’s great you’re taking some time and spending a bit of money to go on trips together.)

  26. Super Frugalette June 5, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    For my 5th anniversary, I received diamond earrings…I know I should have oohed and ahhed…but I looked at the cut, color, setting and the price tag. My husband had been hoodwinked. I took back the $600 1/4 karat earrings (H, I2) set in platinum and replaced them with 1/3 karat E color martini set, white gold screw back earrings I got on Amazon for $400.

    I have worn them every day since…

  27. J. Money June 5, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    @P – Haha, I read ya loud and clear! :) I agree we gotta live it up every now and then and enjoy life NOW, while at the same time saving for later too. I don’t think drastically saving or drastically spending is good for anyone. Gotta find that nice balance and prioritize depending on what’s most important to you in life. If seeing the world is, great! Get it in when you can, and cut down in the areas you don’t care as much for. It doesn’t matter what you’re spending your money on, as long as you’re cool with it and it follows along your game plan. And for us, trips are currently our favorites :)
    @Super Frugalette – Hahahahha… a woman who know what she wants! I love it.

  28. Barb Friedberg June 7, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    @Super Frugalette- I’ll let you in on a secret. I like my cubic zirconium earrings better than the “real” diamond ones!

  29. Super Frugalette June 7, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    @Barb Friedberg …but do your cubic zirconium have screwback posts? I never have to take mine out or worry about them falling out. I even sleep in my diamonds. After I lost a tanzanite earring from Mr. SF on an escalator, I did not want to run the risk of losing something precious again. .

  30. J. Money June 12, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    yeah, I need screw backs for my diamonds too! I even lost one of them the other week and too afraid to put it back on w/out the correct backing… I sleep in mine all the time too except for soccer games when the refs yell at me ;)

  31. Slinky June 28, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    As we were planning our wedding we made the decision that we would NOT stress over everything the day of. The day before we would bring everything down to the hotel to store for the next day and have the rehearsal and dinner. Once everything was at the hotel, that was it. That was the point where if it wasn’t done, it wasn’t getting done and we weren’t going to worry about it.

    Well, I secretly scheduled an appointment at the hotel spa to have a couple’s mineral bath (think hot tub sort of bath) followed by an hour couple’s massage to end right before the rehearsal dinner. So we ran around like crazy the week before and had a crazy day getting everything down to the hotel where we were getting married. Then we went down to the spa and had this absolutely wonderful, relaxing afternoon with just the two of us and a couple of glasses of wine. It was so nice to have that transition from crazy planning to just enjoying it all.

    Since we enjoyed it so much and it was where our wedding was, we decided that we should go back each year, have another spa afternoon, go to the restaurant for dinner, and then go up to the martini lounge to finish out the night. We also really enjoyed our honeymoon and would love to go back there (St. Lucia) for some of the “big” anniversaries.