Recently the boyfriend and I celebrated the anniversary of when our relationship began. Aww, sweet, I know. We went for dinner. It was lovely and romantic, but it's not dinner I want to talk about; it's presents.
You see, the chap and I have this genius and fun way of doing anniversary gifts that a) keeps the cost down, b) means you don't have to spend hours trawling the shops umming and ahhing about whether something is "right" or not c) it's a lot more fun than just getting them any old cliched gift. We've been doing it for three years, so it's been tried and tested to assure it works, and now I'd like to share it with you.
The game is this: first you both need to agree on a budget. Maybe you'd like to put this into perspective in relation to how long you've been together? For example, in our first year we only agreed to spend a fiver on each other. Well, we had only been together for a year and not that we were wanting to be cynical or anything, but if we had split up I wouldn't be so narked off at having only spent £5 on him.
I don't understand those couples that celebrate three or six month anniversaries and spend hundreds of pounds on each other in order to prove and/or declare their love. Next thing you know, two months later the relationship has fallen apart and people are demanding to have stuff back.
"Well, I spent a trillion pounds on the two and three-quarter week anniversary gift I got you and now I want it back!"
Slight exaggeration there, but you get the picture. Quite why a soon-to-be ex would want the gifts back I don't know. Spite? To regift? Anyway, agreeing a lower budget when you first start out takes all this crap away and then you can obviously increase it year on year.
Like I said, we started with no more than a fiver on each other. Three years down the line we're up to only £15 on gifts. Not only does this mean we're not spending a stupid amount of money on each other, but it means that the money we do earn/save can go towards a nicer, shared experience instead. Often we spend it on an exceptionally fancy dinner and a good bottle of wine in a restaurant we wouldn't usually be able to afford to go to. Much more practical.
The other rule with the money thing is that under no circumstances are you allowed to go over budget. You can go under budget, but if you go even a penny or two over then shame on you, you ruined the challenge. This leads me nicely onto the second part of the game...
Pick a shop/store/website/goods outlet that reflects your budget. There's no point saying you only have a fiver to spend and deciding it has to be something from Selfridges. That's chuffing stupid. After all, it is your anniversary, so you want to get something at least a little bit decent, not just any old tat.
For example, for our first year celebrations we picked Argos as our shop of choice. A fiver can go a long way there, so it seemed like a sensible outlet and there's lots to choose from. I got a frozen beer cooler jacket (I drink a lot of beer) and he got a bedside lamp (he needed a lamp). Granted, they're not the most romantic gifts, but that's sort of the point as well; it forces you to put a little bit more thought into what you think you're partner will appreciate, but takes away the bullshit of going over the top. It also makes for a good conversation point and can be stupidly funny.
Since then we've done £10 from Amazon and £15 from Camden Market - the main market by the station, not the whole town as a market. Next year we're doing £20 and it has to be something from a charity shop (any charity shop in London), which should be interesting as it will be so pot luck as to what's in there!
So, there you have it. A sure-fire way to add a fun, interesting and true element of surprise when it comes to buying anniversary gifts. No more tacky, 'romantic' From Me To You bear gifts around here.
If you choose to use/repost this idea, that's cool, but drop me a line to let me know how it goes or give a link to my blog and original post :-) -x-