Celebrating your anniversary doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. Sometimes the best things in life really are (almost) free; here are some affordable ways to mark the occasion.
1. Ink the deal
Mark the occasion--literally!--by getting inked together. But forget elaborate snakes and professions of love on a dagger--which would kill the budget (not only now, but in 20 years when you're getting them removed)--and opt instead for a small symbol like a heart or initials where only the two of you can see.
2. Go au naturel
Get your libido going with some fresh air! Start off with a (free!) hike or bike ride through some of your town's best paths. Just stop off at the grocery store en route for some picnic accoutrements and you're all set.
3. Switch up your foreplay
Whether it's your first or your 10th, anniversary sex is always hotly anticipated. Make it a year to remember with a little 9 1/2 Weeks action. Start off with a bowl of melted chocolate, buy a couple of brushes from any craft store, and create Picasso-like works of lickable art on each other. Kink, food and a couple's bubble bath to get clean? Lather, rinse, repeat!
4. Recreate your big day
Proposed at a lake in the throes of a sunset? Married on a sunny beach? Recreate these memories with a few key essentials: Sand, candles and flowers can all be found at reasonable prices. Look for mood-setting sunset or ocean DVDs to play in the background as you nibble on dessert.
Revisit your innocent beginnings, when silly and carefree was the order of the day. A fifty will keep you in wave pools, mini-golf courses, arcades and roller/ice rinks--not to mention your fill of hot dogs and pop--as long as you have the stamina.
6. Go vintage
Themes are always fun, and vintage is in vogue. Mix the two and create a '50s-themed date. Think a trip to an authentic diner, sharing a milkshake, and an evening at the local drive-in for a double feature and some good old-fashioned back-seat play.
7. Clink it
Love a good Shiraz? Or slurping a fine Cabernet? Toast your coupledom--and all the memories you're making together--by finding bottles of wine from the year you met, the year you got engaged or the year you were married.
8. Race each other
Lead your partner through a literal trip down memory lane with an Amazing Race-style romp around your city. Use meaningful sites (e.g. the location of your first kiss) and scavenger hunt-type clues (e.g. "Find the CD of the band from our first concert together"). The major cost here is time, so prepare well ahead, and do a dry run to see if it all works according to plan.
Want to go all out for your anniversary celebration? Check out our list of favorite anniversary splurges.
Image(s): Stefano Borsani