You’re dead set on giving your SO something special to celebrate one year together, but unfortunately, you’re also on a super tight budget. As they say, it’s the thought that counts, which means the best gifts don't have to come with a hefty price tag. In fact, there are a plethora of free one-year anniversary gifts you can give your partner that only cost a little time, thought, and effort on your part.
The key to coming up with an anniversary gift that will blow bae’s mind is to give some thought to what’s special or unique about your relationship. Better yet, take their love language into account. If your SO values quality time, for example, then planning a romantic homemade dinner will surely win them over. Or, if acts of service are the way they prefer to receive love, then you may want to consider how you could make their life easier.
A one-year anniversary is an exciting milestone, and you certainly want to show your boo that you value the time you’ve spent together thus far. The good news is, you don’t have to drain your bank account to do that. Here are a few gifts that don’t cost a cent, yet are essentially guaranteed to leave them speechless.
Odds are, you have a blank journal or notebook lying around somewhere. So, why not use it to let your SO know just how much you appreciate them? BTW, this is a phenomenal gift idea if their love language is words of affirmation. All you have to do is write out a different reason you’re grateful for them on a separate page, and they can read through them all at once, or open a new page every day. The reasons can range from “You let me pick the restaurant,” and “You make a killer grilled cheese,” to “You’re the best sounding board when I need to vent,” and “You’re a grade-A big spoon.”
By the way, if you don’t have a journal on hand, you could also write the reasons on scraps of paper, and create a gratitude jar instead.
If your SO is all about physical touch, or even if they’ve just been super stressed with work lately, an at-home massage is a stellar way to express your love while also helping them to decompress.
Start by looking up some pro massage tips online. You can even watch a few YouTube videos to get some visual assistance on certain techniques. Then, when you want to set the scene, turn on some relaxing music, light some candles, and bust out some oil or lotion to match the real spa experience.
It goes a little something like this. “What do you want to do tonight?” “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” “I don’t care, what do you want to do?” If you and your boo always end up strapped for ideas on date night, then this anniversary gift could be a godsend. Simply write out a dozen or so activities (one for each month) on strips of paper, and stick them in a glass jar to keep the romance rolling all year long. Next time you and bae need some inspiration, you can reach into the jar and choose an itinerary at random.
Love Coupon Book
Think of this idea as the gift that keeps on giving. First, start by thinking of cute little acts of service or favors you could offer your partner — for example, letting them pick the takeout joint, or making them breakfast in bed. The more creative you can get with these, the better. A "Get Out Of Trouble Free" coupon or one that promises total control over the thermostat for a night are just a couple of playful ideas that are bound to make your boo smile. Then, on individual slips of paper, type or write “This coupon is good for [XYZ idea],” hole punch each coupon once, and slide them all onto a key ring.
"Where We Met" Map
Step one: Do a Google search for the exact location where you met, whether it’s your office, a restaurant where you had your first date, or a friend’s house party where you happened to cross paths. Once you’ve located it, print out the Google Maps image on a sheet of paper with the words “Where We Met” at the top. Stick it in a frame if you happen to have one on hand, or otherwise, you can paste it onto matboard, cardboard, or cardstock. It’s a piece of art that your boo can hang anywhere their heart desires — and best of all, that will remind them of where your love story began.
You and your SO have undoubtedly shared a slew of heartwarming memories over the last year. So, why not leverage those and create a nostalgic booklet to remind your boo of all the things you’ve done together?
There are multiple ways to go about this, depending on what materials you have on hand. If you happen to have a deck of cards, consider typing and printing or writing out 52 individual memories, and pasting each on a different playing card. Once you’ve filled the whole deck, hole punch the deck of cards twice and use ribbon or twine to bind them, making a little booklet. You can also simply cut printer paper in half or use index cards instead.
Whichever way you choose to put your booklet together, keep in mind that the little memories count, too — even that time you tried to make vegan chili (and totally failed), or got snowed in for three days, or played hooky from work together.
Letters To “Open When…”
You know how your SO is the first person you call or text when you’re bumming about something or just got bad news? The idea behind this gift is to make sure bae has some encouraging words from you whenever they need it, too. On a stack of envelopes, write out specific situations like “When You’re Missing Me,” “When You’re Feeling Stressed,” or “When You Need A Boost Of Confidence.” Then, pen a different letter tailored to each set of circumstances.
While this gift works for any couple, it’s an especially meaningful idea if you’re in a long-distance relationship, because it can help your partner to feel your presence no matter the circumstances, even when you’re not physically nearby.