The following is a post by staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers living expenses, saving for your future, and the fun stuff along the way.
In the Beginning
In college, Mr. BFS and I spent weeks thinking of the perfect gift ideas for each other. We also paid a pretty penny to bring those gifts about. We definitely did not go the homemade gifts route.Â I remember spending $100 on our first Valentine’s Day together on candy and a couple of video games I knew he wanted. This was when $100 was what I used for my groceries for 2 weeks or more and it took me 20 hours of my part-time work to earn.
I also remember him shelling out hundreds of dollars on date nights before I started sneaking $20 bills into his wallet. He was of the mind that I shouldn’t have to pay and I thought that he shouldn’t be the only one contributing. I didn’t tell him what I was doing until a few months later, lol. After that, we knew we were getting married anyway, so we didn’t care who paid and severely cut back on our random spending. Ah, young love. :-)
After Getting Hitched
After we tied the knot, we spent even more on getting each other the items we knew the other wanted but would never splurge on. For example, about 3 years ago, I bought hubby the whole original “Get Smart” series without shopping around – there went $220. He was so happy but we have yet to finish watching all of it.
He’d then turn around and buy me whatever was on my mind at the time, like my opal earring and necklace set or even the Miche purse I wanted – girly stuff I normally avoid but he knows I was eyeing.
This system was working for us but the longer we are together and the more money we make, the harder finding the perfect gift is and the more expensive it seems to be.
Recently, we have started giving each other more experiences and less physical stuff. For my last two birthdays, Mr. BFS has taken me out for Italian food (which I adore and he’s just okay with) and then we fed the ducks at the nearby “lake”. It was so much fun! I love having the ducks surround us and tentatively peck cracked corn out of our cups!
For his last two birthdays, I have found great deals on a few board games he wanted and threw him a board gaming potluck birthday party at our house with all of our friends. At this last one, he stayed up until 2-3am gaming and happily asked for the exact same party for all of his birthdays to come, lol.
We still have consumer wants that we save for, like a new laptop since our oldest one is slowly giving out on us, but we just seem to have far fewer wants and spend way less. Hanging with our friends, feeding the ducks, or even a fun date night makes me happier than any piece of jewelry ever could. Plus we are now using the hundreds that we were spending on stuff for multiple vacations throughout the year. We both love vacations. This just makes sense for us.
Do you and your significant other have a system? What works for you?