The benefit of not asking for a specific gift.

Not asking for gift

What a title. I knew what I wanted to write about some time ago, as I have been dealing with this particular topic in my marriage a lot lately between Christmas, my birthday, and now our 1 Anniversary! But I spent my entire day thinking about what to title the blog, how to get my point across. I didn’t want to be like, “Why I’m not asking for a gift for my anniversary.”– it’s not that I don’t want anything, not that I need anything but…well,you get it. Obviously I am welcoming gifts but I’m not asking for anything specific. So, I decided to just say it. No matter how jumbled it may seem. My brain has been fried for the past week so clever phrases just isn’t coming to me. Bear with me.

ANYWAYS, I’m not asking for anything specific for my anniversary. I didn’t feel like it for Christmas either or my birthday about a month ago. My husband was like “Babe, please. Just make a list of things you would want and i’ll pick some things out. You won’t know which ones you get.” There’s nothing terrible about doing that. I ended up caving and giving him a list for both by pinning things I liked. It just seemed to be the less stressful route for him, he is so nervous about getting me something I don’t like- like that could happen. I told him he could pick a rock off the ground and give it to me and I would love it just because he thought to get me something. I ended up getting some things on my list and off my list, and I was super grateful and I loved them all- even the ones I didn’t pick out, actually, especially the one’s I hadn’t picked out.

Which is why when our anniversary began to sneak up, I realized that I had everything I wanted for one and for two I found it to be the perfect opportunity to let my husband uses his very creative brain (he is a genius when it comes to art) and let him do the gift shopping. Now, I will say this- he has had the entire anniversary planned since last year. I have nooooo idea what he has planned for the evening, so I am getting surprised and I am SUPER excited to see what he has planned. You see, I am the planner in the relationship. He is coming to me often asking about what plans we have. I love to plan, he doesn’t really care for it- so it’s a win/win! But he is actually planning all of this by himself and it wasn’t even my idea, so I am over the moon excited to see what the night will entail.

But back to my reasoning, and this is all manners aside because as good manners it’s not in our best interest to just list off all of our wants. And my point doesn’t just apply to my marriage or just to romantic relationships, it applies to any kind of relationship one can have. I believe when we ask and receive the gift becomes sort of “matter of fact” so to speak. Like we are just buying these gifts because it’s part of whatever scenario we find ourselves in. Like an anniversary, a birthday, a shower, etc.

We have heard it time and time again but I don’t think many of us actually sat down and took in the meaning, “it’s the thought that counts”. I have heard it so many times that it becomes just a polite way to tell someone “it doesn’t matter what you get me” or “oh, it doesn’t matter that it’s the wrong size” to avoid awkwardness when a gift doesn’t work out. But as I have experienced these past gift giving holidays with my husband and his request of lists is that the thought truly does matter. What is a gift when someone gets it for you just because they are supposed to? Some may say, “Who cares? Free gifts!” but really- do you want a gift because someone feels obligated to get you one (again, some of us may be down for this) and so they just pick up something you said you wanted or do you want one that someone sat down and took time out of their day to think about you, what you like, what you’re into, what you may wear, that sort of stuff? Then they spend time searching for something that reminds you of them in some way, something they point at and say “She would love this!”

What it boils down to is this, a gift is a gift when it comes to you because you asked for it or the person felt obligated but when you get a gift that someone picked out with you in mind, it comes with an extra bit of love. Sure, people will get you gifts because they love you and want you to have what you want/need, my husband and anyone else out there that does this has the best of intentions and any gift is more than enough, but when you give a gift from thought, you are giving a gift of love. I would rather my husband go and grab me a random rock out of the driveway with thought behind it than get me the most perfect purse I told him I wanted. I will always value thought over convenience, personal over impersonal. While I will love any and every gift I will ever be given, if you can go without asking, the benefit is much bigger. It truly is the thought that counts. 

Do you like to give gifts from the heart, or is it more practical to just get someone what they need? What’s your take on the matter? I love hearing your thoughts! ❤

How to have date night when it isn’t in your budget.

Date night Budget

The traditional date night for most couples include dinner and a movie. That is what usually comes to everyone’s mind when they hear date night. Going to dinner and a movie is probably my favorite thing to do. But by the time you buy dinner and then movie tickets (maybe some movie snacks too) that can cost around $100. Which is A LOT of money. My husband and I love, love, LOVE date night which always includes a nice, yummy dinner at our favorite restaurants. We love to eat and we love to be with each other. Since we began to save money though, we knew that spending $60+ a week going out to JUST eat wasn’t helping our savings goal any and that we needed to make some changes. Now, at first that sounds like we just need to throw out date night’s for awhile. That’s probably the first thought that comes to mind but me and my husband cherish our date night’s and our time out on the town together so we found ways to save money but still be able to go out together.

Me and my husband have been working hard to save money to buy a house later this year. We are starting from scratch so we have to buy all of the big pieces of furniture, the appliances, and everything else a house needs. That can cost quite a bit of money so we have to save quite a bit in a short period of time- we are looking to start house hunting in August. So all of our spare money has been going into our savings account. My husband and I really consider ourselves blessed to be able to save money at all because once upon a time a savings account was something we hoped to have, but didn’t “have” the money for. We’ll save that story and the transformation we made for another day though! 🙂

Whether you are on a smaller budget due to saving money like my husband and I, or maybe you simply just can’t afford it (I have been there myself), there are still ways to have date nights with your husband that doesn’t include spending lots of money, that we all can afford. Let’s take a look!

  1. Dessert Dates: My husband and dessert, my two favorite things in the world. So a dessert date is something I look forward to. It’s cheap but still very pleasing. Instead of going out for dinner and spending $40, $50, or even $60+ go grab some dessert. That can be donuts, a milkshake, a cupcake, or maybe coffee is more your thing. All of those things are budget friendly but really delicious. You can go after dinner or in the middle of the day. Who says you can’t have dessert before dinner? You can still get dressed up if you fancy, you can still get out of the house and go in somewhere and enjoy a nice treat. Each and every town usually has somewhere that serves some or all of the things I listed. Even if it’s just Dairy Queen. So get your hubby and go grab a booth at Dunkin Donuts and enjoy looking into each other’s eyes, while you enjoy your sweet treat over a loving conversation.
  2. Split an Entree: When my husband and I first got together we put on a lot of weight. We were going out to eat 2-3 times a week and eating huge portioned meals. Now, 3 years later, we are watching our portions (see my post here about how I have lost over 25 pounds) and weighing in less on the scale. I always joke about how my husband and I did it backwards. We gained all the weight in the beginning and then lost it after we got married- a lot of people do it the other way around. But, now we know what a good portion looks like and I can tell you this much- the entrees you get at restaurants are at least 3 servings. The entrees you get are not good for you to just sit down and devour in one sitting. Ask my scale about how my weight shot up when I thought that way. So when you go out, split an entree! You guys may share a favorite, which is even better for this but if you have 2 different favorites you can take turns ordering each other’s favorite. My husband and I split this bigger than life sized plate of nacho’s from our favorite Mexican restaurant and we both leave stuffed with a bit of food left on the plate. We order the entree and just ask for an extra plate. We split it up and are happy with our bill when it comes. It is half the price of what it would normally be. We leave with our tummies full, our hearts happy, and our wallets satisfied. You can even do this with an appetizer and order 2 side salads or enjoy some free bread with the appetizer if the place you go to hands those out- many of them do. Even better, just order some side salads and eat the free bread. See all of the alterations you can make? All for an awesome price and all of those things will fill you up.
  3. 1 date a month: if you really love eating at a certain restaurant and each getting your own certain items, then schedule it for once a month instead of weekly or bi-weekly. You can sit $10-$15 up each week and by the end of the month you have $40-$60 saved up just for the dinner at your favorite place. This way you aren’t spending $50 a week and instead you are only spending it once a month but still getting the kind of food you want.
  4. Pick and Choose date: When you go out to eat AND go see a movie that can cost up to $100. Which is really expensive. So pick just one to do that week and save the other for later. You can go out to dinner and then come home and watch a movie or you can have a nice dinner at home and then go see a movie. This way you get to do both in one way or another but you aren’t breaking the bank. Save Dinner AND a movie for special occasions like birthday’s or anniversaries. That way you aren’t depriving yourself completely from doing both in one night because it is fun, just not practical for a small budget to do often.
  5. This and That date night: I really love this one. My friends gave me the idea awhile ago and it sounded genius. It was a major plus that is was pretty cheap! How many times have you found yourself wanting to go somewhere but either you and your spouse wanted 2 different things or you couldn’t make up your mind which of the yummy places you wanted to eat at? I know i’ve been there a few times. So how this works is you both go to your favorite fast food places and grab something off the dollar menu. So for example, you hit up Mcdonald’s for an order of fries, Taco Bell for a crunchy Taco, and then Wendy’s for a tasty frosty. You get a little bit of everything and it will only cost you around $10! Take it home and get ready to dig in. Pop in a movie for an added bonus. Your taste buds will be so happy it got everything it wanted and your savings account will gladly welcome the extra $30.
  6. At home date night: So you aren’t really going out for this one but you can make it really special. You can both dress up like you normally would for date night instead of just lounging in your jammies (unless you want to, it could make this even better for you if dressing up isn’t your thing), you can set up some mood music, and nice candles. You can pick out an awesome sounding recipe and cook it together and then eat it over the candles at your dining room table instead of in front of the TV. Then you can pop some popcorn and watch a movie you rented you both have been wanting to see. When you make it special and change some things up, where you are won’t even matter because you will be spending a new and exciting night with your hubby.
  7. Free Dates: Yes, you can! You can spend an afternoon at the park, just talking while the sun goes down. A lot of towns have little craft fairs, you two can hold hands and stroll around town and look at the crafts people have created, you can go on a hike, a picnic, there are so many free things just waiting for you to take advantage of in the world. And it won’t cost you a dime 🙂 My husband and I like to watch the movie we saw on our first date on special occasions, that is a date in itself and we already own the movie. Get creative!

Even though there is the traditional idea of what a date night is, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only way to do it. I just listed quite a few for you and me and my husband both have fun doing them all. At the end of the day, date night isn’t about eating fancy foods, it’s about getting away from the hustle and bustle from your everyday lives and enjoying each other’s company without the distraction that life loves to hand over to us. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it certainly shouldn’t make us all abandon our savings accounts or put us in a bind. It’s something each and every couple should be able to experience without the worry of the bill. So feel free to take my advice and enjoy a nice date with your husband. Your heart and wallet will thank you for it 🙂

How do you and your husband save money on date nights?