A Winter Wonderland Party
Great Ways to Give Gifts
Planning Party Platters
We are a pretty frugal family of two. However, this winter we are looking at very little income and uncertain funding for my husband's program. I already work two jobs to support us, and my husband is a graduate student in a Ph.D. program. His birthday is coming up in February, and his family typically does birthdays as the "big thing" more so than Christmas. This is our first year as husband and wife and I want to make his birthday extra special. Please help me with some frugal and unforgettable ideas. Thank you!
Create a very personal and wonderful birthday gift by putting together photographs of your husband's life. Some of the photos would be of his early years. If you can get those, mount them in chronological order, either in a multiple photograph picture frame, with a bow on the corner, or in a very small journal type book. Also be sure and include a photo from your wedding! Watch him open a gift full of memories! You could also include clippings of events that he has participated in!
Make him a memory jar. Fill a jar with pieces of paper on which you write memories you have of the two of you. The memories can be small ones (I remember the first movie we saw together or I remember when you saved me from the spider) and big (I remember how wonderful you made me feel the day you proposed). The key is to be specific. He will then pull one out a day and read it. You can do this to be opened once a day for a month, a year, or any timeframe you want. Use nice paper (patterned scrapbook paper works well) and a nice container. This gift from the heart will let him how much you love him. It only costs as much as the paper and will last all year.
I gave my mom a memory jar for Christmas with 365 memories in it. It was a lot of work to come up with 365 different, specific items, but it was well worth it.
Londa in Peoria, IL
Contact all of your husband's friends and relatives and tell them you are throwing him a "card shower." Ask them all to make his birthday special by mailing a card to arrive on that day.
A fun idea for your husband's birthday (and one he'll love) is to make a coupon book of loving things from you. A coupon book can include back massages, foot massages, watching a favorite movie with homemade goodies, etc. Basically include anything that is geared to making hubby feel comfortable, loved and relaxed.
Give the gift of "us." Make a collage of photos from your life together or write a personal history sharing your remembrances of meeting, dating, engagement, wedding and fun memories of marriage. Make a "Golden Anniversary" goal list of all the dreams you hope to share with your husband.
Make his day a day of giving. Start with waking up to his favorite breakfast and give small gifts of love on each hour. If he goes to work, arrange for co-workers to help (even arrange to have them sing to him in the office). The idea being to give him sweet remembrances of love throughout the day on each hour. It makes it fun to think what the next hour will hold for fun birthday wishes!
Take his birth age and make a list of everything you love about him (in detail) to the amount of his birth age. For example, if he is 29, write 29 wonderful and sincere things you love about him. You can roll up each typed item as a scroll and let him open each and read them.
The real truth is it is easy to give gifts to your husband. They mostly want your love and attention and to feel appreciated. It makes for a happy birthday and a happy marriage.
You did not say how big your home is. If you live in a very small place, you might want to ask a friend with a larger home if you can have the party there. You could have a potluck, or if you have a favorite low priced meal, such as spaghetti, you could do all the cooking. If you don't want a meal, cake, ice cream and some snacks are fine. If adult beverages are required, look into some of the box or jug wines. Otherwise, coffee, tea and soda (store brand or purchase on sale) will suffice. Costco is a good place to get the cake, and they have really good inexpensive snacks, such as mini quiches, that are inexpensive. You could do a "This Is Your Life" type game or order a newspaper from the day he was born.
If you want it to be just the two of you, you can make his favorite dinner, play soft music, and eat by candlelight.
Just because his parents made a huge deal out of his birthday, do not go overboard. The idea is to get together with the people you want to share the day with. It is time the two of you start your own traditions.
A cool idea I did once for my husband's milestone birthday was to send out letters (one for each year) with a balloon to friends and family. The letter asked the recipients to blow up the balloon, write a birthday greeting in permanent marker on the balloon (and sign it!), insert $1 in the deflated balloon, and then mail/bring the balloon back to me by a certain date. I gathered all the balloons in one box and wrapped it with a note of explanation and a straight pin. The birthday boy had to blow up each balloon to read the message and then pop it with the pin to get his present.
The response was great. People really liked the idea. The monetary burden on each person was very small ($1), but the gift can really add up depending on the recipient's age or if the giver puts in a larger bill.
My husband also didn't want a big to-do for the milestone birthday, so this allowed a lot of people to celebrate the occasion without actually being there.
I hope these ideas might be workable for this young lady and her husband. It is what I did for my mother's birthday, which was on Christmas Day.
I created the "12 Days of Birthday" and chose 11 small, but personal gifts and one bigger one. I sent them to my stepfather to dole out each day with the last one to be given on Christmas Day. This could be done for any time of the year really.
I looked up on Wikipedia the year that she was born for ideas for the gifts and chose some CDs and books written/performed by artists born that year that she would enjoy. I wrote some stanzas (albeit corny and not good poetry) to accompany each gift. I also wrote to a site called Movieeye.com for addresses of stars/writers/TV personalities, enclosing addressed and stamped birthday cards, asking them to send them to my mother. So far, she has gotten five and is getting a real kick out of them. She knows that they probably weren't "signed" by the stars themselves, but what a conversation piece! And it really didn't cost that much.
At the beginning of her marriage, she should create new traditions and not be expected to keep up with "big" celebrations in the past, but make them more personal. Maybe she should make a fancy meal, include candlelight and music, and set up their own personal bistro.
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