Poor and in Love

DSC_0727There is something beautiful about being poor and in love.  Something so nostalgic and old fashioned.  But unfortunately sometimes it takes awhile to accept the blessings of it. 

In planning for our first wedding anniversary, looking over finances, dreaming of a lovely vacation, we realized we were not as secure in our finances as we thought.  Even by being frugal we found ourselves falling behind this month.  Though it was good that we figured this out now instead of later, it was disappointing to find we could not have the dream anniversary trip we were hoping for. DSC_0379 So as we jump started this season of serious no spending, I was determined to find ways to still enjoy the weekend without the luxury of money.  It started with a scratch cake and a homemade card…DSC_0393 My secret to wonderful layered cakes?  Chocolate chip surprise in the center!DSC_0404 I used up all of my leftover frosting in the layer of the cake and needed some scratch frosting for the top of our “wedding cupcake.”  I found a recipe for buttercream, but used up the last of the butter in something else, so had to revert to margarine.  I have never made buttercream before.  Butter and sugar?  Really?  I was going to be sick.  Anyways, it ended up tasting fine, but as you can see, does not hold the same texture…  DSC_0408And well…it only got worse…DSC_0416I wanted to cry that I could not just go out and buy a can of frosting for a dollar.  And I am sure it would have been fine if I did.  But it was the moment…accepting to use what we had and having to be okay with it.  My dear husband still ate it with joy…and I was thankful for a husband who works hard, pays the bills, and is willing to live a frugal life with me…even margarine-cream and all. 

Besides the cake, the weekend did not turn out to be a total disaster.  We went just up the street to Sailor Bar, which is a local access to the river, for a picnic lunch…DSC_0470 Nothing special, just playing in the water…DSC_0551 And a small hike in and out of the water…DSC_0581 The next day we went to the pumpkin patch also near our home.  We packed another picnic lunch…taquitos and pears…DSC_0619 And we made the most of a beautiful sunny fall day…DSC_0620 To make up for the cake, I had some leftover sugar cookie dough from the baby shower, that I baked for our picnic…DSC_0641 We frolicked with the pumpkins…and even refrained from bringing one home…DSC_0694We ended the weekend with a dinner out using a gift card for a restaurant we still had from Christmas…DSC_0760 Anniversary Weekend Total:

$5 Subway english muffin sandwich breakfast (he insisted on buying me breakfast, and I am not a big breakfast fan as you can see)

$1 soft pretzel from Sam’s Club

$15 to cover the rest of our bill not covered by the gift card at Olive Garden

Grand Total: $21

In reality, this was not a normal weekend.  We wanted the world but couldn’t afford it.  We had expectations.  People told us, “this is your first anniversary, you have to do something big.”  And we couldn’t.  But, it was the celebration of the year together.  The joy we have by being married.  The day to day life we live together and how fun it is.  And so no matter how we celebrated, it was about the time together…not what we did, what we ate, or what we could afford.  It was about us.  And you can’t put money on that.  A humbling time we are in.  But I am beginning to see how much of a blessing it is as well. 


We were able to scrounge some extra $$ and take a last minute weekend getaway…I will share about that tomorrow.

Tell me about your tight financial seasons…


  1. Ashley, I think you celebrated your first anniversary just perfectly. You embraced the most important thing and you spent quality time together. In the end, that is all that really matters. Good for you for making it special and having a wonderful time doing it. Many people spend a lifetime learning it's not all about the money and some people never learn that valuable lesson. To learn that at such a young age and so early on in your marriage is a true gift indeed.

  2. It looks to me like you had a great day!! I remember having such high expectations, not only for where we would go/what we would do on our honeymoom, but also that first anniversary. That's the trouble with expectations...they almost never rise up to meet you where you really are. It makes it more difficult when friends around you make unwise choices with their own finances, giving the illusion that they live the high life while you hang in the gutter. ;) Having kids only seems to add to the situation.

    I say two thumbs up to you guys for realizing now what you need to do. :)

  3. What an inspiring post. Thanks for sharing this. I'm often comparing our situation to others. They seem to be able to do so much more than us. But I am trying to learn that it doesn't matter. I have what I need and love. A wonderful husband, wonderful children, friends, family and a house to call home.
    Some of our favourite memories are the things we do that don't cost anything. Going for bikerides, hikes, swimming in the lake or sitting on our front porch on a summer night, watching the sun set.
    Thanks for bringing all this to light for me again.
    Ontario, Canada

  4. Has it been a year already?

    I've known tight finances and unfortunately sad times at the same time. I'm glad that you see that your love for each other and happiness together is all that really matters. When you DO have money for a grand vacation, that will just be the icing on the cake ... and it will be real buttercream next time!

    Glad you were able to get away after all. Happy Anniversary!


  5. I think the way you celebrated was wonderful. Just being with each other and making each other a priority is the sweetest way to celebrate your love.

  6. Ashley, I am soo proud of you guys! It is hard to live on a budget and yet it is so, so good. Sounds like y'all did a great job of celebrating. You might also see if your library has a copy of "Weekends Away Without Leaving Home". It's a fun book that I received as a gift several years ago. My husband and I had a Paris themed weekend once. Oh and even if your library doesn't have it, one of my favorite frugal tricks lately learned from my friend Betty is inter-library loan! Kelly

  7. I love that you took a negative situation and turned it into a positive. You did a beautiful job :) I would love it if you checked out my blog at http://stayhomeandplay.blogspot.com

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I find it truly inspiring. We're also trying to cut back at the moment. I've become a stay at home mom this year, which means a $400 monthly family insurance payment. We have found joy in staying at home, not going to the movies, and trying to use free opportunities around us for little treats. (My husband is a professor, so we can get in to the university sporting events for free. Sometimes we'll go just because they offer free pop!). Also, I hear you about the buttercream. I tried to make homemade pitas this weekend and they were TERRIBLE, but the hubs would have eaten them anyway. I just gave up & quit cooking right then and there. I think you're doing a great job. Happy Anniversary!

  9. Congrats! We are about to celebrate our 15 year anniv. next week. We started out living on love....just love! I really think those low budget celebrations are the most, sweet, special and sincere. For sure the most memorable! Good for y'all for not folding to the instant gratification our society demands and putting a big weekend on your credit card!

  10. totally cute! while times may be tight, life is simple when it's just the two of you! when i look back at our "poor and in love time" what i remember most is how SIMPLE life really was!! it was sweet and slow and now, 10 years and almost 6 kids later, we're going at a hectic pace. and while we don't have the same financial woes, it's a challenge to always come up with a creative way to manage to pay for the NEEDS of ALL these people :) so just keep enjoying your poor and in love years! i love the "margarine cream" pictures by the way :)

  11. Wow. I would say it was pretty perfect if you ask me! I wish me and my hubby could do something like that! I am always trying to think if ways to save money so that I can stay home with our son. Now that I stop and think about it, there are ALOT of things we could cut out to make things more frugal and affordable! Thanks for sharing your anniversary with us! :)

  12. I can so very much relate.
    I think your anniversary was memory making filled with thoughtfulness.
    I love it.
    Unfortunately with four little girls we still find ourselves in v.e.r.y. tight spots.
    My husband works so hard and is doing what the Lord has called him to do. And I have committed to staying home and raising our children. Which I wouldn't have it any other way.
    We try so hard to be frugal and most times still struggle.
    All I can do is trust God. He is our provider :)
    I love this post!

  13. You did do something big on your first anniversary! Don't sell yourselves short. You saved, you got through a disappointment with flying colors, I might add, and you did it together!

    Good job to you both!

  14. I so wish I can live close by so I can take you out for coffee, not budget friendly so I probably will make you a Cappuccino in my Tassimo maker.
    I'm so there with you. I am suddenly faced with being home and making the most out of our budget. I've so many people close to us showing off what they do/have but I'm not competing with anyone. I think you guys did great.

  15. I think you guys celebrated wonderfully. I am in the tight financial season of my life and I'm not sure I will ever be out of it. :( So I totally get it. But you're healthy and you're together. That's what matters. And re; the homemade buttercream frosting. Try it again, make sure the butter is REALLY soft and make sure you whip it up really, really, REALLY well. Just keep whipping it with the KitchenAid. It will turn out, I promise. :)

  16. Holy cats! I can't believe it's been a year already! Happy Anniversary!

  17. Happy Anniversary!! It does not matter the size of the celabration but most importantly the love you have for each other. Blessings!!! Vanessa

  18. Ashley, it certainly isn't easy being in "tight spots", but you won't ever regret how you made the most of it, regardless of how much you felt you didn't have.
    Really that is what marriage and commitment is about! and your making good memories too :) You're probably not that much younger than me, but I just want to say, I'm proud of you!!
    You both look wonderful together in the last picture!

  19. Good for you for not falling into the trap of feeling like you have to do stuff because it's expected or people tell you that you should. If more people lived within their means this country wouldn't me in the financial mess it's in! Happiness doesn't come from stuff.

  20. Ashley, I love that you were so honest and open about your financial woes and "poor"ness. =0) It is so hard sometimes. I am a huge believer that stuff doesn't matter, people do. But there are some times, tonight for instance, when it's so easy to get down and out when I can't buy something that I've been wanting for forever, and is even on sale now. I can't even fathom how some people can "afford" to buy designer brands when I can't even buy a cute pair of boots that are super cheap. Just tonight I got really depressed about it, and how I cut coupons, work, don't splurge on going out to eat or vacations, and we are still tight on money. *sigh* But, when I think about how perfectly my schedule works with my daughters school schedule, and how to her it's almost like I'm a stay at home mom, and I'm with her every night and weekend, it's okay. And I wouldn't trade those boots for this time I get to have with her now. Anyways, this ended up being a life story and I could just go on forever! Thank you so much for this post. Happy anniversary!

  21. Bravo! I can totally relate! This is great life training...we never know what unexpected curve balls life may throw @ all & what you are learning here will help you for a lifetime!

    & I am sure @ this time, in America, MANY can relate. PS: you can make the frosting w/ powdered sugar & OJ or even water, next time.

  22. Kudos to you. My husband and I will be debt free on December 1st. It's been well worth cutting back and living a frugal life. I was able to stay home with my children till they were in 8th and second grade.
    I beleive that if we are good stewarts to the money God gave us..He will return it to us 10 fold.

  23. I kind of miss those days sometimes of it just being my husband and I when we were so young and in love. Now we have so many other things and people to take care of it's hard to just do the frugal get away thing.


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