All too often, in our the desire to prove our love to a significant other, we end up buying things on impulse and/or paying way more than we should.
And sadly, in this age of the internet, scammers are more than ready to separate us from our money.
If you are interested in buying flowers, buying locally will almost certainly save you money over the national florists, as the first article points out.
However, I guess it should come as no surprise that I’m not a proponent of making a big deal of this very commercial, completely contrived holiday called Valentine’s Day.
And I’ll repeat something I’ve said before, namely that it’s also probably not a good sign if your significant other expects/demands a flashy display of affection on this day -- or any other day, for that matter. That kind of superficiality does not bode well for a lasting, companionable relationship.
This is not to say that I don’t believe in being romantic. I just happen to think that word loses all its meaning when certain behavior is demanded or assumed. Particularly on a specific day that is clearly geared more than anything else to generate revenue for businesses.
It’s far nicer to do something when it’s unforced or unexpected. You can do that throughout the year and don’t need a special day for it. And if you’re on a tight budget, it’s also better if it doesn’t blow your bank account.
In addition, I’m not a fan of cut flowers as a gift. They don’t last long, and are usually expensive, with very inflated prices at this time of year for cut roses, in particular. I just think it’s silly to pay $40-$75 and up for a bunch of flowers that will be dead within a week.
So it seems to me that it's beyond time to break the mold a bit for Valentine’s Day gift giving.
So here are some of my suggestions for ways to show your love for each other that cost a lot less than a dozen roses and are a whole lot more interesting besides.
Florists sell many lovely plants beyond just cut flowers. Personally, I would much rather receive a plant that continues to produce blooms, aesthetic greenery, or food.
And you can find them at your local florist or nursery. Some ideas would include living terrariums, desert succulents, or any number of other plants that provide year-round interest and minimal care.
Check out this link to see what I mean.
Arrange to participate in an activity with your loved one that you’ve declined to do before.
We all have things we love to do and would really enjoy having our significant other join us in. But tastes and/or schedules do not always mesh.
Surprise your beloved with a “gift certificate” of time spent together doing that special something together that s/he’s previously invited you to do.
An example would be when my husband agreed to accompany me to a dance class. He still didn’t sign up, but he made the effort for me that one time, and I was touched.
If you have young kids at home, this can seem like a terrible idea. On the other hand, if you're like us when we were young and had no money, and the cost of a sitter was too prohibitive for us to ever go out, this may be your only option for a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day or any other day.
The key to making a meal like this special and romantic is to splurge a little and buy and/or cook something you wouldn't normally spend the money on.
For example, most of the time, I spend under $2 per person for a meal for our regular weekly menu dishes. But for a total of $30-$35 spent at the grocery and wine store, I can create a fabulous 3 course meal for two at home with very little effort. And usually have enough leftover for a second meal.
That's still a huge savings over the $25-$50 per person, with drinks and tip that a typical restaurant meal can cost.
And if you add some candles, you’ve got that romantic ambience you’re looking for.
Heck, my husband and I shared many a romantic meal over a card table in our Brooklyn apartment, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for any bunch of dozen roses or fancy restaurant.
An added bonus is that you can actually hear yourselves talk, so you can carry on a conversation, unlike many noisy restaurants today.
Take-out is another meal alternative that's more affordable than any sit-down restaurant meal could be. And a meal ordered in can be made into something quite special, with very little effort or stress to the mind or the bank account.
And if you have children, it means there's also no added expense of a sitter. So you’re both getting a night off from cooking and most of the clean-up without breaking the bank.
That's the kind of romance this frugal soul can really appreciate.
There are hidden treasures and adventures in every town and city. Some might cost a nominal amount of money, but many don’t cost a thing:
- A hike in the snow to a beautiful spot you’ve heard about, followed by a hot chocolate at your favorite restaurant;
- Taking in the latest exhibit at a local museum and then sharing a glass of nice wine at home;
- Enjoying a visit to a local marina, followed by a walk along the beach, some quiet conversation and an ice cream cone and/or a bottle of wine;
- Finding out sunset time and researching a good spot to enjoy it, along with a simple brown bag picnic dinner, dessert, and/or drink with your loved one.
I think you get the idea.
Okay, I know this doesn't sound like it's very romantic, but, as in the suggestion to take part in an activity your beloved enjoys, doing something like this can actually be a wonderful bonding experience.
It certainly is a way to get to know each other. Besides, doing something we believe in alongside people whose company we enjoy can actually be fun.
And there's nothing that says you can't combine it with a simple meal, drink, or dessert afterwards.
While it might take a little creativity, time, and legwork, it’s perfectly possible to spend very little and be romantic in ways that are far more meaningful than a bunch of roses.
Go ahead and give it a try.