Can you feel it? Can you see it? Love is in the air. OK, so well maybe the symbols of love just line the seasonal aisle at your favorite big box retailer. I have all the mixed feelings when it comes to Valentine’s Day. On one hand, the notion of celebrating love for love’s sake makes my heart flitter. But on the other hand, deep down I know that spending money and love are unequally yoked. One doesn’t always necessarily indicate the other.
A heart shaped box of chocolate purchased at the drugstore represents a myriad of emotions – from deep sentiment to panic on the part of the purchaser, from gratitude to confusion on the part of the receiver. Love is patient and love is kind, but typically love isn’t $9.99. However, this is not an excuse to boycott the holiday. More than likely dumping Valentine’s Day could cause your significant other to feel anything but love and perhaps dump you.
Here are some smart ways to let your heart beat with the rhythm of love while keeping the flow of cash from getting carried away with the currents of romance.
Begin with a Budget
What’s more loving than a budget? I kid. I know most people find budgets restrictive and less than romantic. However, your budget allows you to guide your spending without getting whipped up into a marketing frenzy. Consider what expenses you might have this February. Will you be going out to dinner? Will you purchase a card? Is a more expensive gift on your list? Set a sum total and then break your spending down into separate categories. Hint: don’t bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes it’s ok to skip one of the traditional Valentine’s celebrations of love.
Be Smart About Flowers
From online to the side of the road, it seems everyone is selling flowers at Valentine’s Day. If you want to surprise that special someone with a big bouquet, be smart about what you choose and where you buy.
- Visit your local florist today instead of ordering online to see if there’s a special deal or a lower priced arrangement that you can purchase.
- If you’re a last minute shopper, don’t forget to check out the flowers at your grocery store or a warehouse store like Sam’s Club or Costco.
- Industry experts say skip the van on the side of the road, though. Even though the price is lower, these flowers are considered to be subpar and they won’t last long.
- Flowers kept at cooler temperatures are more likely to keep their bloom, too! Look for those refrigerator cases when you buy.
- Of course you could also always buy a potted plant that will bring spring just a little bit earlier to your indoor spaces and can be placed outside once the temperatures warm.
Consider Homemade Gifts
Here’s what I’m not saying: write I love you on a sticky note and call it a day. Although come to think of it, my husband would much prefer this – especially if I attached the $3 I would have spent on the card to the note. Don’t be cheap with your love. Instead, find ways to display just how much you care by making your own gifts. Probably the easiest area to go D.I.Y. is the card. Crack out your scissors and fold a piece of paper in half to cut out a heart like you did in elementary school. Handwrite a tender note of affection. Or, type a longer letter counting the ways you love your special someone. Heart shaped cookies or a favorite dish might be another great symbol of your love. They do say the way to the heart routes through the stomach.
Many women love fine jewelry on Valentine’s Day. I more of the type of girl who likes small projects around the house finished though. Fix the leaky toilet. Clean out the closet. Wash and sweep out the car. Change the lightbulb or scour the tub. Choose to serve your Valentine by making each day brighter. The littlest things can make the biggest difference.
Opt for Lunch
We know there’s nothing magical about going out on the evening of February 14th. If you’d still like to share a nice meal together, consider going out for lunch instead of dinner. Often lunch menus offer more affordable options. As an added bonus, the restaurant won’t be nearly as crowded. And if you have school aged children, you won’t need to hire a babysitter either.
Celebrate a Day Late
The candy still tastes as sweet on February 15th and 16th, but you’ll pay 50-90% less for it. Agree with your sweetheart before (keyword: before) Valentine’s Day to celebrate a day or week later. Then you can enjoy the traditional symbols and gifts of the season but spend considerably less money. Try to avoid temptation by not looking through the seasonal items until after the holiday passes. Then put on your bargain boots and go wading through the aisles of love.
Maybe this would be a great year to dine in instead of going out. But don’t just settle for macaroni and cheese. Wait until after you’ve put the kids to bed, and cook your favorite dish. Splurge on your favorites from the grocery store since you won’t have to tip or spend more on dinner out. Look for recipes today and crack out the candles and a favorite playlist to make the environment even more special.
No you don’t have to spend money to show your love. Nor do you have to wait until Valentine’s Day to celebrate your sweetie. Use these smart strategies to make an investment in romance all year. If you’re smart about how you approach this February, the dividends could pay out your whole life long.
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out The Debt Free Devotional on Kindle.
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