It’s so easy to get caught up in all the romance and love in the air surrounding Valentine’s Day. Everyone should want to make their significant other happy. Nothing wrong with that. Cupid. Candy. Flowers. All good stuff. While I question the validity of this oh-so corporate and consumption-driven holiday, I can get on board with the spirit that they convey… make this day special for the one you love. Spontaneity and generosity are mainstays of this “holiday”, but they don’t have to drain your wallet.
Now before you label me as some sort of miserable, lonely curmudgeon, I’ll admit that I am doing a little something for my special someone. I’m joining the masses and spending a little money. It’s just that, as a writer for a blog that focuses on personal finance and budgeting, I have to reiterate that spontaneous spending goes against everything we stand for at TalkingCents. It’s a little late for me to tell you to plan for any Valentine spending, but I imagine most of you had some sort of plan, right? Even if you just had a dollar amount in mind.
Valentine’s Day is a big business, and most of that business is done at the last minute. People around the world are scrambling for last minute dinner reservations, boxes of chocolates, and big flower bouquets. If you plan your spending, you WILL spend less! You’ll have time to find the deals, look for coupons, or think of something you can do/make yourself.
But how many times have you heard someone say “every day is Valentine’s Day with my special someone.” Whenever you hear that statement, take a look at their special someone’s face. While they may agree that they are happy, people usually expect a little something extra on Valentine’s Day.
So yes, I believe Valentine’s Day is inescapable. However, a big bill isn’t. You don’t have to be that guy standing in line at the florist after work today, or the guy who gets nothing done at work because he’s been on the phone trying to book a dinner reservation, or searching online for gift ideas.
For those of you who DIDN’T plan, here are some last-minute ideas that won’t empty your pocket. Because being broke is not as romantic as it seems.
- Words Speak Louder Than Objects
Do you remember when your and your significant other were brand new? Maybe you would talk on the phone for an hour. Maybe you would exchange flirtatious and witty comments on Facebook. Maybe you were old-fashioned, and wrote letters to express what you couldn’t say out loud. Recreate that old feeling by going back to your old ways.
- Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Don’t just buy something, do something. Cook a meal or dessert. Frame a photo of you together. You could even create a “coupon book” with several favors in it (massages, cleaning, picking up the kids… whatever your significant other would appreciate the most).
It’s hard to come up with something groundbreaking without prior planning. So let that be a lesson. With a little forethought and planning, Valentine’s Day can be even more special, and even less of a phony, corporate-created, money draining scam. Aaah, there’s that curmudgeon.
You could always just show up on the lawn with your boombox…
See? I’m not too curmudgeonly for Cusack.
I’d love to hear more last minute or inexpensive Valentine ideas if you’ve got ’em.