Valentine’s at all (or no) Costs!

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Let me clear something up for you, Gents.  If you have (and intend to keep) a significant other, you WILL celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Every year.  No matter what.  Absolutely no exceptions. There are no valid excuses.  Not even:

A) She says it’s no big deal and not to get her anything.

LIES! Do it anyway.  If by some strange chance she was being honest then you’ve gone above and beyond and pleasantly surprised your woman and now you have extra points.  Good on you!  Buuuuuut…If you call her bluff and don’t do anything at all?  Busted.  An argument will ensue.  Trust me, you don’t need that drama.  I’m just looking out for you, Bruh.

B) This is a holiday made up by greeting card companies to scam you out of your hard-earned money.

Objection your honor: irrelevant! I don’t care if it’s true or not; it simply doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that when all of her insta-friends are getting flowers and giant teddy bears and chocolates and fancy dinners and opera tickets and trips to Hawaii and hot air balloon rides and engagement rings (!!!) and she gets nothing (???) she will start to wonder if you ever even loved her at all.

C) You show her you love her every day of the year and you don’t need a holiday to do that.

Good! You’re a keeper; if you two are the least bit compatible at all she won’t break up with you anytime soon.  But that doesn’t get you out of Valentine’s Day.  If you love her then you want her to be happy.  Right?  Right.  My husband shows me he loves me every single day of my life.  He works hard 60+ hours a week for our family, washes dishes, changes diapers, schedules family time, takes me on a date almost every week and gives me hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s,” but when life gets busy (let’s face it, life is never NOT busy) there is no time for flowers and cards and chocolates.  That’s what Valentine’s Day is for.  Just be grateful you didn’t have to come up with some special holiday for that all on your own.  See?  This is really to your benefit.

D) Your girlfriend/fiance/wife isn’t into flowers and chocolates and would much rather get a ratchet set.

Then for goodness sake, get her a ratchet set. You know your woman.  You know what she likes (and if you don’t, then by all means, ask her) and if she’s not a traditional “girly girl” or has unusual tastes or hobbies, all the better.  A thoughtful gesture can come from literally anywhere.

E) This year the holiday falls on an inconvenient day.

When Hubby and I were engaged Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday.  I spent all week writing him a poem and Sunday morning while he was at church I taped construction paper hearts all over his car and stuck the poem on his windshield.  I was so excited to see what he’d done for me.  Which was nothing.  At all.  This was simply unacceptable to me and I told him so.  “But…it’s Sunday…” Dude, two words: plan ahead.  The stores were open yesterday and there are plenty of last-minute things you can do and still keep the Sabbath Day holy. Make a homemade card.  Sing a song.  Pick a flower.  Jot down a love note.  Anything, really.  You can even make plans for another day or week.  For one of our anniversaries (this golden advice works for all kinds of special occasions.  You’re welcome.) Hubby and I went to dinner at our favorite low-budget take-out place.  He gave me a card that had a printout for a reservation he made online for us to go away for another weekend down the road.  It was perfect.

F) You have no money.  Like, seriously none at all.

This is honestly not even a problem.  Chances are, she already knows this.  My husband and I spent many frugal (read: dirt poor) years together.  I was 18 and he was 22 when we got married.  He worked part time, we both went to school, and we had two babies before we graduated. But after our first couple V-Days together wherein I did something for him (involving paper and markers) and he did absolutely nothing (involving an argument), we started getting the hang of things and had many low cost or no cost celebrations of love.  I won’t spell out the most obvious way to do this (this is a family-friendly blog after all).  I will however tell you that we did lots of things like:

  1. Blow up balloons filled with hundreds of tiny strips of paper saying “I love you!”
  2. Make a homemade dinner by candlelight.
  3. Drive your blindfolded wife around town to a secret location (back at the house) for a big date (lovely romantic dinner at home that she didn’t have to cook).
  4. Trade babysitting with other couples or hit up the grandparents to babysit and bid on cheap hotels online for short weekend getaways.
  5. Drive to the beach and sit there watching the waves and drinking non-alcoholic cider in plastic “champagne glasses.”
  6. Attend free activities like church “sweetheart” dances or a friend’s Murder Mystery party.
  7. Use a mix-tape with song clues leading to a location where you “Accidentally” meet up with another couple for a surprise outdoor dinner of fast food.
  8. A photo scavenger hunt in an outdoor mall with other couples.mystery kiss

Let me level with you guys.  The vast majority of women want nothing more than to know you were thinking about them and that you love them.

That’s the whole point of all this.   Jewelry that symbolizes your love is wonderful.  But without the symbolism it’s just a chunk of metal.  Flowers and teddy bears are useless, really, but when it’s a reminder of your love it’s glorious! In these cases it really is the thought that counts.  Not in a I-thought-I’d-buy-you-a-car-but-hey-it’s-the-thought-that-counts-right? kind of way. More like a I-don’t-have-a-lot-of-time-and-money-but-I-did-take-time-to-think-about-you-because-I-love-you-that-much kind of way.  Therefore, If you are lacking in time or money or resources or creativity or willpower or anything else, I kid you not, a simple note on a piece of paper that tells her how much she means to you will be cherished FOREVER.

It’s fun to occasionally go big for V-day too.  If you need help managing your money so you can make sure you enjoy celebrations like Valentine’s Day without going over-budget, you might want to check out Personal Capital’s financial tools as a possible resource. They’re running a project right now on how to enjoy Valentine’s day without breaking the bank, so I thought I’d share my tips with you. Nothing kills the bliss of a good Valentine’s Day like worrying about money!

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