Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost you a billion dollars.
As a woman, of course I won’t complain if my husband picks out something gorgeous from the new Tiffany’s catalog (not a hint honey, I promise), but it’s just not necessary. Often the things we value most don’t cost a thing.
So on the day of remembering that love is what makes the world go ’round, here are free, or nearly free, things you can do with your lover.
1. Make a homemade Valentine. I still have a Valentine that my husband (then-boyfriend) made me in high school. On it, he drew a bouquet of flowers and wrote inside that these would last a lifetime. They will indeed—I don’t plan on ever getting rid of that card from the heart.
2. Make a playlist. Back in the day, homemade tapes (yes, cassette tapes) were a music lover’s Valentine of choice. Today you can just make a thoughtful playlist if you want to keep it simple. Play it in your car on the way to dinner. (Or do what I love: play those sweet songs on an iPod dock for your special someone as he or she lounges solo in a bubble bath while being served chocolate and champagne.)
3. Use your memory. Do you and your partner have a favorite shared moment or a special spot? My husband and I frequently went to the casual diner we often ate at while we dated during high school. No filet mignon there, but the memories were worth so much more.
4. Flowers—and they don’t have to be roses. There’s something so wonderful about being handed a bouquet of roses, so no complaints there. However, flowers in general are not cliché or cheesy; getting them rocks—and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Most women have a favorite flower other than a rose anyways (I love tiger lillies. Again, not a hint, I promise), and they’ll likely not only save you some moolah, it’ll show you listen to her too.
5. Stay home. So you want to treat your love to a fabulous dinner? Stay in and save big. The cozy atmosphere and effort you put in are added bonuses too.
6. Hit the art museum. I love going to the art museum, and no, I don’t have a degree in anything art related nor do I care when I’m there looking. Visiting your local art museum, if you’ve never been or it’s been awhile, will likely surprise you. Every museum I’ve ever visited has something extremely special and beautiful for a variety of tastes. Plus, it’s romantic to take in art quietly with the one you most adore—and it gives you a topic of conversation when you hit the coffee shop or wine bar afterwards.
7. Think quality. If you do want to get your special someone jewelry, and you don’t have a large budget, then please don’t buy the cheapest pair of diamond earrings at a generic retail outlet. Buy her something different but equally special (women do like gems other than diamonds, you know).
8. Books. If she (or he) is a reader, then buy a good book. One of my favorite gifts from my husband was a stack of romantic comedies. (Reading The Princess Bride was so much fun.) It’s an unexpected, and thoughtful way to show you care.
9. Show him your tender side. I realize that a lot of this blog is perhaps geared towards buying gifts for the ladies, and there’s a reason for that. I think men do appreciate a cool or really well thought out gift, but I find men to typically be simpler than that. I don’t know many guys, for example, that crave a cold, hard, overly serious woman to have a good time with. Rather, show your man a little, genuine physical attention on Valentine’s Day. This doesn’t have to be a rated-R concept either. Be affectionate with hugs and kisses, and you’ll likely have made a happy day he’ll remember.
10. Be sincere. No matter what you choose to do or buy for your Valentine, be authentic. Be yourself and think of ideas from your own, unique perspective. After all, it’s you that your Valentine chose to spend this day with.
Valentine’s Day is a day of joy and contentment for lovebirds, but it can also be stressful to plan an activity or get that special gift that measures up. So rather than getting stressed out, use these small hints to create new memories for you and your Valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day, all.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel