Valentine’s Day – there are few holidays like it. You either love it or hate it. Until 3 years ago, I was more of hater than a lover. Since I met the woman who would later become my wife, the tide has turned considerably.
If you are alone this year consider this: My wife is conditioned to do her taxes on February 14th every year. It’s taken me a couple of years to break her of the habit. As for me, I still remember “celebrating” the Valentine’s Day of 2004. I was at a bar in Boston with a couple of single friends when news came on that the Yankees had traded for the best player in baseball – Alex Rodriguez. The Red Sox had spent all winter courting him only to have it break down due to financial considerations. This was less than 4 months after the Red Sox lost one of the most devastating games in their tortured history. The moral: Sometime things work out for the best.
As you might imagine, Valentine’s Day isn’t one of the bigger holidays for us. We’ve found a couple of frugal ways to celebrate it that many would consider a little unique:
- Time-Shift Typical Valentine’s Day Activities – Last month, I brought home flowers – probably the first time I’ve done that since we started dated. I believe spontaneous gifts mean more than giving when the calendar says you should.
- Have Take-out for Dinner – As part of the previous time-shifting, we go out for nicer dinner some other time of the month, when the restaurants don’t try to take advantage of the holiday. On Valentine’s Day itself, we get some cheap take out. Last year it was pizza from Costco. The year before that it was Papa Gino’s, an Italian restaurant in New England. Both dinners were under $10 for the two of us.
- Only Give Homemade Cards – I’ve never been a fan of paying Hallmark $3.00 to have someone else tell my wife how they feel about receiving my $3.00. It’s usually quite a nice poem, but I don’t get the point. My wife does like to receive cards though, so think year we are going to make our own. Since, I’m more a writer than a software engineer nowadays, I figure I best be able to put something together. Even if it’s horrible though, I know she’ll love it.
- Exchange Practical Gifts – We use Valentine’s Day as a time to buy each other practical gifts. I don’t know how we started doing it, but usually Hanes or Fruit of the Loom is prominently involved. We usually have more than a few practical things that we are thinking of buying, but are procrastinating on. There is nothing we are waiting on this year, so we aren’t buying each other gifts.
However you choose to celebrate it, I wish the best Valentine’s Day. I leave you with a final frugal tip: chocolate goes on sale February 15th.