Valentine's Day on a Budget

We would all like to get the gorgeous flowers, big dinner out, romantic weekend getaway for Valentine's Day. But hey, times are tight and that just might not be in the budget for this year. Marriage & Family Therapist Kelly Hoffman suggests that before you go and spend all kinds of money to make sure that this Valentine's Day is a winner, do a little thinking ahead, and use these 3 tips to make Valentine's Day special without breaking the bank.

1. Break it down: Do it smaller and more often.
a. We often do one great big thing like a romantic weekend, or a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Hey, those are fabulous gifts, but time and money makes it so not everyone can go there. Instead of spending a lot of cash, break down the gift into doable amounts. Set your budget, get creative, and work from there.
b.  Instead of a weekend champagne getaway, make your home a getaway.
c. Farm the kids out, the day before valentines and offer to swap with another couple.
d. Instead of one note or card, do a lot of little notes in unexpected places and times. Instead of a bouquet of expensive flowers, leave a single flower with a note in a choice spot.
e. The idea here is to take whatever is meaningful and break it down into smaller more frequent gifts instead of the one big gift. The goal is anticipation. The more frequent the love reminders, the more you are on your loved one’s mind in a POSITIVE way, and that will make for great feelings and a fabulous valentines night.
2. Make it meaningful-- Don’t just give the gift.
a. add a few words about what/why/how   you love them.
b. Leave notes in thoughtful places they will find throughout the day. Or hand them the notes, make eye contact, say a few words that lets them know you sincerely care about them.
c. If you are giving flowers, let them know how why you chose the flowers you did. (come on, you’re smart, make the choice meaningful)
d. Make any gift you give symbolic. Think of the recreation you enjoy together, the movies books or songs you love. Find a way to integrate that into your gift. Play a meaningful song before you share a note. Quote favorite lines. Burn a clip from a favorite romantic movie and send it to them. Use your creativity.
e. Give a picture of a meaningful time in your life with a personal not. Family vacations, wedding pictures, graduations, any time that was meaningful can be made new by just reprinting a photo for a few cents and using your imagination.
f. If you aren’t giving gifts, make the gift of yourself meaningful. Really pay attention to the other person.
g. Make a song mix from your current collection. Listen to it together over a bottle of your favorite drink  
3. Build Anticipation -- start early
a. there is nothing better than anticipation. Starting early lets the other person know there is more to come, and that in and of itself feels good. And thats what valentine’s day is all about, making the other person feel great, and then you get to feel great.
b. Even if you feel like you aren’t super creative or romantic, you can do the same things over and over. No one get tired of being told how loved and appreciated they are, and sheer volume can express love and admiration far better than a dozen roses with an impersonal note.
c. You can build up the level of gift giving, or count it down. 3 roses/daisies/notes 3 days before, 2 two days before, you get the idea.
d. Think of something to look forward to, and remind the other person in the notes. “I can’t wait to have the evening alone with just you and no kids” and a little teaser about what they can expect will go a long way to creating that lovely valentines day excitement and anticipation.



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