Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Will you celebrate it the traditional way, with chocolates, flowers and a dinner out? Do you boycott the day out of a sense that it’s a manufactured holiday? Do you celebrate QuirkyAlone Day instead?
My husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in any traditional sense. He has never sent me roses or a heart-shaped diamond, and I wait to get the chocolates until the day after so they’re 50 percent off. Instead, we make a point to show our affection throughout the year. Here are some frugal ways we do it.
We leave notes for each other in the likeliest and unlikeliest of places. We’ll tuck little “I love you’s” into wallets, purses and packed lunches. We’ve left post-its on computer monitors, inside of medicine cabinets and on the back door. We’ve also left secret messages in dropbox or shared computer files. All of these things are free. What’s more, they serve as a much better reminder of our particular brand of in-love-ness than does a generic Hallmark card.
We try to talk to each other every day. Not just saying words, but actually talking. Having a conversation. Finding out the “why” of whether each other’s day was good or just okay. Wondering about people. Conjecturing about the future. Even when I know exactly what he’ll say to something I share, I would rather hear him say it; it’s these shared moments that make up a life.
The most romantic thing my husband has ever done for me was to buy disability and life insurance for himself. Obviously I would prefer we never have to use the policies and instead stay firmly in my daily life, but if something should happen to him, I will not need to work two jobs to afford our mortgage while grieving or caring for him. The ~$300 per year that this costs is not that much more than a fancy Valentine’s Day might cost — $80 for roses, $150+ for dinner, throw in a diamond anything and you’re way ahead. But it’s a gift that truly keeps on giving.
The most valuable gift we ever have is time. One can always earn more money, after all. We make a point of simply spending time together — playing video games together, going on walks together, eating meals together, going to bed at the same time. I don’t need roses and chocolates to take advantage of that, nor do I need to wait until the middle of February — that’s something I can do every day.