You might think that Valentine’s Day is a made up holiday advertised by greeting card companies. But that doesn’t matter much if your significant other is counting on you to remember them on this holiday.
If you’re broke, or avoiding spending money while you pay down credit card debt (like my family), don’t panic. There are still ways to make your special one feel loved without spending money.
Let’s look at some ways you can fill their love bucket without emptying your wallet.
This post was written by Jamie Jeffers, our amazingly talented staff writer!
If you plan to have a no spend Valentine’s Day, don’t spring it on your sweetie at the last minute. Take time to discuss this in advance. Make sure both parties are on board.
And no “gotchas” allowed. It’s no fun to go into a holiday thinking you’ve agreed to not spend money, only to find that the other one did spend money and is now resentful. (Unless you are planning the ultimate proposal surprise. That can usually be forgiven!)
According to this study by Psychology Today, couples in a happy relationship bond well when they reminisce over shared memories. When you talk about memorable events that have happened to you and how you handled them together, it can strengthen your relationship.
One of the best uplifting Valentines ideas I’ve discovered is writing a line or two about each memory you’ve had together. Then cut your paper into strips so each memory is on its own scrap of paper. Put these slips into a jar or a box and let her pull them out one at a time. The paper is meant to jog your memories, so it doesn’t need to be more than a line or two.
The real gift is spending time talking about the memories. You could write up 14 different memories to signify Valentine’s Day. Or enough to last a month. Or, if you’re a go-getter, write enough different memories to last her until next Valentine’s Day!
Most of us have a significant other because we enjoy spending quality time with them. What does your partner like to do? If you hate war movies, but he loves them, offer to watch with him and not interrupt.
She might crave time to sit and talk. Find time and a quiet space to have a conversation. Don’t interrupt. You’re giving the gift of your full time and attention. This may seem simple, but this is one of those uplifting Valentines ideas that can go a looong way.
Make a Meal
Guys. If your wife does all the cooking around the house, give her the gift of a break. While I enjoy dining out, my favorite part is not having to choose what to feed everyone, not having to cook, and not having to clean up. If you cover those three things (make sure you choose something you know she likes to eat!), you’ll do fine. No need to go buy fancy steaks.
Oh, and serve this to your chocolate lover and she’ll love you forever.
Do a Nagging Chore
Our old home has its charm. It also has some problems. In the short days of winter, our kitchen is dark. It’s tough to see when I’m washing the dishes.
As a Christmas gift, my husband installed a light above my kitchen sink. To be fair, this did cost a little money. But since we are paying off debt and the gift was solving my problem rather than the aesthetics of the kitchen, he spent a small amount on the fixture.
Every time I turn that light on, it’s a reminder of the gift I received and the loved one that gave it to me.
If there’s an act of service you can do to make your loved one’s life easier, that can be the perfect gift.
Before I wrap this up, I have to mention an article that I think ties in nicely here. It’s called The Art of Being Easily Fascinated. We are faced with fascinating concepts every day of our lives. As we add more and more technology to our lives, it’s tougher to be impressed by things.
Years ago, nearly any cat video would have been amusing. These days, we’ve seen so many cat videos that they have to do something amazing to impress us.
When we take time to actually let ourselves wonder about the things right in front of us, we become more interesting people.
This means not half listening to your spouse while you scroll on your phone. It means hearing them, and then being genuinely curious. The article suggests you practice saying these things: “How does that work?” and “Tell me more!”
How does this relate to Valentine’s Day?
Way one: We buy a big fancy gift this year. Next year, we have to top what we did last year. So we get an even bigger gift. By year 3 we’re wondering, not only how can we find something even better, but how can we possibly afford this again?
Way two: Many of us are trying to fill emptiness inside ourselves with “stuff”. In reality, what we are craving is genuine relationships. If you really love someone, give them the gift of time rather than money. You can always replace money. You’ll never get the time back.
It’s the greatest gift of all. (It’s Valentine’s Day, expect some cheesiness!)
When you incorporate a no spend Valentine’s Day, you might find that it’s more meaningful than ever.
Have that conversation with your significant other and see if they’re on board for a Valentine’s Day that means more than spending cash.