Oh man, Valentine’s Day is coming up. It’s my least favorite holiday of the year. I mean, President’s Day is better than Valentine’s. At least you get a day off and you can find a good deal on a mattress. The mattress stores are going all out with their President’s Day advertising this year. I guess they are clearing out last year’s models, but I digress.
From a guy’s point of view, Valentine’s Day has such a tiny useful window in our lives. That window is when we’re dating and newly married. Let’s face it, I’m not trying to impress Mrs. RB40 anymore after being married for 15 years. These days, I’m just trying to do the minimum to keep the spark alive. We don’t need to fan the flame too much. Do you feel bad for her? You really shouldn’t. She doesn’t think much of the holiday, either. Anyway, here are my super secret tactics for a frugal Valentine’s. Don’t take it too seriously. I’m just trying for a humorous angle today so no need to get offended.
Cook a nice meal at home AND open a nice bottle of wine
Here is where my culinary skills come in handy. I’ll cook some of her favorite dishes and we can settle in for a nice restful Valentine’s evening at home with the Winter Olympics. Lucky for me, her favorite dishes are homemade pizza and that kind of thing. It’s not too difficult and it’s fun for the whole family to see dad toss dough into the air. Don’t forget the most important part – open a nice bottle of wine. After a few glasses of a good local Pinot Noir, all will be right with the world.
Going out is nice too, but we’ll put it off until all the prix fixe Valentine menus are gone. Those 3 course meals can be a great value, but they are also more expensive than usual because the chefs are going all out on this “special day.”
Look what’s in this hand – it’s all about misdirection, my friends. Lucky for me, RB40 Junior’s birthday is around Valentine’s. We are spending more time and effort preparing for his 3rd birthday than Happy Heart Day. IMO, kid’s toys are much more fun than flowers. We’ll be all playing with his gifts and it will be a lot of fun.
Even primo chocolate bars aren’t that expensive. Check out Trader Joe’s, Cost Plus, or your local boutique confectioneries. A nice dark chocolate bar costs $5 to $10 and it goes great with that bottle of red wine you opened with dinner. I’d avoid individual truffles. At 3-5 bucks a pop at the chocolate boutique, it’s too fleeting.
Keep her expectations low
This one is very important. Don’t buy her jewelry one year and then a chocolate bar the next. You have to ramp up and down slowly. I used to send Mrs. RB40 expensive flowers on Valentine’s when we first got married, but I slowly reduced the budget to accommodate our newfound frugal lifestyle. I also have some valid excuses. Our cats like to eat flowers and then throw them up on the carpet, so we can’t bring flowers (or any potted plant) home anymore. Flowers also increase global warming. Those long-stemmed roses require fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. They are grown in South America and are shipped way across the globe. Let’s eat some nice chocolate and drink some wine instead. (Let’s just ignore where the cacao trees grow…)
Homemade with love
This year we’ll be making some cards for her to reduce the cost even more. Handmade things are always more appreciated anyway. A mom’s heart will melt at the sight of a 3 year old’s squiggly drawing. RB40 Jr. will insist that it is indeed a heart. We have some free time this week so we’ll make it a project.
Everyone loves massages. Mrs. RB40’s shoulders and back are always tight from her long day at the office. I’ll reuse my Christmas gifts for people who have everything here and give her a 30 minute massage certificate. Guys, if you don’t know how to give a great massage, you really need to learn. This one skill makes up for a lot of shortfalls.
Keep her exhausted
This last one is my super secret weapon. Ask Mrs. RB40, “What would you like?” and her answer probably would be sleep. Actually, I’m pretty sleep deprived, too. Junior keeps us super busy until he finally conks out for the night. After that, we catch up with chores, books, and social stuff on the computers. I blog and she edits. Life is just so busy these days and we don’t get to bed until late. Maybe once the kid is a bit older and more independent, then we’ll consider going out on Valentine’s again.
That’s all folks
That’s all my tricks for Valentine’s Day. When we were in our 20s and didn’t have a kid, V-Day was more fun. Now, it’s just not very important anymore. Perhaps when the kid is in out of the house, we’ll pay more attention to Valentine again.
What will you do on Valentine’s Day? What will you spend money on this year?
Disclaimer: This is just my opinion so you don’t have to get too riled up. How about sharing your opinions of Valentine’s Day instead? There is no need for swear words when you’re over 30.