Have a nice Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank with gift giving!

Valentine's DayValentine’s Day is galloping towards us and some people, particularly men, start getting nervous thinking about what to give that special woman in their life. Women are no different. They think men are hard to please on Valentine’s Day … not so fast.

In this time of economic woes, not everyone has money to spare and may not wish to spend too much money on this day. Well, help is on the way. Here is a list of things you can buy, or do yourself, that will make the day memorable but won’t break your bank. You don’t have to go big to have a sweet Valentine’s Day.

1 – Flowers: Instead of the costly roses, choose a beautiful bouquet for her with a variety of colors and flowers. Please make sure there are no carnations anywhere in the bouquet, however. Carnations are best left for funerals.

2 – Chocolate: Unless you know your woman or man likes chocolates, skip this one; but if you must, don’t get the pre-packaged chocolates you get at a supermarket. Next time you are at the mall, go to the local chocolate store and choose 6 of those delicious real chocolate pieces they have on display. Then, they’ll place them in a cute box and you’re ready to go. You may think it’s expensive chocolate, but they’re worth the money and will ensure that he or she will actually eat it and not simply eat one or two and throw the rest away. When the chocolate is good, you don’t need to have an entire box of chocolate. A few morsels of high-quality chocolate is good enough to enjoy.

3 – Dinner: You don’t have to go to the most famous restaurant in your town to enjoy a good dinner. Do both of you enjoy ethnic food? Usually, Thai food is pretty tasty and gentle on your wallet. Don’t like ethnic food? No problem. Don’t go out to dinner. Make him/her a lovely dinner in your home. It will cost you a lot less, and it will be appreciated because it was made by you. Don’t forget to add to the mood: soft music and candlelight are always sure to be winners.

4 – Picnic: Who doesn’t like a picnic? If it’s cold where you are, you have to be creative. Choose a place in your living room and place a tablecloth on the floor, preferably in front of a lit fireplace. If you don’t have a fireplace, then add music and candle lights. If you live in a place where the sun will be shining, lucky you. Go to a pretty park you enjoy and lay the tablecloth on the ground. Open your picnic basket and take out the goodies you both like.

5 – Perfume: Unless you know what your beloved likes, skip this one. If you must give something that has a scent to it, make sure the scent is very faint and clean. Not everyone appreciates strong and sharp scents. By keeping clean and faint, you make sure that the gift will be appreciated.  To ensure the perfume is not going to be re-gifted, try these suggestions: for a man, a nice balm or aftershave (with no alcohol in it) is nice to give. For a woman, if you are not going to give perfume, a lotion or cream will be a winner. I don’t know a woman who doesn’t like hand cream; and remember, subtle scent.

6 – Clothes: There is a lot of good clothing that can be bought for a very reasonable amount of money. If you must buy clothes, choose something that you think your beloved would look good in it and will feel comfortable wearing. Don’t do like my friend’s boyfriend who bought her a garment; and upon opening the package, she was very happy that he gave her “such a beautiful shirt.” Only later was she told that it was … err, a dress. Needless to say, she never wore it. No need to go overboard either. A beautiful shirt for a man can be very reasonable at J.Crew, for example. And one can buy a gorgeous scarf for woman for a reasonable amount as well.

If you have any personal ideas that you know for sure your beloved will like, then implement them and remember that not everyone can celebrate Valentine’s Day on the exact day. If Valentine’s Day falls during the week, make an agreement that you will celebrate either the weekend before or after. It doesn’t matter if you celebrate a few days before or after, as long as you celebrate. Not everyone has the luxury to celebrate on the exact day. My girlfriend is dating a divorced doctor who has children. Consequently, during the week is very busy for him especially if he has the children that particular day. Therefore, since they started dating, they celebrate Valentine’s Day the following weekend after he doesn’t have the children. It works. Good luck and Happy Valentine’s to you all.

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