My first Valentine’s Day with my now-husband, I received a gorgeous floral arrangement delivered at work, followed by dinner out and chased with 1/3 carat diamond stud earrings. We were young, had no financial commitments other than auto insurance, and had money to throw at courtin’.
The sad truth: Your first Valentine’s Day performance sets the bar for (what hopefully will be) years to come.
Whether seeking a romantic gift for Valentine’s Day or Hug Your Cat Day, try gifts that say, “there’s no where to go but ‘up’ from here.”
This gift is as expensive as you want it to be. Find hand-dipped fruit from online sources from a local chocolatier or restaurant. Go even cheaper and bathe the fruit in chocolate yourself. Your Valentine’s not so sweet? Yes, Virginia, you can dip bacon.
This gift’s outlook for the future: I’m sensual and I will at least feed you.
Opening with a diamond is doable. But assume that she’s imagining bigger for every blingy purchase to follow. Look for something that reminds you of a dear or unique quality. Example: Answer her (or his) proclivity for Pirates of the Caribbean over-the-knee boots and rum, with inexpensive black pearl earrings .
Keep jewelry simple and understated until your wallet allows for carat growth. This packs the impact of the little padded box but doesn’t leave you buying the (gasp) engagement ring next.
This gift’s outlook for the future: You’re my Audrey Hepburn. She only got a rotary phone dialer in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, so you’ve got that going for you.
Alright, I guess. Overpriced and tired, roses won’t make this list. Worry less about the flowers themselves and instead concentrate on delivery or presentation. This does not make permissible grocery store carnations. Look for small creative arrangements with splashes of classics like tulips or hydrangeas. Then work the element of surprise. A delivery at work or school garners jealousy disguised in compliments from friends or coworkers, making her the center of positive attention from Negative Nancys.
This gift’s outlook for the future: Roses are red. Violets are blue. With this sensible arrangement, I’m helping you flaunt my love for you.
Tread lightly when gifting liquor and love. Champagnes, like Perrier-Jouët, sell boxed sets decked in satin like an alcohol coffin – alcohol coffins are wedding day expensive. Grain alcohol alone might send a disturbing vibe. But a basket filled with ingredients for a shared-favorite cocktail and glasses for two takes planning and makes grain alcohol okay, right?
This gift’s outlook for the future: I’ll heart drinking with you 4-ever.
While we shouldn’t celebrate each other only on these greeting card holidays, it’s still important to slow down and share symbols or trinkets of our love – even if the trinkets symbolize your everlasting commitment to frugality.
About Guest contributor Laura Pagles: I work and write for FatWallet.com. My biggest battle when prioritizing work, family, interests, and maintaining my own identity is remembering to slow down and stay frugal. I study the FatWallet Forums and follow our deal-hunting experts for Valentines deals  that say, “I love giving you gifts, but we can’t forsake the mortgage.” Watch my posts for the tips and shortcuts I’m finding for managing a healthy and fun lifestyle for myself and family, while keeping my spending – and affliction for footwear – in check.
(Photo: luannhuntphotography )