Six Valentine’s Day Tips That Won’t Break The Bank

Perhaps you are considering opting out of Valentine’s Day this year because in these times of economic contraction you don’t have the time, the energy or the money.   How can you think about going out when your “free time” is spent pouring over bills? To the rescue: Here are six fantastic ideas for Valentine’s Day on a shoestring.

Free Couple’s Massage Date:

Is your spouse a little stressed?  Would you love to buy him or her a massage this Valentine’s Day but it’s not in your budget? Why not give them a massage yourself? Do your homework by checking out a book from the library about massage and if you want to splurge a little invest in some massage oil.  Once you have the oil you might be inclined to make massage more regular.  In fact the research shows that couples who take turns massaging one another for just 15 minutes each day have lower levels of depression greater relationship satisfaction.

Date Your Friends:

Sara, a working mother of one, looking for ways to get social with her spouse started a monthly couple’s gourmet night.  Sara had a full social calendar before becoming a mother and she knew she was happier when she had that social dimension to look forward to regularly.  Sara set up her group so that each couple takes turn hosting a potluck dinner with a theme.   For the time and price of making one course, you enjoy a multiple course meal with good friends.  Soon you’ll be looking forward to a regular gourmet event on the cheap.  Their first dinner was a Valentine’s Day them of Love Food.  Sara was the host made a main course of heart shaped ravioli, while everyone else was assigned a course.     Sara said, “I think everyone left feeling the same.  Full. Not simply full of food but full of feeling good.”

Have a Date At Home:

The important part of date night is not that you go somewhere exciting but rather that you get excited about time with your spouse.  Pick up a cheap bottle of wine and have a date at home. Get the kids to bed early or arrange for sleepovers.  Set the stage with some candles and music.  Put your everyday stress to bed with the kids and focus on the positives of your relationship.  Start by sharing how much you cherish your partner.  Let them know something specific that you have appreciated.  Research shows that happy couples regularly exchange giving and receiving compliment with one another.   Plus, giving the gift of a compliment to your partner is free!

Date Child Swap:

In my practice I hear the same stumbling block to dates over and over again.  “Finding a trustworthy babysitter is too expensive.” This holds especially true for coveted holidays like Valentine’s Day.  Why not try a date-childcare swap with another couple where you work out an equitable arrangement to exchange care for one another?  Couples tend to feel less guilty about indulging in a lingering last lick lemon sorbet together if they are not checking their watches and calculating the cost in childcare.

Free Dates Out:

Be a tourist in your own town!   With a little research you’ll find there is much to enjoy right in your own backyard.  One of the best things  about living in San Diego is that there is so much to do and see without spending a lot of money.   Like what?  How about going to the beach at sunset?  It never gets olds.  Or put on some walking shoes and pick a new neighborhood to window shop, from high end boutiques to antiques there is a culture to fit each couple.    How about an old fashioned meandering drive?  Who said a date must happen at night?  If you live in, here are some unique ideas for dates and if you don’t leave me a comment with some of your favorite ideas.

Nature Culture Date:  Learn about the indigenous people on the Trails of the Kumeyaay, at Mission Trails Regional Park

Musical Dating: Enjoy a free concern at Balboa Park’s Organ Pavilion each Sunday at 2pm.  Then take a walk through the The Japanese Friendship Garden

50’s style date: Park with your sweetie and enjoy the view at Sunset cliffs.

Arty Date: On the first Thursday of each month host’s a Thursday Thing.  This Thing is all about art with a dash of wine and a pinch of music thrown in.  Sounds like a recipe for free fun.

Redefine A Hot Valentine’s Date:

A date with someone you had the potential to care about used to require research and planning.  Now that you’ve got the one you care about, keep planning!  Get inside your partner’s head and orchestrate a hot date that shows them that you really know what they love.  Carmen, a busy mother from Clairemont shared her most memorable Valentine’s Day date.  “My husband used to love to golf but we have neither the time nor the money for that now.  So, I planned a scavenger hunt for him with very personal clues that showed I knew him and was paying attention even when we were busy.  The final clue led him to a mini golf course.  The whole date cost $12 but he really loved it and we both had a blast.”

Even in lean times dates are essential.  The research is clear that happy couples have one thing in common, they put their relationships first.  As they say, the best things in life are free.

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