Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Matters of the Heart Week

While I deal with affairs of the heart, I will be sharing with you other writers who are "keeping it real" about this important element in our daily lives. My online resource, QueerCents is just the ticket for an array of topics as viable content for this forum. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we continue on our road to being healthy, wealthy and wise.

Dating on a Budget: The Valentine Day for Less

February 14th is almost here and it is the quintessential date for some couples. I have celebrated in a variety of ways but I always keep the budget in the back of my mind. Some people prefer the comforts of home while others want to spend a night out on the town. Some prefer going to an art gallery or theatrical performance; others a rock concert. Some of you will be initiating new romances, others proposing marriage, and some enjoying the day with friends.
Some of you don’t believe in Valentine’s Day. You think it is a ploy by corporate America to make you spend money. And your point has been taken into consideration. But I remind you, you do not have to spend money. Valentines Day is a time for you to kick it up a notch-show folk just how much you care for them; but remember the rules- your financial goals should not be hampered by your search for love and definitely not by Valentine’s Day!
I’ve gone to the movies, poetry readings, dinner, theatrical productions, panel discussions, and musical productions. They were all enjoyable. But the best Valentines Day I ever experienced was about 5 years ago and cost around $40 total. We loved the hit show, The Look for Less on the Style Network. We revamped the show to fit our Valentines Day. First we decided on a budget; $20 each. Then we chose a store and set a time limit of 1 hour. In that hour we were to buy the best valentine’s gift possible.
It would have been easy to just go into the store and buy a bottle of perfume or a piece of jewelry. But the point was to show how much we knew about one another and how much we cared for one another. Plus we wanted the day to be creative and show our spontaneity. After making our purchases, we went home and presented our gifts.
It was a phenomenal success. We really had to think in order to stretch that $20. I was pleasantly surprised with a box of Peanut Butter Cap ‘N Crunch Cereal, a gallon of milk, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Nutter Butter Cookies, a sleep mask, and spa products. Yes, I am a peanut butter fanatic and I love to be pampered.
Another year, I remember getting a box in the mail anonymously. It was filled with a stuffed lion and a card that read “I’d Be Lion If I Didn’t Say ….You are My Mane Squeeze.” The lion was holding a package of Reese’s Pieces. I was thrilled! I was calling my family asking who sent it because the package didn’t have a name or return address. Then she gave me this look. I can’t even describe it. Just thinking about it makes me smile all over again.
Or don’t spend any money at all. Why spend $5 at your local greeting card store when you can hit the internet and have multiple e-cards delivered throughout the day for free. There is also a blog called Letters to My Boo that allows you to submit a love letter openly or anonymously. This is a nice alternative to some of the not so lgbt-friendly radio or television airwaves. If you don’t have any qualms about expressing your love publicly, send your date to the site to see your love for them on display.
You could also enlist the help of friends and after making your purchases have them deliver it to your partner. Have a friend deliver balloons purchased from the dollar store or party store. Here is one of those times when buying at the dollar store should be kept to yourself. Grab a dozen of flowers (any besides roses) and have your designated delivery person bring those too. The single rose from the gas station may not be the best deal due to inflation. Growing your own flowers would also be nice. That’s something to keep in mind for next year.
If you have the time, I suggest looking into your local hotels for their Valentine’s Day packages. It serves as a nice alternative to traveling out of town. Hotel or bed and breakfast packages are often the best deals with their all-inclusive pricing and guaranteed restaurant reservations. Some of these entities offer in-room massages, dinner discounts, romantic CD’s, flowers, wine, tickets to theatre productions and other perks. A little research will sniff out the best deals in your area.
The great thing about Valentine’s Day is that it really is what you make it. Plus it falls on a Saturday this year. If you are a 9 to 5′er you have the whole day to work with. You can choose any of the options suggested in the series: Play Dates, Home Sweet Home, Doing Dessert or Simple First Dates and make it your own. Time is of the essence so get going!

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