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Show her the love, not the money

By on January 26, 2008

Valentine’s Day can be the most frustrating holiday. I see the tension rise as couples scramble to find the perfect romantic gift idea that isn’t a cliche or cheap and tacky. Most can’t afford luxury gifts, so the pressure is on to express their love within their means. It seems ridiculous. I feel sorry for some men who have to somehow come through on this single day, but at the same time I feel sorry for women who wait for a sign of affection once a year. In many cases, men simply can’t win because some women get selfish and make demands or have high expectations.

In the past, I’ve offered suggestions such as a candlelit dinner at home, renting movies, homemade desserts or a handwritten letter. While these ideas are great frugal alternatives to traditional Valentine’s Day ideas, I decided to get to the heart of the matter and ask frugal women readers what their most romantic moments included, what gifts they don’t want and what they wished would happen. The most romantic moments didn’t include candy, flowers or jewelry. Most women wanted a heartfelt gesture and to feel valued and connected. I’ve gathered the most popular responses and ways to help make it special, but it’s up to you to pour your heart into it.

Compliments: Sincerely compliment her on her appearance, level of care for others or even your home. This can make her feel cherished and appreciated. Test this out with any of the ideas below and you’re golden.

Surprise lunch: Taking time out of your busy schedule is spontaneous and unexpected. Sometimes relationships can feel predictable. This is a good way to express yourself and shake things up a bit. Don’t talk about work.

Time to sleep in: With family demands, a day to sleep in is a dream come true and rejuvenating. Giving her time to free herself from responsibilities can prevent her from feeling overwhelmed with things to do. She’s able to relax.

Play with the kids:
Watching you playing with your children can remind her how much she loves you.

Doing a chore she always does: Washing dishes, shopping for groceries, cooking dinner or doing the laundry fits the bill. It’s one less thing she has to do, and if you don’t help out often enough, the effort scores brownie points.

Sitting through a show she wants to watch: Who would think something as simple as making it through a romantic comedy without complaining or falling asleep could rank as being romantic?

Brushing her hair: Surprisingly, this is often preferred over massages.

Walking and holding hands: If you haven’t held hands in years, it’s possible she misses the affection. Offer to take a walk together, and take her hand in yours.

Talking about goals: Expressing hopes, dreams, goals and talking about the future shows you care about spending your lives together.

Music: Whether it’s a CD in her car, tunes for her iPod, playing music at home while slow dancing or singing a song, you can’t go wrong with music. Bonus points if you remember your song.

A dozen roses: While many love flowers, the cost of roses can sometimes bring out the worst in a woman.

Balloons: Receiving balloons in the workplace is one thing, but walking in the house with a handful of helium and a stuffed animal might make her feel as if she’s 4 years old. It’s not a birthday or carnival.

A card with just a signature:
While a card is thoughtful, don’t simply sign it. Take time to share your feelings. Here are some printable love coupons to help: Tuck them into a card or letter.

Lingerie: This can lead to disaster if she hasn’t requested it. A mistake such as buying the wrong size will lead to a Valentine’s Day she’ll never forget — and not in a good way.

Gifts like can openers:
While many women love receiving practical gifts, I suggest you wait for her birthday or “just because.”

Forget it completely: This is the worst. Even if you’re flat broke, there is no excuse for not at least giving a hug and kiss and telling her she’s loved.


  1. Darlene

    2/4/2008 at 1:56 pm

    Great list and oh so true. My hubby knows that cleaning the windows & shampooing the carpet means more to me than jewelry.
    I wouldn’t pout if he bought me some perennial plants that I can enjoy year after year or a wrote me love notes that I could find here & there either.

  2. Darling Diva

    2/13/2008 at 6:40 pm

    YOU forgot one that my hubby and I just did before bedtime.

    I couldnt sleep and asked my hubby to tell me a story (he’s a writer in his own right) .
    So he recalled in the sweetest terms when he first laid eyes on me and our first date…
    IT was so sweet I did the same (in much more colourful terms) and fell blissfully off to sleep.
    The sweetness of it all…such a lovely gift …and didnt cost either of us anything.
    Except an exploration into why we love each other so much.
    Happy Valentines
    to all
    D Diva

  3. jskell911

    2/20/2008 at 9:29 pm

    The best Valentine’s day gift to me is knowing that I have my DH’s love and respect 365 and do not need a physical material gift on Valentines Day!

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