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This is a money-related post. I'll get that out of the way real quick. :)
Valentine's Day can be right up there with Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries when it comes to couples spending money.
For us, Josh loves to shower me with gifts. For my 18th birthday he bought me an entire outfit from The Buckle and FedEx'd it down to Florida since I was spending my birthday down there. We'd barely been dating a month!
My point is, things like that can get expensive. Now if you budget for them, it's all cool, but if you're trying to get out of debt, you may want to rethink a few things.
Here are a few ideas on how to keep things awesome, yet on the more inexpensive side.
*Plan out a scavenger hunt around town. Once he/she gets to one spot, you spend some time there and then they get the next clue. Stops can include romantic benches in the park, an ice cream sundae, or even 99-cent taquitos from QT! (QT is an awesome gas station that Josh and I have actually hit up during one of these scavenger-type dates - it's like the Wawa in Virginia)
*Cook at home! Whether it's Wal-Mart pizza or a fancy dinner, make sure to set the table, turn off the cell phone, TV, laptop, etc and pay attention to each other. Maybe even try a new recipe together! Although if you do, make sure to have a quick & easy backup just in case. :) Not that I would know from experience or anything...
*Find out what is free in your town. You'd be surprised how much a Google search can come up with when you start looking for new adventures! From museums to walking trails, there is a lot out there- in every price range.
*Check out menu's online. If you're dead-set on going to a restaurant, and enjoy ordering whatever you like, set yourself up for success ahead of time. Check out the menu before going to a new place. Most nice restaurants have a menu online. I did this for Christmas 2009- found a really elegant restaurant that had lower pricing, took him there and was able to say, "get whatever you want- don't worry about the price!" To him, it was a dream come true because that's what he wants to do at a restaurant- get whatever he wants! After tip, out bill was maybe $45 - success!
So those are just a few ideas - feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section! Above all, though, married couples please, please talk about it ahead of time. Even if you want it to be a surprise, talk about the budget ahead of time.
And as Dave says, "Live like no one else so that later, you can live like no one else!"
**Update: Here's a comment left this morning by Rob, and I love it!
"Monica and I set a budget, but one thing that also helps is we take turns with V-Day. This year it's Mon's turn to plan. Next year it will be my year. We spend less because we both don't have to spend money."