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  • Inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift: hidden hearts

    If you need a last-minute gift idea today, this is for you. I picked this idea up years ago over at The Dollar Stretcher. It’s inexpensive, easy, and keeps on giving:

    Cut out as many hearts as you feel like making out of red construction paper or any paper that you have on hand. (Don’t remember how? Fold a piece of paper and cut the shape of a half heart on the folded edge. Unfold and you have a heart-shaped piece of paper.) On each heart, write down something you love about your sweetie. Here are some examples:

    • I love your laugh
    • I love waking up next to you
    • I love the way you change all the poopy diapers

    Then hide the hearts in all the places your sweetie will find them – in a coat pocket, a shoe, a drawer, the computer keyboard, etc. He or she probably won’t find them all at once, so the gift will keep on giving for a while.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    Save Money On Valentine’s Day

    Valentine’s Day is in just a couple of weeks, so here are a few money-saving ideas. Some are more obvious than others.

    • Eat at home – Our first Valentine’s Day together, my husband took me to a very nice restaurant that was touted as the most romantic in Los Angeles. It was . . . fine. The food was better than average, the atmosphere cozy. But we were dining with a dozen or more other couples, every one of us trying to create our own little world. The menu was set and dinner felt rushed since there was no lingering over each course (there was at least one more seating after us). At $75 a piece, dinner wasn’t outrageously expensive, but it sure wasn’t cheap. Since then, we’ve always eaten at home. Sometimes we’ve gotten take-out from a favorite restaurant, most years I cook. Even an expensive dinner at home (this year we’re having Beef Wellington) costs less than a dinner out.
    • Don’t buy flowers – If this is your first Valentine’s Day together, you might have to splurge. But if you and your significant other share financial goals and priorities, you should be able to agree that overspending on flowers is a bad idea. (Buy them on February 15 instead.)
    • A little (chocolate) goes a long way – I haven’t seen (in stores or in articles) anything indicating that the price of chocolates spikes the way the price of roses does at Valentine’s Day. So I see nothing wrong, financially speaking, with indulging your sweet tooth. But buy a few individual premium pieces (some gourmet chocolate-dipped strawberries would be fabulous) and leave it at that – your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
    • Get creative – Over the years, I’ve picked up some great ideas from The Dollar Stretcher. One was to cut out 50 or so little hearts, write “I love you because (fill in the blank) ” and hide them in all sorts of places for my husband to find (like in his shoes).
    • Get Romantic – Many, if not most, of the tips at TheRomantic.com require little or no money to execute.