Summer Lovin’: 5 Cheap Ways to Show You Care without Breaking the Bank

Want to be sweet to your sweetie but don’t want to (or can’t afford) spend the big bucks?  No problem. Just like the saying, “The best gifts come in small packages” doesn’t refer to Tiffany’s®, it really is the thought that counts. Still, I don’t expect you to take my word for it.  Here are five inexpensive ways to share your love without crushing your budget—try a couple and comment your (and your partner’s) experience.

Roses are Red 365 Days a Year

For many a “best girl,” nothing says “I love you” like red roses – that’s a fact.  Another fact?  Few things double in price overnight.  Yet on Valentine’s Day, that’s exactly what happens to the retail price of a dozen roses.  Fortunately, Valentine’s Day is still eight months away.  Go the grocery store (saving the steeper floral shop markup) on a random Thursday.  Bring home a dozen roses.  Not only will she be pleased, you’ll have paid less for a far greater impact.  Like my grandfather once told my grandmother (both heavily influenced by the Great Depression), “I’m not going to let the calendar tell me when to buy you flowers.” But buy them he did – on his terms — and she stayed with him for more than 64 years.

Take a Hike!

Some of the best (and romantic) activities are free or very low cost.  Experience local nature, be it a beach or a mountain.  Find a forest or a river.  Go for a hike or a long bike ride.  Pack lunch and stop somewhere for a picnic. Enjoy the privacy, the quiet, and your date’s company. All without the pressure of wondering how you’re going to pay for it.

Do it Old School

Isn’t it funny how we used to spend our nights out during our high school or college days?  Thinking back, some of those days I don’t wish upon my own children.  But some memories I absolutely treasure.  Could it be fun to just go out and hang at the diner?  Absolutely.  Have dinner at home and then go out for ice cream? A perfect ending on a warm summer evening.  Feeling crazy? I know a guy or two who wouldn’t be too upset to hear his wife suggest KFC® or making a run for the border.

Tend to Your Garden

I’m not talking about gardening for the purpose of saving money on produce, but rather from the perspective of spending time together.  Whether it be gardening, other yard work, or simply helping around the house with a task that usually doesn’t fall into your responsibility, time spent helping goes a long way to showing you care.

Go to a Show, but for Less

Enjoy life. Spontaneously go to a movie or live show – but take the extra five minutes to check out matinees, half-price or other discounted ticket opportunities.  Is your better half really into baseball but the two of you find the big leagues too pricey?  Check out minor league teams – the entire afternoon—including tickets and food—might cost less than parking alone at a major league ballpark.

Showing you care isn’t about spending the most money. It’s about putting a bit a thought into what will make the two of you happy – together.  Saving for your future is just a romantic byproduct.

Michael Rubin

Author of the bestseller Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck, and the upcoming The Savings Solution, Michael B. Rubin is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional. In addition to his experience providing sophisticated financial advice to affluent clients, Michael has been a key source of information for over a decade to countless others. He speaks passionately about and provides guidance on virtually all personal financial planning topics. Michael has appeared in various media, including radio and TV stations across the country, plus national media such as CNN Money.com, latimes.com, The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney.com, Chicago Tribune, Financial Advisor Magazine, and Investment News. Prior to founding Total Candor LLC, Michael worked in the personal financial services practices of two of the former "Big Six" accounting firms. Subsequently working for several years as a new venture executive for Toys "R" Us, Inc., he made sure that he never actually grew up. He holds an undergraduate business degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Michael lives in New Hampshire with his wife and children.

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