Valentine’s Day!

It’s interesting how caught up we get in holiday spending. Valentine’s Day is a prime example. It’s a purely arbitrary date, but a huge percentage of the population has been caught up in the idea that if you don’t get your significant other something nice for Valentine’s Day, you are just a jerk. Worse yet, it absolutely must be presented on February 14th, and it can’t be anything practical, or you can end up in the doghouse, as depicted in this old (but still hilarious) JCPenny commerial.

If you (or your significant other) are convinced that this is the case, then I probably can’t help you much, other than provide you with this convenient Amazon banner ad:

There are ways to give a meaningful Valentine’s gift without spending a lot of money. For instance, many years ago (back in the day when we were just starting out, and on a really limit budget), my wife and I exchanged “coupon books.” They were just a collection of ten handwritten “coupons” with various goodies that could be redeemed on demand. One example coupon I gave had “Redeemable for 30-minute backrub.” It was fun, cost essentially zero (at the time of the gift, anyway — one of my coupons was for dinner at a pricey restaurant, which was collected a few weeks later), and the enjoyment lasted for several weeks.

But if you still want to buy a specific Valentine’s Day gift, another way to do that is to make an agreement with your SO to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 15th (or even later). February 15th is a great day to buy Valentine’s Day candy. Or, if you prefer to get something healthier, a potted plant. Azaleas and tulips cost about half as much on the 15th as they do just a day or two earlier. Since the date is arbitrary, why not take advantage of that by substituting your own arbitrary date? For instance, the first link above is for some whimsical pillow cases, which, as of this writing, sell for $30. I’d be willing to bet that they will be less on the 15th.

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