My Frugal Valentine

Valentine’s Day is taking a big hit as the third year of recession turns Americans into savers rather than spenders, the NY Times reports.

Business forecasters say as the financial crisis continues to bite, people are re-evaluating their personal values and making permanent changes to their spending habits.

The result is Valentine’s Day is returning to its roots, as an intimate card-giving occasion that grew into the second-most marketed holiday after Christmas.

Cheaper Faster Better!

For 2010, with apologies to Rodgers and Hart, frugal valentines are likely to supplant funny ones. The mood is epitomized by the cover of the Feb. 17 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. Next to a photograph of a heart-shaped chocolate dessert on a pink plate are these words: “Cheaper, Faster, Better!”

Long-stemmed roses are being replaced by homemade cards, and personal jewelry by personal poems. Budget restaurants, which have not traditionally been hot spots for lovers, are offering Valentine’s Day specials.

Creative and Personal

The Internet abounds with ideas for frugal options, like playlists burned onto CDs and coupons for household chores.

And even some preparing to propose on Valentine’s are seeking a bargain approach: on Yahoo, searches for “cheap engagement rings” are “off the charts” compared with a year ago.

Other searches that are up over last year include “cheap lingerie,” “free Valentine’s Day cards” and “homemade Valentine’s Day gifts.”

Romance and Humour

Some suggestions for low cost personal ways to celebrate:

  • Do whatever it is that you did on your first date. The idea is to recreate that first meeting, recall falling in love and indulge in a little humorous nostalgia.
  • Imitate the couple who were building a “blanket fort” in their living room and sharing a picnic dinner – or take a picnic in the park for real
  • Cook a nice dinner together and listen to your favourite CD’s.
  • Prepare a special Valentine’s dessert
  • Give each other a massage

Angeline Close, a business professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, says Valentine’s Day may be coming full circle.

“It started as a very pure romantic holiday, until capitalism and marketing spiked it,” she said. “We are retreating back a little bit to the original meaning behind the day.”

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