Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and we all know what that means: Teddy bears, flowers, chocolate, and fancy meals out! Jewelry and gifts!
Wait, what? That doesn’t sound much like the Flo we know, you might be thinking, and you would be right. While I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at a bouquet of flowers, none of those “traditional” things is really what makes Valentine’s Day, or any holiday, special to us here at the Avocado House.
At the risk of sounding cheesey, what is really important to us on holidays and other special occasions is to enjoy spending time together. That’s it. And you know what? That doesn’t cost any money.
Our Frugal-Fancy Celebrations
In general, Anna and I like to mark special occasions without spending too much money, especially not on things. We just don’t see the need for fancy gifts when what we really want is to spend more time with each other. Sure, we’ll throw down for a nice meal or a weekend trip, but the end goal is always just to enjoy time together.
For our one year anniversary last year, we took a picnic up to the top of a hill near our apartment. There we enjoyed some of our favorite snacks (cheese and crackers being starts of that show) and a bottle of wine while taking in the spectacular sparkly view of LA at night. The only cost was the picnic foods – nice views are free!
Last year we celebrated Valentine’s Day in typically frugal fashion by taking an all-day hike in Montaña de Oro State Park. My parents generously let us stay in their beach shack in Morro Bay, CA for the weekend. We decided a hike in the beautiful hills above the ocean at Montaña de Oro would be the perfect way to celebrate, and we picked a hike that looked nice out of a book of hikes that my parents have in the house.
Well, the book was written several years back and apparently a lot has changed since its publication. What we expected to be a moderately-challening 5 mile hike turned out to be a challenging 11 mile hike. We only brought a single apple and a couple of water bottles for the excursion. We weren’t even mad, though, because the scenery was breathtaking mile after mile, and the company was excellent.
This year we decided to get fancy at home. Anna will be making a special steak dinner (I’m making sides) and we’ll pop a nice bottle of wine in the comfort of our own home. The food will likely be better than a restaurant, no crowds or wait times, and no corkage fees. Also, when you celebrate at home, no one has to be designated driver. 😉
I’m even going to wear a dress. Who says you can’t be fancy and frugal at the same time?
What Are We Really Celebrating?
I think it’s important to ask this question about every holiday, but since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day I’ll focus on that.
What are we really celebrating on Valentine’s Day? Most people would say love, or relationships, or romance. Then I would ask, well, how does buying more stuff really celebrate something as intangible as love?
I would say that on Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating our love for each other. I think there’s no better way to do that than to focus more on spending our time with each other, and focus less on spending our money. It’s also easy to fall into traps in relationships where you think just buying gifts for your SO will mend any problems you have and bring you closer together.
The only way to do that is to spend your time together, talk to each other, and really be together. I can say for sure that I treasure the memories I made with Anna while we slowly realized that our 5 mile hike was turning into an 11 mile one, or when we watched the city lights sparkling while enjoying our favorite cheese and wine, much more than any gift that could be bought.
What do you think? How are you celebrating this Valentine’s Day the frugal way?