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Five-star Valentine’s on a no-star budget

By: Heather Tarnopolsky - Budget Reboot

 | Feb 12, 2014 - 3:24 PM |
Today, the total annual national average consumer spending for Valentine’s Day is over 13 billion-according to www.statisticbrain.com. It seems today’s standards of romance have exceeded what was acceptable in the past. File photo.

Today, the total annual national average consumer spending for Valentine’s Day is over 13 billion-according to www.statisticbrain.com. It seems today’s standards of romance have exceeded what was acceptable in the past. File photo.

At this time of year, couples are scrambling to book last minute dinner reservations while jewellery, wine, chocolate, roses and movie ticket sales sky rocket.

Today, the total annual national average consumer spending for Valentine’s Day is over 13 billion-according to www.statisticbrain.com. It seems today’s standards of romance have exceeded what was acceptable in the past.

The good news is you can still spoil your spouse without spending your savings. Plan to stay indoors this Valentine’s day and use these tips to keep your night romantic yet affordable.

A simple “I love you” goes a long way. Sometimes we don’t say it enough and some of us don’t say it at all. When your loved one hears these three words, you can be sure it will hit a few heart strings.

Write it down. Buying a Valentine’s Day card is too easy and cost you money to boot. Instead, express it on paper. Make it a heartfelt poem or write the story of how you first met each other. Upon reading it, your love will be seen in a whole new light.

Take time to reflect. If you’re like me, you’ve saved every card and love note since the romance started. Pull out photos of the early years together and cherish all the cards and sweet nothings throughout your relationship. Re-live the moments that brought you together in the first place.

Share the kitchen. Make your favourite meal together in the comfort of your home. Working towards a common task will bring you closer together and the resulting dish will be rewarding to enjoy.

Dress up. After all, you’ve both worked hard preparing dinner together and now it’s time to savour the flavour. Treat your dinner table like a five star restaurant and get dressed up for the occasion.

Set the mood. Your surroundings will enhance your senses and drive the focus on each other. Shut off the T.V and set the table using your fine china and silverware, dim the lights, bring out the candles and put on some soft music.

Save room for dessert. Sugar gives a natural high and entices the senses to a whole new level. Try dipping apple slices in honey and cinnamon or strawberries in chocolate.

Voila! This is a night you can afford to repeat all year round and you’ve saved money by not splurging on gifts or a high dinner bill while still revelling in romance.

Now all you have left to do is use that extra money towards your RRSP contribution room by March 3.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Heather Tarnopolsky is a Sun Life Financial adviser in Greater Sudbury.

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