CINCINNATI - If you're in a relationship, you naturally want to show a little extra love to your honey on Valentine's Day. The traditional elegant dinner, bouquets of flowers, decadent chocolates and shiny jewelry certainly have a wow factor, but those fancy gifts can add up to a small fortune.
So what's a frugal romantic to do?
Joani Hill, who blogs on Coupons4Utah.com, says it depends on the stage of your relationship.
"If you're just starting to date and working toward a relationship, chances are you're students and young and broke," Hill said. "That's when you should be hitting the daily-deal websites."
She recommends looking at sites such as Groupon.com, Livingsocial.com and Amazon.com.
"I don't think it's cheap to take a Groupon on a date," Hill said. "I think it's sort of sexy to be concerned about your finances. I see it as kind of endearing."
If you're self-conscious about presenting a coupon on a date, Hill advises settling accounts with the bowling alley or rock-climbing club before you get there.
"Call ahead," she said. "I know local businesses would be glad to accommodate."
For committed and married couples, Hill, who's been married 32 years, says it's the little things that count, and often those gestures don't cost anything.
She suggests building a blanket tent in the living room and serving a favorite dish under cover. Or lighting candles in the TV room and cuddling up to watch a $1 Redbox flick you've both been anticipating.
"Once I wrote 'I love you' all over the bathroom mirror in red lipstick and my husband still talks about it," said Hill. "Those are my favorite kind of valentines."
When asked what she plans to do this Valentine's Day, Hill said she and her husband will enjoy a couples' massage at The Sanctuary Day Spa in Salt Lake City. While she admits it's a splurge, there is a frugal side to it.
"It's a Christmas gift from my husband. "I'm having my Christmas present for Valentine's Day, so that's a money-saver."
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