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Low Budgets Don’t Have to Mean Low Romance

How to show your love today without breaking the bank.

In an economy continuing to recover at glacial speed, hampered budgets may compel lovers to tweak their romantic fantasies this Valentine’s Day. Yet simplifying the special occasion for sweethearts can enrich their love and appreciation for one another, and smaller budgets can elevate creativity—and libido.

To spark the romance while scaling back on expense, try a game of "An Enchanting Evening." For only $25, lovers can spend a night at home with soft lights and music. This “foreplay in a box” could be a great way to remember why you and your partner fell in love in the first place!

Or check out Redplum.com, where you’ll find Valentine’s Day gift ideas for under $30. Men, why not draw a bath for your girlfriend, add a layer of multi-colored rose petals and scented candles, then extend the petals to the front door to lead her to your newly created sensual sanctuary. Or women, give him a heart-shaped box sans chocolate and fill it instead with sweet notes detailing all the things you love about him.

Some budget-conscious women consider great deals on goods and services a turn-on and brandish their coupons like black, lacy bustiers. Wives short on ideas can visit CouponCraze.com and search on specific holidays to find the best selections and prices.

There’s even options for the budgetless: MrFreeStuff.com gives visitors a list of 44 free date ideas for Valentine’s Day.

For mobile phone application geeks who are feeling the effects of the economy, why not serenade your partner, digital style? Now you can record a song using Vocoo, a
karaoke platform that lets you isolate the vocals from a background music track of one of your favorite MP3 files, then replace the vocals with your own voice and send it to your sweetheart computer from your iPhone.

Local Sweethearts Feel the Love Every Day

For many local couples, every day is Valentine’s Day. Candace Osborn, a Palo Alto resident and grandmother of eight, spent the weekend wrapping “we love you” gifts for her grandchildren. “I bought greeting cards and tucked chocolate and gummy hearts inside to let them all know their grandparents love them and are thinking about them.”

As far as celebrating Valentine’s Day with her husband, Greg, “Every day is marked by a number of loving gestures—not just Valentine’s Day. We love each other every day.”

Osborn, who is also a marriage and family therapist, contends that Valentine’s Day is often a burden and difficult for people, whether they’re in a relationship or not. “Do something kind on a regular basis and having it be received with appreciation, knowing it wasn’t obligatory, gets rid of the expectations.”

Barbara and Jerry of Barron Park are helping their daughter and son-in-law cut costs on Valentine’s Day by driving up to Davis to baby sit their two grandchildren so the young couple can have a romantic evening out.

"We’ll celebrate another time,” Barbara said. “Or as my husband, Jerry, says, every day is Valentine’s Day!”

Well-heeled Los Altos has been affected by a tough economy. Lynn North, a real estate agent in the area, has experienced this firsthand and affirms that it’s all the more imperative to spend wisely. “My husband and I have been married for over 35 years, and when it comes to holidays like Valentine’s Day, we like to keep things simple,” North says.

“We exchange cards with sweet notes, and he often picks roses from our garden as a nice and simple token. We know we don’t need to spend much on Valentine’s Day, especially in these times, when it’s more about spending time with each other and our family than the material items.”

From free to frugal, a limited budget on Valentine’s Day can generously convey the spirit of love and connection, rather than buying an expensive vase to add to your partner’s Stueben glass collection.

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