Throughout the years, I've noticed that saving money is all about paying attention to the numbers. It's not so much about the numbers on the price tags or receipts, but the numbers on the calendars. By taking advantage of sales that fall after key holidays such as Valentine's Day, we are able to get the lowest possible prices. We are clever when it comes to shopping for Valentine's Day gifts as well as our birthdays, which happen to follow Valentine's Day.
Taking advantage of Christmas sales
I noticed several years ago that I could receive discounts of as much as 50 percent on gift baskets for the first several weeks after Christmas. Many of the gift basket businesses want to get rid of their Christmas inventory. My husband and I purchase the Christmas baskets and then re-decorate the packages for Valentine's Day. I use a glue stick and leftover wedding decorations to add hearts to the cellophane paper. Since one of our sons has a January birthday, it's easy to find deals for him by shopping the after-Christmas specials.
Shopping the day after Valentine's Day
My husband and I each have birthdays that fall after Valentine's Day, we typically wait until the day after Valentine's Day to shop for our birthdays. I love gourmet chocolates, which are often discounted by as much as 60 percent after the holiday. For the most part, we limit how much time we spend in the mall so we aren't tempted to overspend.
Making our own cards
A few years ago, my husband made me a card using a program on our computer. However, I noticed it cost a lot of money because of all the printer ink that it required. Now we make homemade cards using colored pencils. It allows us to get in touch with our playful side, while also saving a lot of money. My husband writes lovely poems that are more meaningful to me than store-bought cards.
I've noticed there is a huge cupcake craze going on in the area. My friends decided to have a cupcake exchange for Valentine's Day that is similar to the old-fashioned cookie exchange party at Christmas time. We each come up with creative cupcake flavors. Since about 12 of us get together, we end up taking home 12 different cupcakes in addition to the ones we eat at the party hostess' house.
Picking flowers in the yard
Every Valentine's Day, my husband takes a stroll around our yard to find different flowers and plants that I can use to create a flower arrangement. Since we live in Florida, we are always able to find greenery and flowers that thrive in the cooler weather. I make sure throw seeds in our flower garden early in the season so we have fresh flowers by mid-February. Also, I plant cold-tolerant plants that bloom all year round in Florida. We rarely spend money on roses from the grocery store or an arrangement from a flower shop.
I think my husband and I got in the habit of being frugal after our frugal wedding that we pulled off for less than $500. We know we don't have to spend a lot of money to show love.
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