A. Catherine Noon here, wishing you a continued Happy Valentine’s Day! I’d like to talk about what to do if one’s Valentine’s Day plans are limited by budget. We’ve all been there, and in today’s tough economic times it feels more like a protracted reality than a temporary state of being. Ergo, let’s talk budget fun.
One of my favorite things to do is to take five dollars and go to a dollar store. My favorite of these is Dollar Tree, because when they say “dollar,” they mean dollar. Have you ever been to a dollar store and picked something up, only to find out it costs $2.49? Dude. False advertising, much? Here’s the cool thing about Dollar Tree – if you don’t have one where you live, they ship. (Granted, shipping will blow our five dollar budget, but it’s at least an option.)
For Valentine’s Day, why not experiment with making dinner special? Grab yourself some table decorations – maybe a festive bright red table cloth, or go down the glass aisle and grab a vase or two along with some of those smashed marble thingies.
(If you click on the link, it’ll take you to the Etsy store where I found it; that’s another alternative.)
One year, we decorated the table by putting down red felt as a table runner, then sprinkled glitter on top of it (this makes a mess so be warned if you have toddlers or cats wandering around). Then put your centerpiece items – maybe a vase or two, or wander around in the ceramic section and grab what catches your eye.
The point here is to think delight, not serious. We’re not after being Martha Stewart. Think fun and light-hearted.
Now, what to do if you don’t have the five dollars handy? (Hey, it’s happened to me too, no shame in that.) Then try this: if you live in a temperate place, go outside and collect some interesting branches and arrange a centerpiece. If not, then why not plunder your existing belongings? A sheet can become a tablecloth, and paper and crayons can make great decorations. Sometimes creating the goofy fun table can be part of the Valentine, and then instead of feeling deprived we’ve spent an entire evening creating something special.
And remember to take pictures for yourself. Memories deserve to be preserved.
What about you, Dear Reader? What are your favorite shoestring ideas?
– E.E. Cummings
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