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Valentine’s Day 2014

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 14th February 2014

Here is a holiday designed for spending money-flowers, chocolates, overpriced restaurant meals rivaled only by New Year’s Eve. Let’s put a stop to this right now. Flowers will die (and quite quickly), chocolates and a heavy meal will only stand in the way of romance. After a five course meal and dessert, The Frugal Diva is not in the mood for romance. If she wants to unbutton her dress, it’s simply to get a bit of breathing space.

That’s why The Frugal Dude knows to spend Valentine’s Day dining at a great Chinese restaurant. In Los Angeles, we might head over to Monterey Park after checking out the Yelp reviews or go to the old school restaurants in Chinatown. This is also a great night to get sushi, Greek, Thai or any other ethnic group that is still not planning an over the top and over priced experience.Even better, rent a movie, prepare a meal together, and I’ll leave it to your imagination what to have for dessert.

The dreaded holiday of Valentine’s Day looms like a dark cloud on the horizon for singles. This year it falls on Friday which means an entire weekend of love, hearts, and hiding behind the curtains for the uncoupled. The Frugal Diva says come out into the sunshine and make plans to party. Get together single friends for a potluck and have each of them bring another single. You may enter with a vegetarian casserole and leave with a new relationship, friendship, or recipe. It’s better than weeping into a microwaved meal.

Let’s not restrict love just to the narrow definition of one on one. Now I’m not talking about anything kinky, though that is a personal choice. What about finding a soup kitchen, hospital, senior center, or shelter that needs volunteers? If you are looking for options, the Volunteers of America has an extensive nationwide network.

Now there is also self love. No, not what you are thinking. Well, maybe but that’s another personal choice. The Frugal Diva means to find a yoga class or go for a walk weather permitting, take a bubble bath, and relax with a good book. It’s okay to ignore your phone, computer, television, and all other flashing lights for an evening.

There is nothing worse than watching a co worker swoon over a dozen roses from their fiancée. What if we revert back to the classroom habit of getting everyone something? If you work in a small to mid size office, bake some brownies, after they cool arrange them by twos in a goody bag, tie off with a red ribbon, and deliver to every desk.

All these ideas have a few things in common. They involve minimal expense. They take a bit of imagination. They connect you to others or reconnect you with yourself. Isn’t that what love is all about.

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Even More Valentine’s Day Tips For Guys

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 13th February 2014

Guest post is by Gabrielle Greene who co-blogs on TipsOnHowToSaveMoney. Her friends often refer to her as “Gaby Gabs A lot,” especially if it has anything to do with freebies and saving money!

I was reading, “Valentine’s Day 2014,” and I just had to laugh at some of the things that were said because I can relate to them. I’m really not a fan of Valentines Day and never have been. In fact, my best V-Day was spent with my best friend when I was still single.

Seems now that I’m married there ultimately seems to be a fight that occurs on this day, but of course and it just stinks!

First I declared that I didn’t want to even participate in V-Day at all. Like the Frugal Diva herself, I don’t need the chocolates (my low-carb diet is already killing me, but that’s another story) or the flowers that will die (I swear mine die even faster than they should).

You would think he would be happy about this, but I think in his mind that even though I was saying I didn’t want to participate that I secretly did so if he didn’t do something then it would be yet another fight. Wait, did that make sense?

Men, generally speaking, women fall into two categories and you should know which one. We either swoon over the cliché and typical Valentines Day or we hate it. So take the time to know your woman and what will make her happy. Here are the things that we worked out and I am now looking forward to the dreaded V-Day for the first time in years.

Flowers – Instead of roses buy tulips, a plant or an herb. They last longer and they smell just as good. Rosemary, Sage and Lavender are all good choices.

Chocolates – Again, I’ve been killing myself on this diet (most women are always on a diet, sigh) and I don’t need any stinkin chocolates. But I would love some Starbucks! I will never say no to coffee; if I could get a caffeine IV drip, I would! I’m not the only one. If she doesn’t like coffee, get her tea. If fountain sodas are her thing, do that too. You get the idea.

Favorite things – Every girl has favorite things, two of mine happen to be Bath & Body

Works and candles. So buy the things you know she will love. In fact, Bath & Body Works is having one of their famous sales and it’s Buy 3, get 3 free. Retail Me Not has a great app for finding coupons for almost any store that you can access right on your smartphone. I recently started using it myself.

Household Items – There are some women that will have a complete meltdown if any sort of home appliance or bath room accessory is bought as a gift. I definitely do not fall into that category, although without a doubt, my best friend does. Please do redo my bathroom
cabinets or buy me a Keurig. Heck, I will even take a new vacuum or blender, even a new comforter. With age I have learned to appreciate these things.

The moral of the story? Guys, are you paying attention to your woman? We aren’t hard to figure out, we just want to know you are paying attention and know what we like. It took me years to convince my husband that I WANT BOOKS. He doesn’t like buying them  (or even a gift card) because he says that is not a proper gift. But if I love books and I want books why does he get to tell me it’s not a proper gift? Can you see how some of our arguments start? It’s totally his fault. Get her what she likes, even if you think it’s crazy.

Trust me, it’s just easier.

Now, I have to say, ladies, be fair and do the same for your man in return. I did buy him a bottle of cologne (because I liked the smell) but I also ordered him some things for the garage that he has been wanting but hasn’t bought for himself. Valentines Day is sold as a holiday for flowers and chocolate but it doesn’t have to be. Buy gifts that are more personable for the person you love. You don’t have to get it, or even agree, but it’s a good time to spoil the person you love and to make it count!

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Valentine’s Day Frugal Tips

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 28th January 2013

True love means never over spending to impress someone. Coupon & savings expert Jon Lal – founder of BeFrugal.com – provides the following money-saving tips for Valentine’s Day:

  • In an effort to save, many will make gifts. This is fine if you enjoy doing so, but consider the cost of your time as you make cookies, an old-fashioned homemade paper valentine or write a poem. Using technology can help you save time, while remaining original. You can publish a free iTunes playlist of love songs or use the app Songify to create your own love song.
  • If you’d rather purchase a gift, create a budget and consider gift ideas before shopping. After you have a plan, shop online so you can save more money. Always look for a free promo code for a discount or free shipping plus shop through a cash back site to earn cash back for free. You can often combine a discount and earn Cash Back.  Plus, if you pay with a rewards credit card, you can also accumulate some points. Just be sure to pay that off so you avoid interest.
  • Even those on a budget can treat their sweetie to a night out. Be sure to check for a restaurant coupon and consider dining out for dessert only to reduce your spending.

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Valentine’s Day Activities

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 8th February 2012

Could there be anything more romantic then watching the Westminster Dog Show and cuddling with your sweetie, family, or animal companion? It starts on Monday and culminates on Tuesday night when they crown the doggie Miss (or Mr.) America.

If you feel like spreading the love, volunteer at a local organization.  If you are single, try serving dinner at a soup kitchen. After the first few minutes, you’ll forget about being dateless. Or better yet, get some friends together and go as a group.

Since it’s a Tuesday night, it might be more fun to rent a romantic movie, pick up some salmon and make this great recipe at home.

Fresh & Easy has a dozen roses for $11.99 ,  lobster ravioli for dinner, and some fresh strawberries along with chocolate truffles for dessert.

For those who love the environmentally conscious, a big thank you to Max Goldberg for putting together this list of organic chocolates and treats.

If you do wish to indulge, many restaurants are serving their specials all weekend long. Check out Open Table for the places in your area.

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