Valentine’s Day is one of the most expensive days on the American calendar. It’s interesting to me when men and women have such high expectations when it comes to Valentine’s day, Christmas and any other holiday throughout the year where gifts are wanted. Living in New York City, I can only imagine the dating scene can become very stressful and uneventful when your pockets are not flowing with disposable cash. There are available cashiers, stock workers, maintenance workers, secretaries, supervisors and even managers who would appreciate being treated to a nice evening out being wined and dined, however, it’s just not in the budget.
A look back to when we dated according to our wage
I used to have these expectations when Chris and I started dating. He acquired a full-time job in a law firm while I was still a cashier working at night and on weekends. Our movie nights consisted of picking up a quick meal and visiting Blockbuster for a rented movie. Eventually, we would go to dinners to the Olive Garden, Applebee’s and restaurant chains like this where we would wait for 30-45 minutes just to sit at a table and eat somewhat good food – what did we know we were young. During this time, we would talk, laugh and have a good time all before sitting down at a table.
In the early days of dating, expectations to spend a whole paycheck of a few hundred dollars on just one night sounds crazy right about now. And I would be more mad than appreciative if the suggestion of going to a restaurant on an actual day would come up. I actually love a home-cooked meal, because when we met he was in the process of obtaining his culinary degree. The degree didn’t come to be but the love of cooking is still there. I try to indulge in that joy as much as I can without overdoing it. lol
With Valentine’s day, flower shops are preparing to overcharge for roses, restaurants are charging more and giving less, and jewelry stores are raking in the dough as per usual. What does a young man or woman do when there are such high expectations to give on an overrated day? I say date your wage. So who thinks about a budget on such a loving day? If you have responsibilities, that’s all you think about. So I say, young, old, in between, date your wage. Here are some ideas for those who may have a full heart but not a full wallet to splurge on the one they love.
3 Tips to Dating your Wage
- Acknowledge the day
You may not be able to go out but at least acknowledge the day with some kind gestures. So today is Valentine’s Day, how many of those cards and cute stuff will be on super sale tomorrow? Plan for the future so you can be prepared to acknowledge the day. When your significant other wakes up or comes over or when you see them, you can already be prepared to acknowledge the day in your way. A LOT of maturities comes with doing this. If you think this is a tad too much, lol, then you can also just write your person a love note or buy a blank card and write your thoughts in there.
This year, Chris got me a pair of sneakers and a laptop lap thingy – sorry I don’t know the exact name of it. I can comfortably sit on the couch and use my laptop with enough space for my mouse (yes, I still use one of those) and even have space for other gadgets because of those who don’t have an iPad, iPhone, iPods and other essentials for entertainment and socializing. It has a sturdy wood top with a soft cushion on the bottom to not bruise my thighs.
- Kind gestures
So when I finally did get a desk job, Chris would send me these huge bouquets of flowers. They were beautiful. And then my birthday came in April and I’d get another big bouquet of flowers. All the women in the office were jealous. lol, It wasn’t until I went into the flower shop and got a small plant that I realized how much this man paid for these elaborate signs of love. Although they were beautiful, I knew that it was way out of budget to buy flowers that would eventually die to never been seen on a desk again.
You don’t have to buy or receive a big bouquet – try for a couple of flowers or a plant. Plants are cool – there are a few that even have flowers that grow if taken care of. Did you know there are plants that promote healthy air to breathe in? Give your valentine a cute plant for their office. How about their favorite bag of candy? Not everyone cares for those boxes of chocolates – do you even know if they are allergic to chocolate?
When was the last time you purchased a favorite book or some kind of reading material for them? This would also be a kind gesture for Valentine’s day gift without spending a lot of money.
- Let’s eat
First dates can be tricky. Going to people’s houses can be an issue, especially in today’s world of sex trafficking and stuff. I’d get to know the person a bit more before being in a private setting with them. However, if your wage doesn’t allow you to be able to afford dinner or anything elaborate like this, how about you plan a double date or a friendly get together.
You can pick the friend with the nicest apartment and each friend invites a potential partner over. You can have small bites, drinks, play games, get to know each other in a fun atmosphere. Let’s face it, first dates or first encounters with people you may have met online can be a bit overwhelming. Take the pressure off and have fun. In NYC, there are a few pop-up game nights in restaurants and lounges just for this purpose. I don’t know what the cover charges are because I don’t date, lol.
My point is, you don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant and spend your light bill times two on a meal. Brunch dates are cute and inexpensive too. You also don’t have to go into a jewelry store and give away your life savings on a bracelet for your second date. Relax. Take the journey one day at a time and spend what you can truly afford. They will appreciate it and so will your wallet.
Do you date according to your wage or you overdo it for the expectation?