Wednesday, February 3, 2010

valentine's day on the cheap, grocery costs

Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and if you're not careful, you'll wait until the last minute and spend too much money. I'm jumping around in Amy's book to share some of her ideas and then I'll add some of my own. Lady's, we all know that we can make this day much too difficult for men. Give him a break and always an "A" for effort!! I am the mother of practical gifts, and I absolutely loath whoever came up with the crazy notion that "real" gifts shouldn't be something we need (or have an electrical plug...same idea). That is just silly. Don't let some notion of romanticism give you or your poor significant other cause for overspending. I gave my husband permission to give me practical gifts when we first married. For our first anniversary, he bought me a little notebook because I was determined to create a "price book" (you'll read about it soon). He found exactly the one I wanted and set it on the table with a vase of wild flowers and a card to greet me when I came home from work that day. I was sooo excited...seriously, weird, I know. It remains my favorite all-time gift, even though he has been more extravagant over the years.

OK...some frugal ideas for the big day:
1. Bake a cherry or strawberry pie and cut a heart design in the crust.
2. Make a simple but MEANINGFUL homemade card...those store bought puppies are SOOO overpriced.
3. Pick a bouquet of flowers and/or pussy willows/winter growth if you live up north and tie with a red bow.
4. Make a heart shaped pizza and red jello for dessert.
5. Have a home date. We did this often when the kids were little (we had 4 in five years and money was REALLY tight) We'd get a romantic movie from the library and, after feeding the little ones mac and cheese and getting them in bed by 7 (oh, yes we did!!!), I'd make a nice dinner for the two of us, complete with candles and music.
6. I've always kept VD small for the kids...a little bag of candy (usually Christmas candy bought on 75% clearance with just whatever was wrapped in red...awesome excuse for mom to eat all the green wrapped reeses...) and sometimes a note about how much I love them.
7.Heart shaped cookies (cutter shaped from a tuna can, if you need one.)
8. Men, if your wife insists on flowers, scrounge the basement for a vase and buy the flowers at the grocery store...they have such great deals on roses, much cheaper than the florist.
9. Do a job that you've been meaning to do for a long time and leave a special note there.
10. Call your spouse at work and tell them how much you love them, and mean it!!

There you go...feel free to add your own ideas.

I've been meaning to add our weekly grocery expenditure, so you can see how we really live. The first week I tracked was Jan 24-30. You need to know that groceries for me include: food, toiletries, paper goods, cleaning products and pet food. Some weeks will be higher than others, as you will see. Our average for 7 people remains around $80-$90 a week. This week was: $71.00 ($64.00 at Aldi and $7.00 at Dollar Tree.) I'll always round to the nearest dollar. This doesn't include eating out, which only included one $2 breakfast for me at work, if I recall correctly. That comes from the entertainment budget, but we rarely eat out.

Daily Buck (how I saved money today): I walked to work in the icky rainy cold at 7 am and drank some coffee that had been sitting far too long...uck.

Many of you have been emailing great ideas...try to get added as a follower so we can all share them!


  1. One valentine's Day, I put Kisses and Hugs inside balloons and blew them up and when the kids popped the balloons and ate the candy they could bring the paper (that says Hugs or Kisses) to me and get a special hug or kiss!! They really liked that one, but I must say it was kind of hard to get them into the little balloon hole, but it was so worth it to get (and give) extra hugs and kisses!! :)

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  3. Cleanin' lady...what a cool idea!! And blooeyes, I'm gonna blog about that very thing in the next couple of days. Did you use it and find it easy?