How not to cause a dent in your finances this Valentine's Day

Feb 14, 2012, 6 a.m.

On Tuesday, February 7 th , the Charlotte Observer printed a list of five thoughtful but inexpensive Valentine's Day gifts. Each gift encompassed a material response to the upcoming holiday. Some of the suggestions involved store-bought items and some involved easy homemade gifts. But is this practice of financial expenditure, no matter how low-key, really the right way to commemorate love and romance?

The most inexpensive Valentine's Day gifts come from the heart

A while back, while on vacation at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, an elderly couple enjoyed a night out by visiting a local comedy club. In the course of his act, the comedian began to discuss "pick-up" lines. He made various jokes, and then pointed out the male member of the vacationing couple. "Hey, Pop," he said, "What's your favorite pick-up line?"

"Don't have one," the senior answered. "Haven't needed one for over forty years now."

The answer failed to derail the joke master. "Well. If you did have one, what would it be?"

The old man remained silent for a moment, looked across the table at his wife of forty-two years, and then slowly answered the question. "Your husband sure is lucky," he said.

Easy homemade gifts take their value from the daily strength of a relationship

The mouth speaks what is in the heart. Flowers could never increase the value of the old man's response to the comedian's question. If a relationship lacks daily expressions of love and concern, then not even the most expensive Valentine's Day gift can remedy long-running relationship deficiencies. Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but even in the movie of the same name, the heroine eventually realized that true love weighs more than any material unit of measure.

A sample list of inexpensive Valentine's Day gifts runs as follows:

Commit to daily expressions of affection and concern and then put it into immediate practice.

Look around the home for some chore that has always been assumed to be the task of your mate and then do that chore on Valentine's Day and perhaps many days thereafter.

Let this Valentine's Day be the kickoff for a lifetime of compliments that express your appreciation for your mate.

Men: Don't just put a new roll of toilet paper on the empty cardboard roll. Install it correctly.

Women: Put the ironing board away after you use it. Start on Valentine's Day.

AND always give a Valentine's Day card that spells out your affection in words!

The Internet contains an endless resources that can give you ideas for crafts, tidbits and other easy homemade gifts. Perhaps the best and most inexpensive Valentine's Day gift involves finding the right words, backing them up with action, and doing it day after day after day.

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