Romance costs money. There’s nothing wrong with romance in and of itself. What’s wrong is the marketing industry making you feel like you have to engage in certain behaviors in order to express your love for one another. You need to buy flowers, wine and dine your partner, and vacation in exotic locations. Those things are great if you enjoy them and can afford them. But, don’t feel like you have to conform to society’s expectations because it can cost you big money. Here are ways that hubby and I avoid “romance” and save money.
Early on in our relationship, I told hubby that I don’t really dig flowers. I think they’re a waste of money and they’re a pain to take care of. I know, it was rather presumptuous of me to assume that he would buy me flowers. But, I wanted to let him know that I don’t expect him to express his affections for me through flowers. There are ladies at work who receive flowers every week and I always wonder how much that costs.
There are ladies at work who receive flowers every week and I always wonder how much that costs. If flowers truly bring you joy and it’s not going to bust your budget, awesome, knock yourselves out. However, I don’t think you should feel like you have to receive or send flowers just because that’s what society expects you do when you’re in a relationship.
We Don’t Exchange Gifts
When we first started dating, we exchanged gifts up to $50 in value on birthdays and anniversaries. After being together for a couple of years, we put an end to exchanging gifts. We’re both in our 30s and have the means to buy what we want.
Also, it’s really hard to come up with gift ideas. We’re not collectors and we don’t lack for anything in our lives. For our first anniversary, hubby bought me a glass paper weight type thing that to this day I’m not sure what it is. Honestly, I don’t think hubby knows what it is either. Point is, he ended up buying a random item because I’m a hard person to shop for. For hubby, I would buy his favorite brands of bourbon that he normally buys for himself anyway.
So, after a couple years of this we stopped exchanging gifts. Not only are we saving money, we also have less clutter to deal with around the house.
No Celebrating Holidays at Restaurants
Okay, I think it’s important to acknowledge the special people in your life but you don’t necessarily have to do that in a restaurant or on a specific date. Hubby and I have long stopped going out to eat on Valentine’s Day because restaurants jack up their prices just for this special holiday.
For the past couple of years, we’ve had steak and crab legs at home. We buy sirloin for about $8/lb and crab legs for $10/lb. For $30, we eat extremely well. If you were to eat at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, when restaurants typically introduce set price menus, you’ll like pay at least $30 per person.
Similarly, we don’t eat out for New Year’s Eve, Easter, or Thanksgiving. We enjoy dining out every now and then. We just don’t feel like we necessarily have to do it on a specific date.
Hubby and I had a very small wedding. We really wanted to just go to the courthouse but suspected our families wouldn’t like that very much. In the end, we compromised and had a small ceremony in the in-laws’ backyard. We hired a justice of the peace to officiate the wedding, I got my dress for $150 from David’s Bridal, the food was catered from Famous Dave’s, beverages were bought from Costco, and the tables and chairs were rented. Oh, my brother-in-law kindly served as our photographer for free.
All told, we had about 30 guests and if I may brag a little, they all really enjoyed the festivities. Some of them told us they really liked how intimate the gathering was and they enjoyed being able to mingle and talk to everyone.
Moral of the story, do what feels right to you. Wedding costs can quickly spiral out of control. In 2016, the national average cost of a wedding was $35,329! That’s just cray cray. That money is the equivalent of a 20% down payment on a $175,000 house. You can buy a pretty fancy car for that amount of money. Some people come from big families and they’re expected to invite everyone under the sun to their wedding. I get that. You just have to understand that the money you spend on your wedding means you can’t spend it on something else.
We got married in September. We had taken a trip to France in April of the same year so we considered that to be our honeymoon. The best part is that we used credit card hacking to pay for the flights and hotel so our only out of pockets costs were for food and excursions.
The tradition and expectation are for couples to honeymoon right after the wedding. Like I said, we had already taken a big trip so we didn’t feel a honeymoon was necessary. I think it’s totally okay to skip or delay your honeymoon. Most people get married in the summer months and that’s when traveling is the most expensive. Why not take your honeymoon when you’re able to take advantage of travel deals?
Limit Fancy Vacations
The last time hubby and I had an overseas vacation was 3 years ago. We used points to pay for flights and were able to stay with family so our expenses were minimal. Since then, we’ve mostly gone camping and taken day trips when we want to go somewhere and recharge. Many people have the misconception that a vacation means you have to go somewhere far away or take a flight somewhere. In reality, a vacation is what you choose to make of it.
We enjoy camping and road trips because they’re cheaper and we can just take a day off here and there instead of trying to take an entire week off. We love overseas travel but we don’t think that’s the only way to vacation. Suppose an all-inclusive trip to Mexico for 2 costs $1,000, we can have at least 5 camping trips for that amount of money.
Again, I’m not saying that you must vacation in a certain way. However, we realize that certain types of travel tend to be more expensive than others so we choose to travel cheaply which is just as enjoyable. It may not be romantic in some people’s eyes but we try to live for ourselves, not others.
Do you consider yourself a romantic? How does your view of romance affect your finances?