I like playing this game with my sweetie. "What would you do if you had a thousand dollars? What about ten thousand? A million? What if you didn't have to work for a living?" It's a fun brainteaser, it stimulates imagination, and it helps us get to know each other, our money styles, and our priorities better. The question currently on the table is, "What if you had $500 to spend for Valentine's Day?"
The average person in the US, a survey just found, will spend about $126 on Valentine's Day. Between dinner at a nice restaurant (if you can make a reservation!), maybe flowers or chocolates, a special piece of jewelry, or even a night at a swanky hotel, I can see that adding up to $126 easily. And if you're dating multiple people, as many of us in the Bay Area are... scheduling as well as budgeting can take a toll. This Valentine's Day, my sweetie and I have been invited to join another couple and some of their friends at a steakhouse, and (after consulting the menu and our budget) we accepted gladly. The next day, I'm being taken to dinner by my other honey on our regular date night. While I'm sure that will be lovely, nobody is going all-out. We'll probably exchange cards, and maybe have a special dessert. Ta-daaaaa! Holidays with the frugal. :P
If I had $500 to spend, though, I'd make some big plans. The prize for the contest is split between $200 on a Visa gift card, $100 at wine.com, and $200 for See's candies. Pretty swank, huh? Here's how I'd spend it:
First, a skin scrub and massage for two at Imperial Day Spa (I have a gift certificate from Christmas, and I'd pay for my sweetie to have one, too). We need the relaxation and the pampering -- it's a real treat, and too pricey for all the time. Before that, we'd probably want to have dinner at a restaurant. My sweetie loves sushi, and since we're in Japantown anyway, there are a few options -- or we could go for Indian at Dosa, or revisit the delicious cornbread at The Elite Cafe. So many choices! If we're in the mood for dessert after our spa time, we could stop by Miyako's for a cone, or maybe extend the date by picking up croissants from Fillmore Bakeshop for the next morning. AND we'd rent a car for the evening so we wouldn't have to deal with public transit.
I don't drink wine, which is one reason I don't give it as a gift. However, Wine.com has a few other choices -- like their gift baskets of Godiva or Ghirardelli chocolate, or something more savory -- even this Big Kahuna. So I'd have one of those delivered to my honey with the broken arm (snacks are way easier than cooking a meal one-handed!), and also get her a lovely crystal decanter that would double as a vase for the flowers I'd present in it.
And then there's the See's! *rubs hands together gleefully* I think I finally have to crack and stop spending all the $500 on just one day. It's more in my nature to plan for the future, and I could really add to our wedding reception with a See's Candies gift certificate. See, we're getting married on Sweetest Day, and a few bowls or boxes or jars of candy would fit the occasion beautifully. Maybe these classic peppermint twists? Or chocolate hearts with assorted fillings? Or these luscious Black Forest truffles... yum!
All of these are possibilities if I had $500 to spend on Valentine's Day treats. But none of them are necessary. Even on a reduced budget, I will be chock-full of affection and happiness -- and that's the point, right?