Valentine

Karen White (front) and Mary Garrett of April Showers in Commerce prepare a vase of roses to be delivered today. Flowers and candy will abound because it’s Valentine’s Day.

“Cheap” isn’t quite the dirty word it used to be, but no one wants to skimp on their love.

This is the paradox of Valentine’s Day 2009. Nearly everyone is saving or trying to make ends meet, but they still want to show their significant other that they care.

Here are some ways to stretch your dollars on this Valentine’s Day. Even if money can’t buy you love, it can certainly help keep that love going strong.

Dinner

An old standby is still a shared dinner with your loved one. It’s a classic for a reason.

If you’re going out to eat, you don’t always have to go for the fanciest spots in town. Pick one of your local favorites — there are plenty of worthy restaurants in the Lockport area — or perhaps the restaurant where you had your first date. Chances are, it won’t be the most expensive eatery you’ve ever visited.

If you do plan on dining somewhere a little more expensive, be sure to budget accordingly. Make a promise not to eat out for a week or two if that’s what it takes to have a memorable Valentine’s dinner. And there’s nothing wrong with using coupons.

Anywhere you’re going, if you need to make reservations, it might be too late. Get on the phone post haste.

If you still want your Valentine’s Day to revolve around a meal without going out to a restaurant, you can always cook a meal with (or for) your significant other. Sometimes (if you’re a decent enough cook), that meal can be the best of all.

Jewelry

This is the perfect Valentine’s Day to steer clear of buying jewelry. But if you do want to go this route, take a look at homemade jewelry at smaller shops. Since Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year, it’s a good opportunity to take your Valentine out to look at jewelry before making a purchase.

But otherwise, now is probably not the time to buy diamond earrings and the like.

Flowers and candy

Both Valentine’s Day clichés, but you usually can’t go wrong with the former. As for the latter, if you’re going to get some chocolate, it should probably the be more expensive kind. A small box of Godiva chocolates is always preferable to a giant bag of fun size 3 Musketeers bars ... unless your significant other really loves 3 Musketeers. Compared to other gifts, candy is relatively cheap.

Flowers, on the other hand, can be quite expensive. Especially if you plan on going with the full dozen roses, arranged in a special way.

It’s probably best to cut back on the amount of flowers, while adding other small gifts. Same thing goes for candy. One of those smaller gifts being ...

Greeting cards

It doesn’t take much, really. Give yourself a few minutes to find a good card for your loved one.

Add it to whatever else you’re getting for him or her. Sign it with something nice. It’s the least you can do.

Other gifts

If your loved one’s tastes are often more practical than romantic, this is the perfect Valentine’s Day for you. Just remember not to make it too practical. A vacuum cleaner isn’t always the best way to say “I love you.”

If you’re still on the fence about what to get, take a quick trip to your local stores. Perhaps inspiration will strike.

Making the right choices

Whatever the case, be thoughtful. If you’re buying flowers, make sure they’re the right flowers. If you’re buying candy, know that your loved one isn’t allergic.

And if you can conquer Valentine’s Day with a simple “I love you” and nothing else, more power to you.

Contact editor Phil Dzikiyat dzikiyp@gnnewspaper.com.

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