Ways to Say I Love You That Don’t Cost a Dime

Long ago in my stupid days, I went nuts with credit cards. I ran up a 6-figure debt over a 12-year period. I did pay all of it back plus interest and fees and it was anything but easy. I’m still shocked and embarrassed I let it happen.


The funny thing is I didn’t make any really huge purchases. I didn’t max out a $10,000 credit limit with a single purchase or anything that extravagant. It was just a constant accumulation of smaller purchases exposed to double-digit interest rates and sloppy money management. The truth is I five- and ten-‘dollared’ myself and my family into a kind of financial death.

In love, it’s the little things that add up, too. But in a good way. Sure the big efforts are appreciated, but quite frankly it’s the little day-to-day things we do that make a difference.

I’m not going to discourage you from buying your beloved flowers for Valentine’s Day or making his favorite meal and serving it by candlelight in the bedroom. Not me! But I do have a few suggestions for things you can do that will score big in the Little Things Do Count Department.

1. Get the kids dressed so your spouse can spend an hour in the bathroom by herself. Tell her at least a little bit ahead of time so she can enjoy the anticipation as well.

2. In an uncharacteristic move, take out the trash even though you’ve received no reminder and there’s still a little room left. Repeat often.

3. Clean up/fix/install whatever it is you’ve been promising but haven’t gotten around to. Write up your intention in a Gift Certificate indicating the estimated date of completion.

4. Tuck a love note into his pocket when he’s not looking that tells him you can’t wait to see him tonight.

5. While he’s in the shower, write a mushy note on the mirror with lipstick or a dry-erase marker.

6. Do something neither of you wants to do. Someone has to clean out the refrigerator, resolve the mystery charge on the credit card bill. Go ahead. Be the one.

7. Hand over rights to the remote control for one entire week. Put it in writing.

8. Leave a recording of “your” song as a voicemail. If you don’t have a song, Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful to Me” is bound to get some attention. Hint: Slydial is a voice messaging service that connects you directly to someone’s mobile voicemail. Pretty sly, huh? It’s free in exchange for listening to a short ad. Dial 267 759-3425 from any landline or mobile phone. At the voice prompt, enter the U.S. mobile phone number of the person you want to slydial. You will be directly connected to the person’s voicemail. Leave a voicemail then sit back and relax.

9. Make arrangements with a neighbor, friends or relatives to take the kids so you can have a romantic night alone.

10. Write a history of your romance and courtship in the third-person and tuck this special Valentine under her pillow.

There you go—ten ideas for how you can celebrate this season of love without breaking the bank. Don’t see anything that appeals to you? That’s OK. At least I got you thinking about it.

Ideas of your own? Great! Share them in the comments below. 

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2 replies
  1. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Rather than buy greeting cards, I bought each member of our family a blank journal and we write notes to each other on our birthdays and holidays. It’s fun reading back over the years, watching the kids’ penmanship, artwork, and letters improve, and it’s a great recap of what we’ve done over the years.

  2. Betty Thomas
    Betty Thomas says:

    These are great ideas Mary. I pack my husband a lunch every work day and he tells me often how appreciative he is. Many days I slip a little love note or love memory in his lunch box. He calls me for no reason during the day just to say he loves me. It is the little things!


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