The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Valentine's Day Dilemma

by: Mitch Worley, Special for The Quill

A nice box of chocolates: $25.

A dozen roses: $75.

That necklace your sweetheart has fawned over since the first time she saw it: $500.

Valentine's Day towering above you like Ivan Drago from Rocky IV and saying, "I must breaaak you:": terrifying!

It's a scary thought that about a week from now Valentine's Day will be here and you still haven't got that special something for your special someone. To make it worse, you're broke and don't get paid until the day after Valentine's Day. Topping it all off, a study from the National Retail Federation says this year is going to mark an all-time high for the average cost for consumers to woo their significant other with the average price rising from $101 last year to the current average of $120 per person.

On the bright side though, you don't have to fit into that average and you can still find inexpensive ways, or ways that will fit within your means to show that special someone you care and will leave them breathless.

In being a college student with little to no money and in a relationship with the same lovely lady for the past four and a half years, I have become the master at stretching a dollar for Valentine's Day and maximizing the "Wow!" factor that is supposed to accompany the occasion.

The most important thing is not to be cheap, rather to use what you have to do your best to show the one you love how much you care about them. Spending a great deal of time planning and preparing is what matters the most and if you put forth a maximum effort, you're sure to get a positive result.

First and foremost, if you're absolutely broke, consider not buying roses. It doesn't make much sense to spend so much money on something that lasts less than a week and really don't get much attention outside of the original thrill of receiving them. Besides, everyone buys roses for Valentine's Day.

If you think it's of utmost importance to get flowers, change it up and scrap roses. There are plenty of other varieties of flowers that will melt hearts and break the mundane clichˇ of roses. Any kind of lily, irises, or tulips will do and if you want to best emulate the appearance of a rose, red tulips are strikingly similar.

If there is one subtle thing that may not sound like a big deal but really is, take the day off if you're supposed to work. Free up an entire day to spend with your special someone on the day that really should be all about them. With that free time, leave little hints of what main event for the night holds and let her know you can't get her off your mind. Leave little notes in places you know she'll find it, along with just enjoying the day together on a walk together to talk and just hang out.

Now that you've saved some money on the flower front and have begun the wooing process by dropping off little notes, you've got a little more wiggle room with doing other things. You could do things such as go out for a nice dinner for two at a place of fine dining you know she would love, check out that new movie she's been begging you to take her to, combine the two, or call your own number and make a meal on your own.

Making your own meal and spending that entire time together is a very viable option. Burn a CD with some songs that will set the mood, make her favorite dish, and just spend the night talking, dancing, and just enjoying her company. Most people don't take the time to sit and enjoy the little things in life, but if you do take that time, it shows your loved one they're the most important thing in the world to you and this is the kind of effort you'll always strive to put forth for them.

This isn't a guide on how to spend every Valentine's Day, but it's a good starting point to get the wheel turning and add your own spin on these ideas, or make up your own. There are a plethora of other magnificent ideas waiting to be tried and tested; it's just a matter of hunting down the right ones and making the moment yours to show someone how much you really care about them.