Being Frugal is for Lovers

If you took advantage of the holiday sales this weekend, good for you on trying to save a few dollars. However, if you were like almost every other American, you joined the rat race of consumerism and gave in to shopping just to shop. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but considering Christmas is less than 30 days away, you want to be able to spend your dollars on your loved ones, supplies for crafting for your loved ones, or just to save!

How do you spend time with your lover without spending what could be the extra splurge on a gift? Jasmine from An Experiment in Poverty writes about cheap (but fun!) dates, the ups and downs of being broke, in love, and how to maintain a relationship on a budget, without compromising a dollar. Jasmine and Levi share their best advice on love and money (or lack of). Read on!

what is your favorite cheap date?

Jasmine: we really like eating out in restaurants so if we're dying to eat out but short on cash, we usually split an entree to keep the cost down.
Levi: we keep our eyes open for entrees that we both enjoy and are big enough to satisfy both of us.
J: yeah, that can actually be tough with levi. this boy can put it away. he has the metabolism of a hummingbird. it actually makes me pretty jealous.
L: jasmine has jealousy issues sometimes. annnnyway, after dinner, we usually like to get dessert. there's a liquor store with a HUGE candy selection about a mile away from our house. we really enjoy walking, so as part of our date, we'll take a walk down to the liquor store for dessert. sometimes we only end up with a couple now and laters, but we really enjoy spending the time together outside, talking to each other, laughing together. it doesn't take much to feel like we're spending quality time together.

what advice do you have for so-cal readers to do on dates?

L: the recession has been really good for date nights. restaurants have tons of deals if you pay attention.
J: yeah! we've noticed tonnnns of specials on tuesday nights. a little italian spot down the street from us has $5 tuesdays - $5 appetizers, wine, entrees, dessert. we definitely take advantage of that one.
L: just be sure to take care of your server! just because your meal is cheap doesn't mean your tip should be.
J: i would also advise socal readers to take advantage of our amazing weather. take walks! visit local free spots - rodgers gardens in newport, the getty in LA. we recently found a couple of historical ranchos here in long beach that give free tours. there are tons of amazing things to do for free if you just do a little bit of research.
L: and be sure to bring a camera with you to take pictures! a camera makes everything more fun.

with a low budget, you have to get creative. has your creativity ever surprised you?

L: i'm amazed at some of the recipes jasmine comes up with to make dinner at home. i think she gets really creative in the kitchen and does a great job feeding me.
J: haha! we talk about food so much. levi is a really creative person. we were really bored last winter with nothing to do. we wanted to play scrabble, but didn't have a scrabble set or any money to buy one. so levi decided that we should make our own. i researched what the board looked like, the rules, how many of each letter a set came with, etc. and levi put together this incredible scrabble board using stuff we had at home. seriously, this things is so cool. it's made of wire and illustration board. i love it! and for my birthday this year, levi made me an oil painting that is never allowed to be sold. his creativity always surprises me.

you and levi seem to enjoy the little things, what are the small details about showing each other you care by not overspending?

J: we haven't really had much opportunity to buy each other presents so we show each other we care by our actions. levi feels really loved when i take care of things around the house without him having to ask me. if i spend a day doing dishes and laundry or organizing the cupboards, levi knows i care about him....especially since he knows i hate doing dishes.
L: this sounds really cheesy and cliche, but i bring jasmine breakfast in bed a lot...i'll surprise her with her favorite pastry from peet's before she even wakes up (she's a late sleeper). i also do things like tell her how beautiful she is, how much i love her, and why i love her. she really seems to appreciate those things.
J: i do appreciate those things! we both have a really good understanding of how the other person shows and receives love, so we make conscious efforts to show the other we care by doing or saying something we know they would appreciate. it takes some thought and sacrifice, but it's definitely worth it. even though i'm really verbal, levi feels more loved when i do things for him so i try to remember that every day.
L: it's really all about putting the other person first in everything you do. if both partners are putting the other first at all times, then both partners feel loved, cared for, and appreciated. money is really nice, but you don't need it to have a healthy, happy relationship.

Thank you, Jasmine and Levi!
Check out their blog, An Experiment in Poverty.