Seven Simple Tips for Romance on a Dime
When budget constraints hit, dating and romance take a serious back seat to a mortgage and general necessary living expenses. Whether you are single and dating, or married and maintaining a home, here are seven simple ways to bring on the romance without breaking the bank. (Warning: This article contains a couple of rather racy suggestions. Keep that in mind if you have children reading over your shoulder.)
Document the event on your wine cork.
Whether it's a first date or an anniversary of a long standing relationship, a man can score major points by writing the calendar date, the woman he was with and the event on the wine cork and asking to keep it. Even if the two of you never go out again, it's nice for the woman to know you enjoyed the evening enough to reach out with such a touching gesture. It doesn't have to be the cork from an expensive dinner out, either. A picnic in the park, a night of stargazing on the beach or a dinner one of you made for the other are all dates worthy of a decent bottle of wine. It won't add that much to the cost of the evening, and your style meter will register as through the roof. Trust me.
Naked trench coat grocery shopping.
Talk about taking dinner at home to the next level! It's pretty much up to the ladies to pull this one off for their significant others. Bare hairy man legs and dress shoes won't look anything but goofy, but sheer hose (or bare legs) and heels are something most women can pull off. If you've still got a decent lingerie collection, slip on the bustier and garter belt, put up the hair in a French twist, slap on some heels and tie up the trench coat. Then have him meet you or drive there together to pick out special items for that evening's dinner. Give a quick flash where nobody can see before you head into the store so he knows what you're doing. You can bet he'll be eager to help hunt down those necessary dinner items so you can both get home and get cooking.
Warming sensual product substitute for pennies.
If you find you love warming products for behind closed doors activities, consider including a menthol cough drop in your next round of oral explorations. If you are actively using the rebate and super shopping programs from either Walgreens or CVS, you can likely get yours for free. Otherwise, they are more than affordable enough to incorporate into the mix. Both men and women can benefit from this. Trust me, if this type of product is what gets your motor running, and budget constraints have removed them from your bedroom repertoire, tossing one of these little gems into the mix will likely have your O meter tacking from zero to one hundred eighty in less than two minutes. You're welcome.
Dinner and a movie. At home.
I almost didn't include this one because I think it's been hashed over enough. However, I think there are ways to take it to the next level. For example, take the chocolate themed movie party I suggested previously and make it a steamy love fest for two with some minor tweaking. Or have some couples over for a grown ups only evening. I'm all for including children on a regular basis, but if you want it to feel like date night for everyone, consider having someone babysit for the night. Hire a teen or broke college student to serve dinner and have them distribute snacks and refill beverages throughout the movie.
Get something steamy to watch so everyone's engines will be revved up when they head home. Trust me, they'll thank you for it. The other way to play this is to go back to the "just the two of you" plan with simple dinner ingredients that are of a high quality and a menu that's easy to prepare. That way, the whole thing is about relaxing together. Again though, I recommend a steamy movie that's still within the realm of respectability. Very few women (at least at the dating stage) appreciate having the porn flicks pulled out while they are actually in the room. But a steamy movie that's theater appropriate in the privacy of her date's love nest? Well, that's a different story. Serve strawberries for dessert, and curl up on the floor, leaning back against the sofa. Have her sit in front of you and lean back to start the movie. Likely she'll get the hint. If she doesn't, just tell her you don't want her out of reach for the flick. Then get ready for a full access, interactive event while you have her right where you want her. Not being able to see when the next move is coming is seriously hot. She'll enjoy it. Believe me.
Love coupons aren't just for Valentine's Day.
We've been getting into this idea for other occasions like birthdays, or celebrating a particular event or accomplishment. They really do add a ton of intimacy for little to no cost. The price of course will fluctuate depending on whether a coupon is redeemable for a foot rub or their favorite homemade dessert. Life often gets so busy we forget to incorporate these little gestures for each other. You could even write a coupon on a slightly larger piece of paper and roll it up as a scroll tied with ribbon. They are also fine to use for “just because” presents, or to let them know you'll be baking their favorite pie tonight after dinner so they have something to look forward to all day. The little things really do help keep the big things in perspective.
The gift of music.
I've heard certain men say they made the final decision on getting married for their wife's meatloaf. Among many other reasons, I married my husband for the music. He's always paid attention to what I like and makes sure to search out any particular song I've expressed an interest in to download it to our Nano. Occasionally, if there's a CD I like he's made sure to pick it up for me over the years. Recently, we've started downsizing and converting all of our CD's to digital files and sort of doing the “yard sale” thing via Amazon. So if there's a tune I express an interest in that he can't find on I-Tunes or a comparable site, he finds the CD online and puts it on the Ipod Nano with the other music I love.
When we're ready to unload the CD, we just sell it used. It's an affordable way to go, keeps us downsized on the plastic and CD storage, and keeps the fresh music flowing into our lives. Otherwise, downloaded tunes are around a buck a pop, making them a very affordable gift. When we were still doing the CD thing, he would compile special selections for me from time to time as well. I've always found it to be one of the most romantic things he does for me on a regular basis. So if you're looking to impress your lady and don't have a ton to spend, consider music that you select specifically for her.
Bring the atmosphere. Or the dessert.
This is just my personal taste, but when I was single I always felt weird bringing the romance items to the guy's house unless we were in a relationship. It's kind of right up there with admitting we have a libido. As single women, we don't necessarily feel comfortable sending strong sexual signals until we've been made to feel secure. But if the woman is making the man dinner, he can score major brownie points showing up with a set of dinner tapers, a bottle of wine and selection of dinner music. Use the tip from above and compile a CD from your home music collection you can leave at her place. It'll give her something to remember while you're off at work the next week getting up the nerve to call. Flowers are a nice gesture, but if it's early in the relationship my bet's on letting her know you realize everything that goes into putting a meal together and being happy to take some of the load off her plate. If the man is making dinner, and you get a sense that cooking is something he's going through the trouble of specifically for you, chances are baking is not something in his repertoire. Making or bringing a great dessert will round out the meal and is a nice gesture.
Disclaimer: I did my best to keep this respectful and tasteful, while still getting down to the heart of the subject matter. If there's a finer way to walk the line on this topic, I'm all ears.