love http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/978/all en-US Happily Ever After: How to Stay Married for 29 Years (and Counting) http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-2812319-small.jpg" alt="couple" title="couple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the end of this month, my husband and I will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. Yes, 29 years. Holy bananas! How time flies!</p> <p>Now, given the current divorce rate, 29 years is a pretty impressive milestone, but what makes it even more noteworthy is that we're not the perfect couple &mdash; not by a long shot. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage">How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips from a 24-Year-Old Marriage</a>)</p> <p>Truth be told, he drives me crazy on most days, and judging from the pulsing vein in his forehead and his standing prescription to Xanax, I'd say he feels much the same way about me. And yet, here we are, totally content (for the most part) and excited about what the next 29 years will bring.</p> <p>So, how did we do it?</p> <h2>Walk Your Own Path</h2> <p>My man is a big guy with a dominating personality. It's one of the things I love about him, but it's also a stark contrast to my more &quot;accommodating&quot; nature.</p> <p>Consequently, I spent the first year of our marriage doing my best to keep him happy and avoid any arguments because, well, that's just what I do.</p> <p>Until that is, my mother told me it was &quot;okay&quot; to disagree. &quot;You're married now,&quot; she said, &quot;but that doesn't mean you disappear. It doesn't mean you stop being you.&quot;</p> <p>Of all the advice my mother has ever given me, that is by far the best.</p> <p>All too often, we look to someone else to make us happy, believing that we have to trade our own sense of fulfillment for being in a relationship. We put our dreams on hold and take a big detour off our chosen path, expecting the relationship itself to be enough to sustain us.</p> <p>And then, we're disappointed when it isn't.</p> <p>The thing is, your partner never actually agreed to take responsibility for your happiness, or the lack thereof. They're not supposed to take charge of your journey &mdash; they're just supposed to be there to share it with you.</p> <p>Fortunately, the fix is simple &mdash; don't disappear.</p> <p>Both of you have to be your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-be-as-happy-as-a-dane">totally authentic and amazing selves</a>.</p> <h2>Love the One You're With</h2> <p>While we're on the subject of authenticity, let's also talk about the importance of acceptance.</p> <p>Many a relationship has ended due to &quot;irreconcilable differences,&quot; and yet many of those differences are often some of the same traits and tendencies we possessed from day one. Granted, we do a decent job of hiding at least some of these traits at the beginning because we're on our best behavior and looking to impress.</p> <p>It's only after we've got a commitment that we begin to let our guard down, and that's when the disillusionment typically begins.</p> <p>Our entertainment adds to that illusion by showing us relationships that are steeped in an unrealistic amount of drama and excitement. We've been bombarded by worlds where true love is akin to magic, where the passion is overwhelming, where the participants always look beautiful, and where the lovers must overcome tremendous odds to win the freedom to finally be together. They'll succeed of course, because True Love always wins out.</p> <p>Even though we know those worlds are fictional, we can't help but be moved by their passion and desire; we want that. And it influences our perception of what a relationship should be.</p> <p>So, it's no wonder that we <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/endurance-frugality-staying-the-course-and-being-a-winner">become disenchanted by the day-to-day grind</a> of a real relationship. There are bills to pay, dishes to wash, carpets to vacuum, and toilets to scrub.</p> <p>Your partner is consistently showing you who they really are (and vice versa), so stop being so surprised when those traits and tendencies continue into the relationship.</p> <p>We have a bad habit of seeing people the way we want to see them rather than as what they're showing us. We see the diamond in the rough, full of promise and potential. They just need a good dose of our own special love and guidance to bring it all out.</p> <p>And then we feel betrayed when they don't live up to our expectations.</p> <p>You don't have to love everything about your partner, but you do have to love them for who they are right now &mdash; quirks, eccentricities, and all. If you can do that, you're already on the road to a long and happy relationship.</p> <h2>Learn What Matters and What Doesn't</h2> <p>If my husband and I were to take a compatibility quiz, I can almost guarantee that we'd fail.</p> <p>I love books; he prefers to wait for the movie. He sees life from a very organized, black and white perspective; while I'm a more creative, many shades of gray type of girl.</p> <p>He's atheist; I'm pagan. He likes meat; I like tofu and sprouts. I wanted five kids when we got married; he was &quot;iffy&quot; about maybe having one. And the list goes on and on.</p> <p>We are, for all intents and purposes, opposites of one another. We've obviously had to make some concessions and compromises along the way.</p> <p>But what we realized is that very few issues required an all or nothing approach. We come together on the things that matter: we love our kids, we love each other, and we both believe that there's always room to grow and change.</p> <p>And that's been enough of a foundation to make these last 29 years work. Yes, it's been quite a roller-coaster ride, but then who doesn't love the roller coaster?</p> <p>Maybe that's a tip worth noting as well.</p> <h2>Learn to Roll With It</h2> <p>I have friends who, as soon as a new relationship looks like it might become serious, insist on having lengthy conversations about everything from the number of children they'll have to the amount of money they'll make, and they're willing to call it quits if the answers they get don't match up with their own.</p> <p>But having such a rigid blueprint for the future leaves nothing to chance, and if there's one constant in this universe, it's that anything and everything could change from one minute to the next.</p> <p>Our different personalities and perspectives might mean we have to work a little harder to find common ground, but it also makes that common ground much more exciting and enjoyable. It also almost guarantees that we'll never have to worry about getting stuck in a rut or becoming bored, two things that almost always lead to those irreconcilable differences.</p> <h2>Fight Right</h2> <p>During my stint in the corporate world, I noticed that the guys in the office were able to battle it out in a meeting and then go to lunch as if the altercation had never even happened. That's not to say that all men are masters of this skill or that they aren't capable of being mean and petty and vengeful when they want to be &mdash; they definitely are. But I saw this &quot;fight-and-forget-it&quot; mentality happen with enough consistency, that it prompted me to think about how I approached conflict in my own relationships.</p> <p>Here's what I've learned.</p> <p>First and foremost, it's okay to fight. In fact, it's absolutely expected if you want the relationship to last and the closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to disagree along the way.</p> <p>You and your beloved are two unique individuals, sharing space, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-couples-fight-over-money-and-what-to-do-about-it">making joint decisions that will have a lasting impact</a> on both of your lives. Of course you're going to disagree, and sometimes, that disagreement will become heated. But with a few ground rules, your relationship can survive and even grow from the experience.</p> <p><strong>Ground Rule #1: Don't Take It Personally</strong></p> <p>Many disagreements are just that &mdash; a disagreement, as in &quot;I think this while you think that.&quot; It doesn't mean your perspective isn't equally as valid &mdash; just that your partner doesn't share it. And sometimes that one little insight is the difference between a &quot;discussion&quot; and a knock-down, drag-out, you're-sleeping-on-the-couch fight.</p> <p><strong>Ground Rule #2: Stay on Point and Be Very Clear on What You're Fighting About</strong></p> <p>It's easy to bring up past infractions when it supports your position, but then don't be surprised when your partner becomes defensive. Ditto if you use the words &quot;always&quot; or &quot;never&quot; in your argument. Because now it's not just one issue you don't agree on &mdash; it's his or her character that's in question. And when one of you is defensive, you're no longer having a productive argument.</p> <p><strong>Ground Rule #3: Learn How to Walk Away</strong></p> <p>Fights are supposed to help you get things out in the open and (hopefully) shed some light on how to move forward. When things get too heated, our emotions kick in and we have a tendency to resort to some pretty nasty tactics. That's when you both should walk away. Go cool off, and come back when you're able to be more rational and reasonable. Your fights will be much more constructive.</p> <h2>Learn How to Forgive</h2> <p>You've probably heard the old adage &quot;don't go to bed angry,&quot; and to that, I say &quot;get real.&quot; If we fight in the morning and have all day to cool off, then we might be fine by the time we head off to bed.</p> <p>But if the fight takes place in the evening or if he just really pushes my buttons, then I won't pretend I'm not mad just because we're going to bed, and neither does he. But what we will do is set aside our anger and let the other know we love them, even if we don't like them very much at the moment.</p> <p>Which is enough to allow both of us to end the day. Sometimes, we're fine by the next morning, sometimes we're not, but we both know we'll eventually get back to where we need to be.</p> <p>That's how we're able to say what we need to say when we're having a fight&nbsp;&mdash; we know we're going to make up. No grudges, no paybacks, no penalties of any kind. It makes it easier to fight and it makes it a lot easier to make up.</p> <p>So that's what's helped make the first 29 years of my marriage a pretty solid success. I hope it brings you the peace and happiness that it's brought me.</p> <p><em>How long have you been with the one you're with? What makes it work?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/happily-ever-after-how-to-stay-married-for-29-years-and-counting" class="sharethis-link" title="Happily Ever After: How to Stay Married for 29 Years (and Counting)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Personal Development communication love marriages relationships Thu, 25 Jul 2013 09:48:31 +0000 Kate Luther 980804 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I Love Lists http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-love-lists" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/notebook-5002427-small.jpg" alt="notebook" title="notebook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love making lists. In fact, lists of all sorts organize and drive big parts of my life. I scrawl <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-streamlining-your-shopping-list" target="_blank">grocery lists</a>, make quick lists of what I need to accomplish each day, make detailed lists of my tasks at work, keep lists of books I want to read, make lists of financial goals I want to achieve each year and &mdash; this one&rsquo;s weird &mdash; I even make a list of every single article of clothing I&rsquo;ll need to pack before I leave on a business trip or vacation. Call me anal, call me obsessive, call me a Type A personality &mdash; just give me a pen a piece of paper so I can keep track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-hi-tech-to-do-lists-get-it-done" target="_blank">5 Hi-Tech To-Do Lists: Get It Done!</a>)</p> <h2>A List Is an Idol</h2> <p>For me, and I suspect for many others, list-making is an exercise in meditation. It&rsquo;s a clearing of the mind long enough to understand what needs to be done, what gets priority, and how many of our to-dos are interrelated and mutually dependent. Lists become a way to not only keep several balls in the air (a juggling trick many readers have practiced to perfection), but also a way to structure our days, or weeks, or months so that all of these little lists add up to some serious accomplishments.</p> <h2>A List Is a Promise</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s something about making lists that&rsquo;s supremely active. After all, isn&rsquo;t making a list the very first step in achieving everything on it? Isn&rsquo;t writing down what needs to be done a sort of declaration that you intend to do it? I think so. An honest and well-intentioned list is a promise to your future self, even if that future is just eight hours or a week away. Together, the humble list and the reflective list-maker plot to get things done &mdash; and it&rsquo;s all documented on sticky-notes, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system" target="_blank">on the backs of receipts</a>, in daily planners, on our laptops and smart phones, on blackboards and whiteboards &mdash; even in the dust on the dashboards of our cars.</p> <h2>Making and Managing a List, Step-by-Step</h2> <p>My personal list-making process has been refined by years of trial and error. It goes something like this.</p> <ul> <li>I make each day&rsquo;s list the night before in my daily planner (a cheap little thing that I buy for $2.29 at my local dollar store quite ceremoniously every January).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>As I complete each task, I check it off my list &mdash; an act that&rsquo;s so sweetly satisfying that I blush to write about it here (die-hard list-makers, you know what I mean). The goal is to have nothing but a series of checkmarks by day&rsquo;s end (and that&rsquo;s a good day indeed, a red-wine-before-bed kind of day).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Whatever I didn&rsquo;t accomplish from the previous day gets carried over to the next.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I review my lists briefly at the end of each day, considering what I accomplished or didn&rsquo;t accomplish as I craft a more realistic and strategic list for the next day. Now, I&rsquo;ll be the first to admit that I have some serious nerd tendencies (a moniker I wear with pride), but I truly enjoy these end-of-day list reviews. It&rsquo;s as if in these moments I&rsquo;m able to tell myself, &ldquo;If you accomplished nothing else today, at least you did these things.&rdquo;</li> </ul> <p>The list creation and list review become bookends to my day, and the cycle seems to work.</p> <p>In our multitasking world where we&rsquo;re expected to check email, complete a report, and review a spreadsheet all while driving and cooking a nutritious meal, lists are a line drawn in the sand of insanity. They are a methodical, reasonable, wonderfully old-fashioned method of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-accomplishing-more-in-a-day" target="_blank">getting things done consciously</a>. Lists are a nod to the joy and the wisdom of mono-tasking; they're a way to carve out some mental space to plan, to keep a healthy pace, and really complete a task before moving on to the next. And when you factor in those hard won checkmarks, well&hellip;let&rsquo;s just say that list-making can be deeply rewarding.</p> <p><em>Are you list-maker? How do you keep yourself motivated as you work through each task? What advice would you give to new list-makers?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-love-lists" class="sharethis-link" title="Why I Love Lists" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Organization Productivity getting things done lists love Tue, 28 May 2013 10:00:34 +0000 Kentin Waits 975249 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Balancing Love and Money http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-balancing-love-and-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-balancing-love-and-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4274605855_af963614af_z.jpg" alt="money heart" title="money heart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="190" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on tips for balancing love and money, saving big on winter utilities, and how to start an IRA.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Money-Issues-Relationship-2945202">10 Tips for Balancing Love and Money</a> &mdash; When balancing love and money, it is important to make a joint spending plan. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/save-on-winter-utilities-with-these-universal-tips/">18 tips to save big on winter utilities</a> &mdash; To save big on winter utilities, repair water leaks on faucets and toilets and open your drapes on sunny days. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/how-to-start-ira-or-roth-ira/">How to Start an IRA (or Roth IRA)</a> &mdash; When deciding where to open an IRA or Roth IRA, take into consideration the trading fees of any brokerage you are considering [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/07/07feb12c.cfm?slider#.URkxpIXxJl8">Saving 20k as a 20 Something</a> &mdash; Save more money in your 20s by opting to eat out for lunch instead of dinner when meeting with friends for food. [The Dollar Stretcher]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/states-with-no-income-tax/">States With No Income Tax</a> &mdash; Are you sick of paying income taxes? Consider moving to Florida or Washington. [Generation X Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/20-cheap-and-fun-date-ideas/">20 Cheap and Fun Date Ideas</a> &mdash; Need a cheap yet fun date idea? Go to the driving range or go stargazing. [Christian PF]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/retirement-planning-in-your-40s/">Retirement Planning in Your 40s - Making Retirement a Priority</a> &mdash; If you need to make up for lost time when it comes to retirement planning, try to hold onto your cars for longer than you normally do. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/run-your-business-more-efficiently/">3 Strategies to Run Your Freelance Business More Efficiently</a> &mdash; To run your freelance business more efficiently, take advantage of your resources. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id17808-18-personal-finance-facts-you-didnt-know-about-us-presidents.html">18 Personal Finance Facts You Didn't Know About US Presidents</a> &mdash; Did you know the President gets $19,000 to spend on entertainment each year? [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/21-valentines-day-crafts-for-kids">21 Valentine's Day Crafts for Kids of All Ages</a> &mdash; This Valentine's Day, have your kids make love rocks or marshmallow love bugs. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-balancing-love-and-money" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Balancing Love and Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle balance balancing best money tips love money Tue, 12 Feb 2013 10:48:32 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 967797 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Frugal Ways to Brighten Your Spouse's Day http://www.wisebread.com/20-frugal-ways-to-brighten-your-spouses-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-frugal-ways-to-brighten-your-spouses-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fountain_couple.jpg" alt="Couple in front of a fountain" title="Couple in front of a fountain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With everything that my husband and I have going on in our lives, it&rsquo;s often easy to forget about each other.</p> <p>I don&rsquo;t mean that we forget that the other person exists, but it&rsquo;s not uncommon to get so wrapped up in our work and other responsibilities that we neglect our relationship at times.</p> <p>I know we&rsquo;re not alone in this. There are lots of other couples out there in similar situations. The good news is, letting your spouse know that they&rsquo;re on your mind isn&rsquo;t hard (and it doesn&rsquo;t have to cost much either).</p> <p>To help you show your sweetie that he or she is still the one for you, here are 20 frugal ways to bring a smile to their face today. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to Reward&nbsp;Yourself Right Now</a>)</p> <h3>1. Write a Love Note</h3> <p>Tell your sweetie how much you love them in a quick note that you put in their lunch, briefcase, or bag. If you prefer the tech route, tweet the love note in 140 characters or less for all your followers to see.</p> <h3>2. Draw a Heart on the Bathroom Mirror</h3> <p>Express yourself when your partner isn&rsquo;t looking, drawing a heart when the glass is all fogged up from the steam.</p> <h3>3. Take on a Chore</h3> <p>Do something that your partner normally does, like take out the trash, walk the dogs, wash the dishes, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-%E2%80%9Cyuck%E2%80%9D-to-yes">clean the bathroom</a>. I sincerely hope my husband reads this entry.</p> <h3>4. Serve Breakfast in Bed</h3> <p>Who doesn&rsquo;t like breakfast in bed? Eating in your undies is the best! To make the breakfast even more special, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to mold pancakes or cut a heart shape out of toast.</p> <h3>5. Give a Massage</h3> <p>Tell your partner take a load off while you rub their back, neck, and shoulders for at least five minutes.</p> <h3>6. Make a Special Playlist</h3> <p>A special playlist doesn&rsquo;t have the same appeal as a tangible mix tape, but the sentiment is still there. Steal your partner&rsquo;s iPod and upload a few songs that let him or her how you feel.</p> <h3>7. Stop by the Office for Lunch</h3> <p>Pop into your partner&rsquo;s office at lunchtime and surprise them with a quick bite to eat at a nearby restaurant.</p> <h3>8. Give a Compliment on a Physical Attribute</h3> <p>Guys are notorious for never noticing that their partner got their hair did. Make up for it by letting your partner know how great they look in a new outfit or that their diet/exercise routine is working well.</p> <h3>9. Wash the Car</h3> <p>Break out the bucket and soap, and make your partner&rsquo;s car shine.</p> <h3>10. Dedicate a Love Song</h3> <p>Call the radio station that you partner listens to and dedicate a song.</p> <h3>11. Declare Your Love on Facebook</h3> <p>You probably post a lot of nonsense on Facebook. Make at least one status update count by letting all your friends know just how special your man or lady friend is.</p> <h3>12. Make a YouTube Video</h3> <p>Record a video letting your partner know those things about them that make your heart flutter and post it for the world to see.</p> <h3>13. Run a Bubble Bath</h3> <p>Did you partner have a long day at work? Run a bubble bath and set up the tub with a glass of wine and a magazine.</p> <h3>14. Slow Dance in the Living Room</h3> <p>Turn on a slow jam and ask your partner to dance. Yes, right inside your house.</p> <h3>15. Pick Up the Phone to Say &quot;I Love You&quot;</h3> <p>Do you talk on the phone anymore? I don&rsquo;t. I prefer texting. Which is why sometimes it&rsquo;s nice &mdash; nostalgic even &mdash; to pick up the phone and call your lover just to say that you love &rsquo;em.</p> <h3>16. Turn Off the TV</h3> <p>Don&rsquo;t pretend like your TV isn&rsquo;t on when you&rsquo;re having adult time. Turn it off so you can give each other the undivided attention you want and need.</p> <h3>17. Plan a Picnic</h3> <p>Make a few sandwiches, grab a blanket and a couple of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-five-economy-based-board-games-that-make-you-think">board games</a>, and head to the park for a relaxing afternoon filled with quality time.</p> <h3>18. Pitch a Tent</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to go anywhere. Pitch the tent in your backyard so you have the romance of camping but the convenience of home.</p> <h3>19. Cook Your Partner's Favorite Dinner</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes">Make that special meal</a> that makes your partner melt. The key to a person's heart is through their stomach, after all.</p> <h3>20. Leave Your Partner Alone for a Few Hours</h3> <p>I love spending time with my husband, but sometimes I just need a few hours to myself. Give your partner the space they deserve by exiting the house on a Saturday or Sunday so you honey can relax however they want to.</p> <p><em>Have even more ways to brighten your partner&rsquo;s day in a low-cost way? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-frugal-ways-to-brighten-your-spouses-day" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Frugal Ways to Brighten Your Spouse&#039;s Day" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle cheer up love spouses things to do Mon, 21 May 2012 10:36:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 929212 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips from a 24-Year-Old Marriage http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bride%20with%20roses_0.jpg" alt="bride and groom with roses" title="bride and groom with roses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband and I celebrated our 24th anniversary last week. Here are a few things I've learned about having a happy, long-lasting marriage.</p> <p>1. Talk. Take time to talk everyday, just for fun, and set aside time to discuss and reach agreement on serious matters.</p> <p>2. Don&rsquo;t expect your spouse to be a mind reader, even if he (or she) really <em>should</em> know what you want.</p> <p>3. <strong>Forget</strong> the type of <strong>compromise</strong> that means thinking of yourself <em>in favor of </em>finding solutions that work for you as a couple. This processmay requirea complete reversal in your thinking and not justmaking a few concessions.</p> <p>4. Let her have her way (or his way) sometimes, even without fully understanding the rationale for a request or decision. (Some needs can bedifficult to articulate.)</p> <p>5. Go to weddings where you&rsquo;ll likely be reminded of promises you made. Phrases such as staying together &ldquo;richer or poorer&rdquo; and &ldquo;in sickness and in health&rdquo; don&rsquo;t describe hypothetical situations but future reality.</p> <p>6. Be your spouse&rsquo;s advocate. There are times when you may need to protect or defend your husband or wife.</p> <p>7. Never go to bed mad. Anger shouldn&rsquo;t simmer but should be dealt with as quickly as possible.</p> <p>8. Make reasonable requests but don&rsquo;t pressure or make unreasonable demands.</p> <p>9. Don&rsquo;t compete with each other. Compete with other couples if you&rsquo;d like but never with each other.</p> <p>10. Play outside. I like to go hiking or swing (at playgrounds). Just because you&rsquo;re married now doesn&rsquo;t mean you always have to act like a grown-up.</p> <p>11. Give something up, if necessary, to reach a mutual goal&hellip;so your spouse can see where your priorities lie. Just beware &mdash; one person shouldn&rsquo;t always be the one to sacrifice.</p> <p>12. Celebrate. We celebrate our first date, engagement, and wedding anniversaries in addition to birthdays and holidays.</p> <p>13. Laugh. My husband loves to make me laugh and is always trying to say the perfect funny thing. (More than 15 years later, I still remember when he started singing &quot;<a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2bg3k_village-people-macho-man-version-lo_music">macho man</a>&quot; when we saw a shirtless guy running up the road to <a href="http://www.lookoutmountaintn.org/">Lookout Mountain</a> near Chattanooga, Tennessee, where we had gone to celebrate our wedding anniversary.)</p> <p>14. Indulge. I&rsquo;m not giving license to dine out every evening or take Caribbean vacations a few times a year (unless you can clearly afford to) but realize that some fun can help bond you as a couple.</p> <p>15. Take care of your kids but don&rsquo;t put them first in everything you do. Obviously, there are times when your children need full attention and anything less could be disastrous but they don&rsquo;t have to be the center of your life every waking moment.</p> <p>16. Learn to love your extended family. You don&rsquo;t have to agree or even condone everything each and every family member says, does, or <em>must be thinking</em>. Acceptance can go a long way and after a while, you may actually find one or two (or more) family membersyou genuinely like.</p> <p>17. Be flexible. Being able to adapt to changing circumstances is not only necessary (sometimes) at home, work, and elsewhere, but it can also reinforce convictions that what is most important is your commitment to each other and not a set of convenient circumstances.</p> <p>18. Talk about problems with your spouse or a counselor, rather than your best friend or someone who may tend to see just your perspective and may not encourage you to talk things over with your beloved.</p> <p>19. Don&rsquo;t depend on your spouse for everything.</p> <p>20. Encourage your spouse to develop her or his talents, and do the things he or she enjoys.</p> <p>21.Go on dates. (For ideas for frugal dates, visit the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forums/frugal-living/ideas-cheap-dates-5149.html">forum</a> or see Myscha's post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-cheap-dates">cheap dates</a>.)</p> <p>22. Keep learning about each other and the world. (Even after 24 years, my husband and I still find that we don&rsquo;t know everything about each other, and can tell stories about our pasts that the other has never heard.)</p> <p>23. Be loyal and faithful.</p> <p>24. Believe. To me, promising that you&rsquo;ll stay married to someone forever, whether you were childhood sweethearts or datedfor a few months (and neither is a guarantee of marriage longevity or brevity) is an act of faith.</p> <p>My list isn't exhaustive so if you been married awhile or even if you just got married, share your secrets for happiness together.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-happy-and-married-24-tips-from-a-24-year-old-marriage" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Be Happy and Married: 24 Tips from a 24-Year-Old Marriage" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/life-hacks">Life Hacks articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks love marriage relationships Thu, 07 May 2009 13:54:21 +0000 Julie Rains 3133 at http://www.wisebread.com Spend Less This Valentine’s Day (And Win an iPod Touch!) http://www.wisebread.com/spend-less-this-valentines-day-and-win-an-ipod-touch <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/spend-less-this-valentines-day-and-win-an-ipod-touch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/touch.jpg" alt="iPod Touch" title="iPod Touch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="215" height="215" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><strong>***Congratulations to Emerson (Comment #360)... You have won the iPod Touch.&nbsp; We have contacted you by email, and you will have 48 hours to claim your prize, or another winner will be drawn. ****</strong></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I&rsquo;ll admit that I&rsquo;m not as crazy for V-Day as I once was.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The romance is still there, but my husband and I quit getting extravagant with our gifts once more of our money started going toward diapers.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Still, it&rsquo;s the little things that can touch your heart, so why not start small with a personalized gift that won&rsquo;t break the bank?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Here are our favorite tips:<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="../../../../../../last-minute-valentine-cake-on-the-fly"><strong>Last Minute Valentine Cakes on the Fly</strong></a>&ndash; Myscha makes bakin&rsquo; up some love seem simple.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Maybe because it really is!<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="../../../../../../couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches"><strong>Couplehood:<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Avoiding the Valentine&rsquo;s Clich&eacute;s</strong></a> &ndash; Some might call Andrea cynical.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We call her amazing.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Read up on how to avoid being put into some kind of predictable &ldquo;love box,&rdquo; and gain some frugal inspiration at the same time.<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="../../../../../../valentine-ideas-for-the-single-crowd"><strong>Valentine Ideas for the Single Crowd</strong></a> &ndash; I know.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Not everyone is &ldquo;lucky in love.&rdquo;<span style="">&nbsp; </span>But some would consider themselves pretty darn lucky to be single.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>(This one&rsquo;s for you.)<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="../../../../../../flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers"><strong>Flower Power: A Guide to Frugal Valentine&rsquo;s Flowers</strong></a> &ndash; Roses are a racket, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean you have to forgo the flowers.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>This guide can save your marriage (and at least $50.)<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="../../../../../../cheap-and-romantic-ideas-for-valentines-day-and-any-other-day-of-the-year"><strong>Cheap and Romantic Ideas for Valentine&rsquo;s Day</strong></a> &ndash; Perfect for any day of the year, these are just plain sweet (and many are free!)<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">There&rsquo;s no excuse to avoiding a great gift, just because you&rsquo;re a little strapped this holiday.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>If in doubt, a modern version of the mix-tape is always a great idea.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>To help you out, we&rsquo;ve teamed up with Walmart and Nestle to give one of you lucky readers an <a href="http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10542374">8GB iPod Touch</a> &ndash; perfect for uploading your favorite tunes from Walmart.com (or any of the <a href="http://instoresnow.walmart.com/Community.aspx?id=303">top love songs picked by the 11Moms</a>.)<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We&rsquo;ll even throw in a gift card for your first 10 songs!</p> <p>To be eligible to win, comment on this post with your favorite frugal V-Day tip.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>You have until February 10<sup>th</sup> to enter.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>(Winner will be announced on February 14<sup>th</sup>!)<span style="">&nbsp; </span><st1:country-region w:st="on"><strong>U.S.</strong></st1:country-region><strong> and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Canada</st1:country-region></st1:place> only.&nbsp; Must be 18 or older to enter. </strong></p> <p><em>Wise Bread will not sell or use your email address for any purpose other than to contact the winner.</em>&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">And don&rsquo;t forget to check out all the cool gift ideas, tips, and promotions at <a href="http://www.walmart.com/sweetideas">http://www.walmart.com/sweetideas</a>.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>They include a cool <a href="http://instoresnow.walmart.com/Community.aspx?id=304">&ldquo;Blow a Kiss&rdquo; phone app</a>, special <a href="http://instoresnow.walmart.com/Community.aspx?id=301">eValentines</a>, and a <a href="http://instoresnow.walmart.com/Valentines-Gifts.aspx">totally affordable holiday gift guide</a>.<span style="">&nbsp; </span><strong><em>Can you feel the love?</em></strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spend-less-this-valentines-day-and-win-an-ipod-touch" class="sharethis-link" title="Spend Less This Valentine’s Day (And Win an iPod Touch!)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways iPod touch love Valentine's Day Thu, 29 Jan 2009 21:03:30 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2781 at http://www.wisebread.com Cheap and Romantic Ideas for Valentine's Day (And Any Other Day of the Year) http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-romantic-ideas-for-valentines-day-and-any-other-day-of-the-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cheap-and-romantic-ideas-for-valentines-day-and-any-other-day-of-the-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/love.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="375" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have always loathed Valentine&#39;s day because everywhere I went I would see gaudy pink and red balloons and roses and men who are literally suckered into buying the useless things out of &quot;tradition&quot;. I also had a <a href="http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2007/09/18/my-super-cheap-ex-boyfriend/" target="_blank">pretty darn cheap ex-boyfriend</a> , and I rarely received a Valentine&#39;s gesture from him. I think once he did buy me a day old strawberry shortcake that was half off at the Safeway bakery. Anyway,today I shall list some ideas for Valentine&#39;s that aren&#39;t gaudy or expensive. This is for the frugal and practical guys and gals out there who want to express love anytime without participating in a commercialized fluff of a &quot;holiday&quot;.<br /><strong><br />1. Write a love letter or poem </strong>- It costs practically nothing to put your feelings on paper. It may not be easy to write down emotions, but practice makes perfect. You do not have to be a great writer to just recount a great date you have had with your lover and describe how happy he or she makes you. As long as you put some effort into crafting a message that expresses your adoration for your mate, whatever you do will be appreciated. My husband once wrote a whole journal about himself and what led to our relationship and gave it to my birthday. I thought that was a really romantic gift.</p> <p><strong>2. Take a walk or hike together</strong> - Once my husband and I walked for a few hours on the beach and collected seaglass, and we turned it into a bit of a competition to see who found the biggest piece. When you walk together you see the world differently than from your TV or your car and I think it is romantic because walking makes the world and your lover seem more real and tangible. </p> <p><strong>3. Cook a favorite meal at home </strong>- Instead of going to an expensive restaurant, it is fun to dress up a favorite meal cooked at home. You can light candles on the dinner table, dim the lights, and put on some mood music. It is also possible to duplicate expensive meals at home at wholesale costs if you are adept at cooking. </p> <p><strong>4. Creatively use free flower petals</strong> - Usually florists throw away the outside petals of flowers to make the flowers they sell look perfect. Each day if you just go by a florist they will probably have a lot of free flower petals for people to take. You can take these petals and do many things with them. For example, you can decorate the dinner table, bed, or float the petals in a bath. </p> <p><strong>5. Surprise your significant other at times you usually do not see him or her</strong> - If you work in different places then it would be fun to have a surprise lunch date set up for your mate. Of course, do not do this if your partner does not like to be bothered at work or if they are embarassed by you. <br /><strong><br />6. Take photographs together and of each other</strong> - After being together for a bit you may find that you do not actually have that many photographs of each other. It is fun to just set aside a time to pick up the camera and take pictures of each other. You can also go to a photobooth and take pictures together. Photographs are always good reminders of the good times you have had. </p> <p><strong>7. Do something that your partner likes to do but you do not necessarily appreciate</strong> - No matter how compatible a couple is, two people will have different interests. For example, if he loves fishing and you do not, maybe you can accompany him on a fishing trip. If she loves poetry readings and you do not, maybe you can read her some poems. Doing something you normally would not do for the sake of your mate can be very romantic. </p> <p><strong>8. Shower or bath together </strong>- Cleaning each other in the tub or in a shower is great fun because you can touch each other everywhere. It could also conserve water. If one person rinses while the other lathers then it is possible to use the same amount of water one person usually uses to clean two people! </p> <p>I am sure there are many other ways of being romantic and frugal at the same time. The key is to know your partner and his or her preferences. For example, my husband knows that I think bouquets of roses are stupid because they die after three days so he no longer buys them, but he knows I love food so he always cooks to cheer me up. As long as you make an effort to make your mate feel loved, you can be romantic without becoming a spendy <a href="/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches" target="_blank">Valentine&#39;s Day cliche</a> . </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-and-romantic-ideas-for-valentines-day-and-any-other-day-of-the-year" class="sharethis-link" title="Cheap and Romantic Ideas for Valentine&#039;s Day (And Any Other Day of the Year)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Frugal Living General Tips Lifestyle cheap Cooking frugal love romantic valentine's walking Mon, 11 Feb 2008 10:45:55 +0000 Xin Lu 1777 at http://www.wisebread.com Link-Love Makes the World Go 'Round http://www.wisebread.com/link-love-makes-the-world-go-round <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/link-love-makes-the-world-go-round" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/chain_0.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="157" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">In keeping with the warm and fuzzy feeling that Wisebread gives many of its writers and readers, I am taking a moment to give thanks to those that have linked to us over the past two weeks.<span> </span>We appreciate that you would vouch for our perspectives on money and life here at Wisebread.<span> </span>While every attempt is made to include all link love and honorable mentions, I am a newer writer here at Wisebread, and may have inadvertently missed someone very special who didn’t show up in my search. If you are one of those brilliant but overlooked souls, just email us, and we’ll be sure to get you included in the next listing of Wisebread friends and family. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Thanks to <a href="http://lifehacker.com/software/travel/how-to-plan-a-survivable-road-trip-275931.php">Lifehacker</a> for its mention of <a href="/how-to-survive-a-road-trip">Jessica’s Road Trip</a> piece.<span> </span>We’re feeling your ode to White Snake, but you haven’t truly lived until you’ve driven 230 miles with R.E.M’s “Shiny Happy People” on repeat. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://blog.wired.com/geekdad/2007/07/road-trip.html">Wired blog</a> also gave our travel bit the label “savvy” and suggested that we get a little more kid-friendly over here at Wisebread.<span> </span>We hear ya loud and clear.<span> </span>Expect some suggestions for families with children in the next month.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The always charming <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/07/11/the-simple-dollar-morning-roundup-wise-bread-edition/">The Simple Dollar</a> was almost forgotten in my original post (sorry, guys). They always do such a nice job of pointing out our better posts. Sometimes people are so good at giving link love, they kind of get taken for granted. (Won&#39;t happen again, I promise!) If you&#39;re looking for a great roundup of some frugal but practical ideas, check them out. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">We were happy to see Paul’s <a href="/6500-repair-bill-to-remove-a-stone-from-a-moon-roof">Moon Roof piece</a> on <a href="http://www.autoblog.com/2007/06/15/video-customer-calls-out-mercedes-service-rep-on-bogus-6-500/">Autoblog</a>. We appreciate you helping us to inform consumers on the perils of car-repair fraud!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Apparently our own Paul Michael wasn’t the only one enamored by the <a href="/go-topless-this-summer-with-strapless-flip-flops">strapless flip-flop</a>.<span> </span><a href="http://www.productdose.com/article.php?article_id=6172">Product Dose</a> gave props to the strangest useful summer product I’ve seen in ages.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://echoboomerfinance.blogspot.com/2007/07/from-wisebread.html">Echo Boomer Finance</a> shares his feelings on Philip’s <a href="/a-budget-is-not-a-constraint">budget article</a>, along with a nice outline for college grocery spending.<span> </span>We can take heart knowing we weren’t the only college kids buying Ramen in the economy pack.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"> Andrea’s <a href="/decked-out-in-dog-more-reasons-to-boycott-chinese-goods">Decked Out in Dog</a> article prompted mention from <a href="http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/06/how_much_is_that_doggie_in_the.php">Pajamas Media</a>. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Our take on the <a href="/how-to-survive-a-road-trip">Road Trip</a> by Jessica was also posted on the <a href="http://bestoftheblackhills.blogspot.com/2007/07/how-to-survive-road-trip.html">Best of the Black Hills</a>. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Ed&#39;s <a href="/a-by-no-means-definitive-list-of-some-cool-and-free-additions-for-your-blog-or-website">Must-have free plugins for your WordPress</a> made the grade at <a href="http://webdosh.blogspot.com/2007/07/blog-it-and-earn-it.html">Web-Dosh</a> (Blog it and Earn it.)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Jaimie at <a href="http://paidtwice.wordpress.com/2007/07/13/thoughts-on-budgeting-much-more-eloquent-than-my-own/">PaidTwice</a> gave us a nice shout-out for why <a href="/a-budget-is-not-a-constraint">A Budget is Not a Constraint</a>, along with a lovely spot on the Blogroll! </p> <p class="MsoNormal"> Once again, we want to thank ALL of our web friends for their word-of-mouth generosity.<span> </span>If you see Wisebread recently mentioned somewhere I forgot, please email us at <a href="mailto:tips@wisebread.com">tips@wisebread.com</a>, and we’ll be sure to include the poster in our next roundup!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/link-love-makes-the-world-go-round" class="sharethis-link" title="Link-Love Makes the World Go &#039;Round" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance blog links love traffic Tue, 17 Jul 2007 15:50:47 +0000 Linsey Knerl 849 at http://www.wisebread.com The things that money just can't buy http://www.wisebread.com/the-things-that-money-just-cant-buy <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/peace.jpg" alt="peace" title="peace" width="300" height="224" /></p> <p>After reading Ed&#39;s post about <a href="/do-you-have-what-you-want-and-do-you-want-what-you-have">Afluenza</a> , I began thinking long and hard about what I have in my life that really matters to me. It&#39;s all very well keeping up with the Joneses, but at the end of the day it really doesn&#39;t mean anything. I was talking to a fireman a few months ago and he said that time after time, the things people run back into a blazing house for are not valuable (as far as other people are concerned). It&#39;s not the big-screen TV or the gold Rolex. No, it&#39;s the family photo albums, the teddy bear granny gave you 30 years ago, or the love letters from your sweetheart who is now your loving partner. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p>So really, what are the things in life that truly matter? What is it that we&#39;re all searching for, and that no amount of money can buy? I think I have a list. It may not be the list you would attribute to yourself, it may not even be complete as far as you&#39;re concerned. But I think most of us would like the things contained within my list. And there&#39;s not a shiny Porsche or a 4000 sq ft house anywhere on it.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Love<br /></strong>I would be a fool not to put it first. I think at the end of the day, no amount of money and &#39;stuff&#39; can fill the void left by a lack of real love. Let&#39;s be clear, I&#39;m not talking about the kind of love you can get by flashing your BMW key fob at a bar in the hopes of trading money for a soul-mate (who&#39;ll leave you as soon as the money runs out). It&#39;s the love you get from your partner, when you look into his or her eyes and feel whole, safe and secure. It&#39;s the love of your child, hugging you for dear life and begging you not to go to work today. It&#39;s love that comes with no strings. Unconditional. Rich or poor. Good times and bad. If I were to measure my wealth by the love I get from my wife, my daughters and my close family, well, I&#39;d be right up there with Mr. Gates. </p> <p><strong>Respect</strong><br />Once again, as with many things on this list, you can buy a version of respect. Of course you can. The fawning that store-owners will do around wealthy people (remember the Pretty Woman scene?) could be taken as respect. Or the suck-ups in the office who&#39;ll do anything to get the attention of the big boss; that could also be considered as respect. But is it? It&#39;s a simple solve. Take away the money and power and is the respect still there? Sometimes it is. I&#39;ve had some great bosses, with amazing hearts and awe-inspiring values. Rich or poor, I&#39;d be tipping my head with respect. I&#39;ve also had complete egotistical maniac bosses, surrounded by people with venom in their eyes and hate filling their souls. Take the power and money away from my last boss and there&#39;d be people waiting in line to kick this guy where it hurts. Respect has to be earned, not bought. You actions define it, and your history with people is key. Be honest, be true, and treat others as you yourself would like to be treated. Be fair, be kind, be strong, be thoughtful and be inspiring. Respect will follow, whether you&#39;ve got $6 billion in the bank, or $60. </p> <p><strong>Friendship</strong><br />I was once told that the friends you keep are a good indication of what kind of person you are. I took a look at my close circle of friends, and I was quite happy with what I saw. Funny, honest, caring, genuine people. The kind of people that make you happy to go to work every day. The folks that would give you their last dime if you needed it. I don&#39;t have a lot of friends. But every one of them is a great person with a kind heart. If you want, you can buy friendships as easily as you can buy a new suit. But those kind of friends will not stick by you through bad times. Most won&#39;t even stay through mediocre times. So, take a look at the people who really mean the world to you. Think of the people you&#39;d want by you when times are a little rough. You&#39;ll see that those kind of friends are absolutely priceless. </p> <p><strong>Forgiveness</strong><br />I&#39;m talking about true forgiveness here, not the kind you get for muttering a half-hearted apology under your breath (while giving a cheap gift you picked up at the drug store). Real forgiveness for something bad you&#39;ve done can&#39;t be bought. You can&#39;t bribe someone to forget the past. I doubt even Donald Trump, with all his supposed billions, could buy the forgiveness of anyone he&#39;s truly wounded deeply. The only way to get it, if you&#39;re going to get it at all, is by earning it. By proving that you not only feel genuinely bad about what you did, but also that their forgiveness means everything to you. Try handing over $10,000 and saying &quot;hey, I&#39;m sorry I slept with your best friend and your mom...at the same time.&quot; </p> <p><strong>Happiness</strong><br />Yes, it&#39;s a cliche. I think that a severe lack of money can make you unhappy, but I&#39;d say that no amount of money can make you genuinely happy. I&#39;ve read stories of lottery winners who wished they&#39;d never seen a dime. Their friends turned on them, they were harrassed day and night. How many rich celebs are in rehab or seeing therapists because they are unhappy? &quot;More money, more problems&quot; seems so often the case. Now, don&#39;t get me wrong. I&#39;m not saying I wouldn&#39;t like a little more cash. But I&#39;m already happy with my life. I love my family, my friends, my job. But if you&#39;re sat there thinking money will make everything great, and if you only had $1 million you&#39;d be so much happier, I&#39;m fairly positive that the short-lived elation will be replaced by depression soon enough. </p> <p><strong>Talent</strong><br />I struggled with this one for a while. After all, I&#39;d hate to stop parents putting their kids through piano classes, art classes, singing lessons and so on. But I genuinely believe that true talent cannot be bought, only improved upon. Take a look at the infamous Paris Hilton to see that no amount of money could make her a good singer or actress. And yet musicians, sports stars and actors around the world often emerge from very poor backgrounds. I myself have no real talent for grammar or prose (you simply need to read any of my posts to see that I am far from eloquent). But I do have a way of motivating people, which is why I landed a job in advertising. My wife is pursuing a career in photography because both myself and my friends saw in her a natural talent. An eye for a great picture. The technical stuff, that can be learned and paid for through classes. But raw talent...now that&#39;s not for sale at any price (sorry Mr. Federline, you can&#39;t pick it up at WalMart on special).</p> <p><strong>Immortality </strong><br />Obviously no-one can live forever. But people try and live on through art, literature, music and other such pursuits. Sure, you can erect a giant statue of yourself or buy a whole bunch of buildings (Mr. Trump is constantly trying to buy his way into the history books). But in the end, it&#39;s not money but our actions that can get us ever-lasting life. The great thinkers and musicians of our time did not purchase a ticket to fame...they earned it. From Einstein to The Beatles, Archimedes to Mozart, real immortality comes not from a big pile of gold but huge pile of talent and perseverence.</p> <p><strong>Peace </strong><br />I saved the biggest till last. Peace cannot come from a fat wallet or bank vault. Real peace comes from ideas. Talking, thinking, and being empathetic and understanding every single day can bring about more peace than any money could ever buy. If we were all just a little more tolerant of other people, a little more forgiving and a little less obsessed with the mighty dollar, we may just see that money really isn&#39;t what life is all about. It&#39;s about loving your neighbor, caring for your family and telling your friends how much they mean to you. It&#39;s not going to solve world hunger immediately, it&#39;s not going to put an end to the war in Iraq. But at the end of the day, if we could all just see that we&#39;re not all that different and our petty squabbles are just that, then maybe we could move an inch closer to Nirvana here on Earth. </p> <p>I know this whole post has made me wide open to all sorts of comments and criticism, but I&#39;ll take it all in my stride. Is it so bad to want things to be better? And is it really so bad to say that the biggest and best things in your life don&#39;t have to cost you a penny? Now that&#39;s what living large on a small budget is all about my friends. Peace out.</p> <p><a href="http://www.sxc.hu/photo/792553"><em>Inspiring photo from The Stock Exchange </em></a> </p> <p><a href="http://www.sxc.hu/photo/792553"><em> </em></a> </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-things-that-money-just-cant-buy" class="sharethis-link" title="The things that money just can&#039;t buy" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Family Lifestyle forgiveness friends happiness love money peace respect talent wealth Mon, 25 Jun 2007 04:19:43 +0000 Paul Michael 762 at http://www.wisebread.com It's the linkster! The linkmeister! http://www.wisebread.com/its-the-linkster-the-linkmeister <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/linksbw_0.jpg" alt=" " width="193" height="173" /></p> <p>It&#39;s time for our weekly round-up of linky love. As always, if you feel you&#39;ve been unfairly left off the list, please let us know by emailing our editors at <a href="mailto:tips@wisebread.com">tips@wisebread.com</a>.</p> <p>Ivy at Home Ec 101 gave us some <a href="http://www.home-ec101.com/?p=306">serious love</a>. Thanks, Ivy!</p> <p>Jessica Okon&#39;s <a href="/free-stuff-for-one-and-all">free stuff</a> post got a mention in the Carnival of Personal Finance on <a href="http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/index.php/2007/06/13/about-insurance-thrift-stores-and-free-stuff-my-carnival-picks/">The Digerati Life</a>, and another one on the Festival of Frugality, hosted by <a href="http://frugalupstate.blogspot.com/2007/06/festival-of-frugality.html">Frugal Upstate</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://fabulouslybrokeinthecity.blogspot.com/2007/06/via-andrea-dickson-wisebread-resisting.html">Fabulously Broke in the City</a> linked to my story about <a href="/resisting-the-impulse-beauty-buy">resisting impulse beauty buys</a>. </p> <p>The Digerati Life was sending us <a href="http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/index.php/2007/06/10/stock-picking-tool-the-google-currency-converter-in-the-weekend-roundup/">SO much love</a> this week, also linking to Jessica Harp&#39;s story about <a href="/fine-dining-on-a-take-out-budget">fine dining on a budget</a>.</p> <p>Will gets what I believe is <a href="http://blog.dimok.ru/na-chto-myi-tratim-vremya-zrya">our first Russian blog mention</a>. Of course, we have no idea what they are saying, but I do believe that it&#39;s a translation of the following interview round-up from <a href="http://www.productivity501.com/interview-becoming-effective/259/">Productivity501</a>. Spaciba! We think!</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/06/12/the-simple-dollar-morning-roundup-toddler-stuffed-animal-attachment-edition/">The Simple Dollar</a> linked to our &quot;Worst Financial Mistakes&quot; post. Much obliged. </p> <p><a href="http://kclau.com/2007/06/09/frugal-do-it-with-dignity/">KC Lau</a>, a Malaysian-based PF blogger, didn&#39;t seem to think that our <a href="/frugal-or-just-plain-wrong">Frugal/Wrong</a> ideas were THAT wrong. </p> <p>Gretchen Rubin at <a href="http://www.happinessproject.typepad.com/">The Happiness Project</a> just seems to like us overall. That makes us happy, and in turn, makes Gretchen happy. Or something like that. </p> <p><a href="http://blogher.org/node/20582">Blogher</a> noticed my article on <a href="/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">edible weeds</a> - thanks for the linkage!</p> <p><em>Photo by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/superchic001/"><em>Alanna Ralph</em></a><em>.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-the-linkster-the-linkmeister" class="sharethis-link" title="It&#039;s the linkster! The linkmeister!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance blogs links love Wed, 13 Jun 2007 17:25:33 +0000 Andrea Karim 731 at http://www.wisebread.com Link it real good http://www.wisebread.com/link-it-real-good <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fencelink.jpg" alt=" " width="243" height="231" /></p> <p>Wise Bread loves the following blogs for their linky love. We encourage our readers to visit these blogs, leave comments, and love them in return along with us.</p> <p>Paul&#39;s <a href="/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">pink slip article</a> got a mention from one of our blogging idols, <a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2007/05/are-you-getting-fired-today.html">Dumb Little Man</a>, a couple weeks ago, and I neglected to mention it in the round up. We love you, Dumb Little Man! Every dumb, little thing about you. Wait, that doesn&#39;t sound good. Anyway, sorry for the miss.</p> <p><a href="http://perchancetobe.blogspot.com/2007/06/free-childrens-book-from-barnes-and.html">Perchance to be</a> liked Will&#39;s post about getting <a href="/free-childrens-book-from-barnes-and-noble">free children&#39;s books</a> at Barnes and Noble.</p> <p>Julie&#39;s <a href="/diy-mortgage-acceleration">mortgage post</a> made it&#39;s way up the <a href="http://del.icio.us/post?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftodotxt.com%2F&amp;title=Todo.txt%20-%20Task%20tracking%20for%20command%20line%20lovers&amp;jump=no&amp;partner=delfp">de.licio.us</a> ladder, impressing all of us. <a href="http://lifehacker.com/software/finance/pay-off-your-mortgage-more-quickly-to-save-money-265444.php">Lifehacker</a> gave it a mention, and there was much partying (freaking <em>LIFEHACKER</em>, man!). Also doing a likey-link was <a href="http://www.hackszine.com/blog/archive/2007/06/is_it_better_to_invest_or_pay.html?CMP=OTC-7G2N43923558">Hackzine</a>.</p> <p>Esha from <a href="http://thatdancinggirl.wordpress.com/">Dance, Life, and Lunges</a> liked my <a href="/stop-being-a-slave-to-starbucks-how-to-quit-caffeine">coffee-quittin&#39; post</a> so much that she quit drinking coffee! For two days. Ah, well, I suppose I should be grateful that she&#39;s able stay awake through one of my blog posts, caffeinated or not.</p> <p>Paul got much love from <a href="http://blog.wired.com/geekdad/2007/06/closing_blowout.html">Geekdad</a>, <a href="http://babycheapskate.blogspot.com/2007/06/discovery-channel-stores-closing-watch.html">Baby Cheapskate</a>, <a href="http://daddydaze.net/2007/06/06/bad-news-discovery-channel-stores-to-close/">Daddy Daze</a>, <a href="http://boingboing.hexten.net/2007/06/05/discovery_stores_dyi.html">Boing Boing</a>, and many many more blogs for informing us that the <a href="/revel-in-a-corporations-misfortune-all-discovery-channel-stores-to-close">Discovery Channel stores are going out of business.</a> </p> <p>Ed got de.licio.us attention for his article on <a href="/a-by-no-means-definitive-list-of-some-cool-and-free-additions-for-your-blog-or-website">blogging tools</a>.</p> <p>Paul&#39;s 10 frugal things post also got a nod from <a href="http://www.peskyapostrophe.com/">Pesky&#39;Apostrophe</a>, <a href="http://www.moneywalks.com/2007/06/05/carnivals-around-the-corner-6/">Money Walks</a> and <a href="http://www.thedigeratilife.com/blog/index.php/2007/06/06/clever-financial-resources-and-the-history-of-keeping-up-with-the-joneses-carnival-picks/">The Digerati Life</a>, which caused him to squeal and jump up and down with glee (so I&#39;ve heard).</p> <p>The Simple Dollar <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/06/07/the-simple-dollar-morning-roundup-local-library-edition/">continues our torrid love affair</a> by linking my post about the <a href="/frugal-or-just-plain-wrong">being frugal versus stealing</a>. </p> <p><a href="http://physicsgeek.mu.nu/archives/228986.php">Physics Geek</a> liked Paul&#39;s <a href="/never-go-shopping-unless-youre-armed-with-a-cell-phone">recommendation of Frucall</a>. Paul&#39;s vinegar post, which has been given the Wisebread &quot;Post that just won&#39;t go quietly into the night&quot; Award (or PTJWGQITN, for short) showed up in link form on <a href="http://blobolobolob.blogspot.com/2007/06/better-living-through-chemistry.html">Diary of a Goldfish</a>.</p> <p>Paul&#39;s <a href="/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming">pink slip article</a> continues to make the rounds with a link from <a href="http://scemploymentlaw.com/2007/06/04/its-not-paranoia-if-they-really-are-out-to-get-you/">The SC Employment Law Blog</a>, run by a lawyer who actually likes Wise Bread overall, a statement made us all blush collectively. Sheryl, who runs the SC blog, has another blog as well. If you live in South Carolina and need info on bankruptcy and consumer protection, look no further than the <a href="http://scbankruptcyblog.com/">SC Bankruptcy &amp; Consumer Law Blog</a>.</p> <p>Did you link to us and did we forget to mention you? Give us a virtual spanking (don&#39;t worry, we like it) by emailing us at <a href="mailto:tips@wisebread.com">tips@wisebread.com</a>. Send us your link and we&#39;ll issue a contrite mention AND totally be loyal to you forever.</p> <p><em>(Picture by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/gregpc/"><em>Greg Peverill-Conti</em></a><em>)</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/link-it-real-good" class="sharethis-link" title="Link it real good" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance blog link love traffic Thu, 07 Jun 2007 21:11:19 +0000 Andrea Karim 714 at http://www.wisebread.com You link us! You really, really link us! http://www.wisebread.com/you-link-us-you-really-really-link-us <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/rustedchain.jpg" alt=" " width="247" height="157" /></p> <p>It&#39;s time for our weekly round-up of link-love. Thanks to all who have linked to our site. We love you right back. And, if you&#39;ve linked us and don&#39;t feel like you are getting the love you deserve, please don&#39;t hesitate to let us know!</p> <p>First, faithful reader and thoughful commentor Yan at <a href="http://probargainhunter.com/">Pro Bargain Hunter</a> has linked us <a href="http://probargainhunter.com/index.php?s=wisebread">several times</a>, but his blog is, oddly enough, not recognized by Technorati (shame on you, Technorati!) so I managed not to notice. We love Yan&#39;s site, as well as his <em>in</em>sight. Do you see what I did there? </p> <p><a href="http://zenhabits.net/2007/04/the-top-50-productivity-blogs-most-of-which-you-havent-heard-about/">Zen Habits</a> linked to us as one of the top 50 productivity blogs. Coolness.</p> <p>A lot of people were pleased with Will&#39;s <a href="/what-are-your-chances-of-getting-audited-by-the-irs-your-guess-is-probably-wrong">tax audit blog</a> (the good news? You probably won&#39;t get audited. The bad news? You&#39;re going to die). The whole damn world linked to that post, including <a href="http://www.softsaurus.com/?p=958">Soft Saurus</a>, <a href="http://blog.awswebshop.com/2007/04/15/should-you-be-scared-of-an-irs-audit/">Amazon Web Services Blog</a>, and <a href="http://www.statesboroblog.com/default.aspx">Statesboro Georgia Blog</a>. Oh, and <a href="http://funkatron.com/wp/archives/general/what-are-your-chances-of-getting-audited-by-the-irs/">Funkatron</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://dreamy1.wordpress.com/2007/04/15/a-great-idea/">Blogging My Way Out of Debt</a> was pleased with Paul&#39;s <a href="/the-magic-marker-money-safe">make-a-cheap-safe post</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.steve-olson.com/">Steve Olson</a> linked to my post about <a href="/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">security deposits and evil landlords</a>. Thanks, Steve!</p> <p><a href="http://giveawayproject.com/2007/04/14/free-dvds-giveaway/">Give Away Project</a> was happy with Paul&#39;s <a href="/free-dvd-pirates-2-or-cars">DVD-givin&#39;-generosity</a>.</p> <p>I&#39;m excited that a <a href="http://www.savassakar.com/?p=1006">Turkish website</a> has us on some kind of blog roll. Çok teşekkürler!</p> <p><a href="http://www.smallist.com/2007/04/13/feel-guilty-about-spending-money/">Smallist snarks</a> about how simple and neurotic my idea of punching kittens is. Smallist didn&#39;t <em>technically</em> link to us, since they forgot the <strong>www</strong>, but we&#39;re adding them anyway because their kitten picture is better than ours.</p> <p><a href="http://bibliophilebullpen.blogspot.com/2007/04/curly-top-michael-liebermans-book.html">Bibliophile Bullpen</a> linked to Troy&#39;s list of <a href="/writing-for-money-on-the-interwebs">writing contests</a>.</p> <p>Paul appeals to frugal Muslims from <a href="http://dailydinar.com/2007/04/13/threatening-to-disconnect/">Daily Dinar</a>, who linked to his post about threatening your cable company. Shukran Jazeelan, brah!</p> <p>(<em>Picture by </em><a href="http://www.morguefile.com/forum/profile.php?username=kahanaboy"><em>kahanaboy</em></a>)</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-link-us-you-really-really-link-us" class="sharethis-link" title="You link us! You really, really link us!" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance links love thanks Mon, 16 Apr 2007 19:06:26 +0000 Andrea Karim 517 at http://www.wisebread.com Looking for Love (Online) http://www.wisebread.com/looking-for-love-online <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/keyboardheart_sm.jpg" alt=" " width="143" height="211" /></p> <p>Ack! Valentine&#39;s Day is here, and you&#39;re without a date! What to do?</p> <p>I used to get a few single friends together, drink champagne, and watch Sex in the City. You can opt to embrace the solitude, either through doing something that only you like doing (<a href="/last-minute-free-valentines-day-gift-ideas">folding origami stuff</a>), or by listening to Mary J. Blige and weeping your eyes out. </p> <p>Or, you can post a personal ad, and get yourself a date.</p> <p>I&#39;ve done my share of online dating. Unlike many people, I don&#39;t fear meeting people through the interwebs. I&#39;m not into the bar/club scene, and I don&#39;t go to laundromats, so that leaves me with few date-finding options. Plus, I&#39;ve spent most of my 20s employed in the high-tech industry, largely in start-ups, so I&#39;m often short on time but long on high-speed internet access. So online dating offered a simple, easy way to screen candidates.</p> <p>Many <a href="http://www.consumersearch.com/www/internet/online-dating/comparison.html">consumer-focused groups</a> and <a href="http://dating.about.com/od/sitereviews/tp/OnlineSites.htm">other websites</a> have already <a href="http://www.forbes.com/bow/b2c/category.jhtml?id=198">rated online dating sites</a>. I don&#39;t feel like anyone who writes these articles has actually DATED, much less dated online, so I&#39;m here to offer my perspective on a few of the top sites.</p> <h4>Free, gloriously free: Craigslist</h4> <p>I started looking for love online when I lived in the Bay Area in 2000. Craigslist was still limited to that one metropolitan area, and was largely used by techies and start-up types, which meant that everyone there was more or less, educated, literate and fairly trustworthy. Unfortunately, the general population soon discovered craigslist, which means that personals ads often read like this: </p> <p style="font-size: 12pt"> Looking for Affectrionate, atrractive and down-to-earth Princess - 40</p> <p>Ah, yes. The down-to-Earth Princess. My favorite oxymoron. And affectrionate to boot. If that&#39;s not enough there are always compelling personal details to whet your romantic appetite:</p> <p class="blockquote">I drive, I have a 2 dogs,2cats,fish and a bird the never stops talking he is funny. Any ways if u want to know more just ask.</p> <p>However, despite the fact that the craigslist dating pool is now extremely diluted by illiterate mouth-breathers, there are some good people to be found on there. There are also people who are more than <a href="http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/sfo/106859255.html">willing to teach you</a> how to compose a good ad in your search for love. But you have to <strong><em>search</em></strong>. Now is actually a good time - even if you are boycotting Valentine&#39;s Day, you&#39;ll find that the number of personal ads on craigslist spikes around V-Day - go ahead and peruse the site and see what you can find.</p> <p>Craigslist is also great because you don&#39;t have to create an account to find a date - you can just reply to other people&#39;s ads. Most importantly, and the reason why I discussed it first, craigslist is all about the <em>froog</em> (that&#39;s my new slang word for &quot;frugal&quot; - feel free to use it as long as you attribute it to me, or maybe the person who thought of it before me). You can&#39;t get cheaper than free, and craigslist is all about being cheap. Don&#39;t believe me? Post an ad offering a perfectly good, 1-year old, flat panel, 17&quot; television set for $50 and see how many people offer you $3 for it.</p> <p>One tip for all online dating - create a nice, anonymous email account that does not include your name or any personal info. There are some crazies out there.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Free<br /><strong>Time investment:</strong> Considerable, there&#39;s a lot of wading to do<br /><strong>Hand-holding:</strong> Nope, you&#39;re on your own<br /><strong>Grievances:</strong> Some weird, weird people out there<br /><strong>Exclusivity:</strong> God, no</p> <h4>Unverified free: Gay Singles/Lesbian Singles Online</h4> <p>OK, I haven&#39;t used this site, but they seem to be fairly trustworthy - they won&#39;t spam you or sell your info to anyone else. There are plenty of listings, which is good, because other sites have a real dearth of gay postings. Craigslist, in particular, is a difficult place for lesbians to find love - many cities just don&#39;t have that many postings, and the ones that do don&#39;t share photos (I understand why someone wouldn&#39;t, especially if they are not out at work, but still), and plenty of women just show up and post dumb haikus about their longings. <a href="http://gaysinglesonline.com/">Gay Singles Online</a> and its gal-only counterpart, <a href="http://lesbianpersonalsonline.com/">Lesbian Singles Online</a>, offer some hope for the Sapphic searcher. TangoWire seems to run a plethora of sites dedicated to queer dating, and these are only two of them, but I&#39;m assuming they all have the same database.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> They claim to be free- not sure if there are any hidden costs<br /><strong>Time investment:</strong> Medium - not as bad as eHarmony, fo&#39; sho&#39;<br /><strong>Hand-holding:</strong> Nope<br /><strong>Grievances:</strong> None from me, but some experienced online daters might want to provide feedback<br /><strong>Exclusivity:</strong> It would probably help if you were some flavor of queer </p> <h4>Not-so-cheap, but lots of pricing options - The Onion</h4> <p>I do so love The Onion. A long time ago, <a href="http://personals.theonion.com">The Onion personals</a> were seemed exclusive to, you know, The Onion, so it was a fair bet that everyone you met on the site would be at least as sarcastic as you. Then The Onion hooked up with some huge media conglomerate and formed a single database for dating. </p> <p>I&#39;ve met a few nice guys through The Onion&#39;s online personals. The format, you&#39;ve probably seen. You list things, like what someone might find in your bedroom. There is room for creative writing and humor, and it&#39;s easy to spot idiots. You can block profiles that you don&#39;t want to see anymore, send winks if you&#39;re not sure that you want to message a particular person, and put together a &quot;hot list&quot;. There is a variable pricing program, so you pay more for additional features. The problem with this is that some people who are incredibly cheap will put an ad up, but won&#39;t have the ability to initiate any contact. You can search for people who opted to pay more, but then you feel like a classist.</p> <p>One of the strangest things about The Onion is their aggressive advertising on a variety of other web sites - using expired ads. I know this because when I logged onto one of my favorite web sites a few months ago, I came across one of my best friend&#39;s ads. I emailed her, asking her if she was back on the market, and she was horrified to find that her image was still being used to lure people into the site. You know, seeing as how she is married and all.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Depends on how many people you contact - you purchase credits/points in big batches and spend a few of them every time you initiate contact with someone<br /><strong>Time investment:</strong> Up to you - depends on how well-crafted you want your profile to be<br /><strong>Hand-holding:</strong> A little - there are questions for you to answer and all<br /><strong>Grievances:</strong> Aforementioned fake/expired sample ads<br /><strong>Exclusivity:</strong> Not really, although you can filter results to be exclusive</p> <p class="sub-heading">Middle-range but stupid: Match.com and Yahoo Personals</p> <p>These, I totally avoid. Once I learned that both companies have been accused of <a href="http://www.billingsgazette.com/newdex.php?display=rednews/2005/11/25/build/nation/70-net-dating-suit.inc">sending false emails to people looking for love</a>, I abandoned the idea of using them. Taking advantage of the lovelorn isn&#39;t OK. Homey don&#39;t roll like that.</p> <h4>Sell your firstborn or kidney to afford: eHarmony</h4> <p>eHarmony is famous for using really long, drawn-out surveys and Jungian archetypes to determine your best match. When I first signed up for eHarmony out of curiosity (could they really match me with someone good?), I was informed that there was no one within 100 miles of my home that would be even close to a good match for me. I sort of figured that that meant that I was either impossible to deal with (maybe) or that eHarmony had a really small dating pool.</p> <p>Turned out that the latter was correct, because when I signed up again a few years later, I found that there were dozens of men that apparently matched me in every conceivable aspect of my personality. Which was kind of good, but also kind of frightening. eHarmony is really aggressive about informing you that you have a new match, and after a while, I found that I had to narrow my definition of &quot;acceptable&quot; to slow down the onslought of available men.</p> <p>I never actually met anyone off of eHarmony, and closed the account when I became overwhelmed by the wave of communicating men. I felt cheated, first because eHarmony is really expensive, and second, because I had spent hours going through all of the surveys and questions and explanations, and I never really managed to go on a date. I can&#39;t blame eHarmony for this. But I can blame for the whopping price, the miselading emails (the ones that tell you to come back for only $19.99 a month, but negelect to mention that that&#39;s only if you sign up for another 12 months at $40 a month).</p> <p>You can read a <a href="http://www.onlinedatingmagazine.com/datingservicereviews/eharmonyreview.html">great analysis of the site here</a>.</p> <p><strong>Cost:</strong> Not Froog - roughly $50/month, less per month if you buy more months<br /><strong>Time investment:</strong> Intense - many questions to answer<br /><strong>Hand-holding:</strong> So much so that you might forget how to feed yourself without eHarmony there<br /><strong>Grievances:</strong> Mainly the price, but also the fact that they <em>only</em> match heterosexual couples - the founder of eHarmony is apparently against same-sex coupling<br /><strong>Exclusivity:</strong> Yes - the people on here make enough money to spend at least $40/month looking for a mate, and you are matched based on a very extensive list of factors, so you are less likely to get stuck on a date with someone who has an entirely different value system than you do. Also, someone who can afford hundreds of dollars per year in online dating expenses probably has most of their own teeth. Still in their mouth.</p> <p>And that&#39;s about all I have to offer at this point in time. There are many specialized sites out there that cater to every type (vegans, atheists, Jews, atheist vegan Jews, etc.) so you&#39;re not as limited as you might think. Explore your options! Date! Love! Go now!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-for-love-online" class="sharethis-link" title="Looking for Love (Online)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks craigslist date eHarmony fees free love Match.com online dating personals The Onion Valentine Wed, 14 Feb 2007 20:27:48 +0000 Andrea Karim 274 at http://www.wisebread.com Weird Things You Didn't Know About Valentine's Day http://www.wisebread.com/weird-things-you-didnt-know-about-valentines-day <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/weird-things-you-didnt-know-about-valentines-day" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/92395757_05add3c550_z.jpg" alt="birds" title="birds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've been offering a lot of practical advice about Valentine's Day lately.</p> <p>Sure, it's nice to know how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers" title="Flower Power - A Guide to Frugal Valentine's Flowers">save money on flowers</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-mostly-frugal-valentine-s-day-recipes" title="14 (Mostly) Frugal Valentine&rsquo;s Day Recipes">make affordable romantic dinners</a>, and find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-greatest-story-ever-sold-is-a-fantasy-covered-in-blood" title="The Greatest Story Ever Sold is a Fantasy Covered in Blood">good excuses not to buy your girlfriend jewelry</a>. But what is the <em>real </em>story behind this expensive holiday? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-breads-guide-to-valentines-day" title="Wise Bread's Guide to Valentine's Day">Wise Bread's Guide to Valentine's Day</a>)</p> <h2>The Price of Love</h2> <p><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/kissingzombiebanks.jpg" width="605" height="403" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>The average American will spend $119.67 on Valentine&rsquo;s Day this year, up from $100.89 last year.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Men spend almost <strong>twice as much</strong> on Valentine&rsquo;s Day as women do. This year, the average man will spend $156, while the average woman will only spend $85.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>More than one-third of men would prefer not receiving a gift. Less than 20 percent of women feel the same way.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Around this season, a dozen long-stemmed roses can cost an average of $75, or about 30% more than the normal price of $58.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>More than nine million pet owners are expected to buy gifts for their pets this Valentine's Day.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>15 percent of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.</li> </ul> <h2>The Birds and the Bees</h2> <ul> <li>According to the condom company Durex, condom sales are highest around Valentine's Day, which are 20 percent to 30 percent higher than usual.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>More at-home pregnancy tests are sold in March than in any other month.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Penicillin, a popular treatment for venereal diseases such as syphilis, was introduced to the world on February 14, 1929.</li> </ul> <h2>I Choo Choo Choose You</h2> <p><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/vdaycard.jpg" width="605" height="428" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>Teachers receive the most valentines, followed by kids, mothers, wives and sweethearts.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Over 50 percent of all Valentine's Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the holiday.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The oldest surviving valentine dates from 1415. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.</li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal">One billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making it the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.</li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal">In a classic Simpsons episode, Lisa gives Ralph a valentine with a picture of a locomotive saying &quot;I Choo Choo Choose You.&quot; According to <a href="http://www.boingboing.net/2005/02/02/simpsons_choo_choo_c.html">BoingBoing</a>, a fan has lovingly recreated that card which you can <a href="http://blog.deconcept.com/2005/02/02/i-choo-choo-choose-you/">download here</a>.</li> </ul> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal">Hallmark produced its first valentine in 1913.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Today, Hallmark employs an 80-person research staff to analyze the sales pattern of previous valentines. That analysis, combined with more than 100,000 annual customer interviews, focus groups and in-store observations, will help create roughly 2,000 cards in Hallmark's core Valentine's Day line.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>While Hallmark offers thousands of different cards for Valentine's Day, one card was the top choice of customers in New York, Los Angeles, and virtually every other city in the country in 2006.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>This card, romantically named V330-5 by Hallmark, simply states: &quot;Each time I see you, hold you, think of you, here's what I do ... I fall deeply, madly, happily in love with you. Happy Valentine's Day.&quot; (The card is the red one pictured below.)</li> </ul> <h2>Sharing Love Around the World</h2> <p><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/stormtrooperslove.jpg" width="605" height="402" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li class="MsoNormal">In Japan, women are expected to give chocolate and other gifts to men on Valentine's Day. This tradition was started as a marketing campaign by Japanese chocolate companies. Men are not off the hook, unfortunately. They are expected to return the favor on March 14th, commonly known as White Day.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2749667.stm">BBC reports</a> that Shiv Sena, a nationalist political party in India, has spoken out against Valentine's day, calling it &quot;nothing but a Western onslaught on India's culture to attract youth for commercial purposes.&quot;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. In 2001, the U.S. State Department reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. A 2002 report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>&quot;I love you&quot; in German is &quot;Ich liebe dich.&quot;</li> </ul> <h2>History, Legends, and Rumors</h2> <p><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u784/lovecards.jpg" width="605" height="416" alt="" /></p> <ul> <li>The roots of St. Valentine's Day can be traced back to the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. Today, to wear your heart on your sleeve means being transparent with your affections. (I'm having a tough time verifying this one, so please file this under &quot;legends&quot; instead of &quot;history&quot; for now.)</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Three different Saint Valentines have been mentioned by the martyrologies of the Roman Catholic Church.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The Catholic Church struck St. Valentine&rsquo;s Day from its official calendar in 1969.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The phrase &quot;Sweets for the sweet&quot; is a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 1.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Famous Valentine's Day weddings: The Captain and Tennille, Elton John and Renate Blauel, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid, Jerry Garcia and Deborah Koons, and Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Famous Valentine's Day birthdays: Thomas Malthus (1766), Frederick Douglass (1817), Jack Benny (1894), Jimmy Hoffa (1913), Hugh Downs (1921), Florence Henderson (1943), Carl Bernstein (1944), Tim Buckley (1946), Gregory Hines (1946), Jules Asner (1968), Rob Thomas (1972), Steve McNair (1973).</li> </ul> <h2>You Had Me at Hello<strong><br /> </strong></h2> <ul> <li>University of Maryland has a team of academic experts dedicated to educating the media about Valentine's Day. &ldquo;No matter what angle you&rsquo;re covering, the University of Maryland has the Valentine&rsquo;s Day expert for you,&rdquo; says <a href="http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/experts/hottopic.cfm?hotlist_id=68">their official website</a>.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>For every 120 single men who are in their 20s, there are 100 single women in the same age range.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>The story changes drastically when we look at people over 65. Beyond 65, there are 33 single men for every 100 single women of the same age range. I guess all that extra spending for Valentine&rsquo;s day takes a toll.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>How do Americans celebrate Valentine's Day? <a href="http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/006116.html">U.S. Census Bureau</a> has the answer:</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <table border="0" width="80%"> <tbody> <tr> <td width="31%">Greeting Cards</td> <td width="30%">65%</td> <td width="26%">Plush</td> <td width="13%">21%</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Date Night</td> <td>44%</td> <td>Other Gifts</td> <td>17%</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Candy</td> <td>38%</td> <td>Perfume/Cologne</td> <td>12%</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Flowers</td> <td>32%</td> <td>Jewelry</td> <td>11%</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Gift Cards</td> <td>29%</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Don't want to send mixed signals with your bouquet? Make sure you check out the secret color code of roses:</li> </ul> <table border="1" width="555" style="border-collapse: collapse" id="table1"> <tbody> <tr> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#cc2234"><strong> <font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#ffffff">Red</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ffff00"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Yellow*</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ff99cc"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Pink</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">White*</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#cc99ff"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Lavender</font></strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">True Love<br /> Respect<br /> Courage<br /> Romantic<br /> Love<br /> I Love You<br /> Congratulations<br /> Job Well Done<br /> </font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Joy<br /> Gladness<br /> Freedom<br /> Friendship<br /> I Care<br /> Welcome Back<br /> Remember Me<br /> Jealousy</font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Perfect<br /> Happiness<br /> Gentleness<br /> Sweetness<br /> Please Believe Me</font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Reverence<br /> Purity<br /> Innocence<br /> Secrecy<br /> I Am Wothy Of You<br /> Keep a Secret</font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Enchantment</font></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ffe9e8"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Light Pink</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#f279b2"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Dark Pink</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ffcc99"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Peach -Pink</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ffe5b4"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Peach</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ff6600"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Orange</font></strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Grace<br /> Joy</font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Thankfulness</font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Gratitude<br /> Appreciation<br /> Admiration<br /> Sympathy</font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Lets Get Together<br /> Sincerity<br /> Gratitude<br /> Appreciation</font></td> <td width="20%" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Fascination<br /> Enthusiasm</font></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ff7c5d"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2">Coral</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#cc2234"><strong> <font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#ffffff">Red &amp; White</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#000000"><strong> <font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#ffffff">Black</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#990033"><strong> <font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#ffffff">Deep Burgundy</font></strong></td> <td width="20%" valign="top" bgcolor="#ffff00"><strong><font face="Verdana" size="2" color="#cc2234">Red &amp; Yellow Blend</font></strong></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="20%" height="87" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Desire</font></td> <td width="20%" height="87" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Unity</font></td> <td width="20%" height="87" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Farewell<br /> Death</font></td> <td width="20%" height="87" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Unconscious Beauty</font></td> <td width="20%" height="87" valign="top"><font face="Verdana" size="2">Jovial and happy feelings</font></td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="5" width="100%"> <p align="center"><font face="Verdana" size="2"><strong>* </strong>Note: In some cultures white and yellow flowers are used for funerals and considered bad luck. (Thanks Andrea and Yan!) </font></p> <p align="center">Source: <a href="/www.everyrose.com/everyrose/lore.lasso">Every Rose</a> and <a href="http://www.tilliesflowers.com/rosefaq.asp#meaning">Tillie's Flowers</a></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Sources: <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/30/news/economy/valentine_spending/index.htm?postversion=2007013015">CNN Money</a>, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2006/12/22/pf/moneyicr_valentines.moneymag/index.htm?postversion=2006122216">CNN Money</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentine's_Day">Wikipedia</a>, <a href="http://www.history.com/minisite.do?content_type=Minisite_Generic&amp;content_type_id=892&amp;display_order=4&amp;mini_id=1084">History Channel</a>, <a href="http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/ValentinesDay/default.asp">American Catholic</a>, <a href="http://www.thehoya.com/guide/021304/guide1.cfm">The Hoya</a>, <a href="http://www.khnl.com/Global/story.asp?S=6040348&amp;nav=menu55_13_1_1">KHNL</a>, <a href="http://japanesefood.about.com/cs/holidays/a/valentinechoco.htm">Japanese Food @ About.com</a>, <a href="http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/holidays/valentines_day.htm">Religion Facts</a>, <a href="http://www.collegesextalk.com/questions/sexualfunction.htm">College Sex Talk</a>, <a href="http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2005/12/31/2003286749">Taipei Times</a>, <a href="http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/02/the_bitter_trut.php">Tree Hugger</a>, <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=business&amp;id=3907400">ABC 7</a>, <a href="http://www.denver.feb.gov/trivia/val/triviaq1.htm#12">Denver Federal Executive Board</a>, <a href="27. http://www.corsinet.com/braincandy/valtrivia.html#trivia">Corsinet</a>, and <a href="http://www.drspock.com/article/0,1510,5001,00.html">Dr. Spock</a>.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weird-things-you-didnt-know-about-valentines-day" class="sharethis-link" title="Weird Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Valentine&#039;s Day" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Extra Commentary love romance Valentine's Day Sat, 10 Feb 2007 13:12:23 +0000 Will Chen 266 at http://www.wisebread.com Couplehood: Avoiding the Valentine Clichés http://www.wisebread.com/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/nerdflowers_sm.jpg" alt=" " width="298" height="197" /></p> <p>Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, and you know what that means: lots of people are going to buy lots of dumb crap. But you are above and beyond that, because you read Wise Bread. I’m not saying that Wise Bread readers are smarter than everyone else, but I’m definitely implying it.</p> <p>I didn’t realize that people still bought crappy Valentine’s stuff until I was at Walgreen’s the other evening and saw these huge, red, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. My lord. People must buy them, or they wouldn’t sell them… right? There might be a few people out there who don’t know how much better it is to be original, or slightly outside-the-box for obligatory holidays like Valentine’s Day. </p> <p>First and foremost – know your target. Are you celebrating with a spouse, long-term significant other, or a newer love? You should know a bit about them by now – if your powers of observation are terrible, ask someone else who knows them well. “I just want to express how much I care about him/her” is a good way to phrase it (use him <strong>or</strong> her, don’t say “him/her”).</p> <p>If you’ve been married a long time, and you think you know your spouse, please read this <a href="http://www.theonion.com/content/news/amazon_recommendations_understand">very serious cautionary tale</a>.</p> <p>Anyway, here are some common V-Day clichés that should be avoided at all cost. Well, not at <strong><em>all cost</em></strong>, because this IS supposedly a site about frugal living, but you get the idea.</p> <p><u>Cliché #1: Chocolates</u></p> <p>Chocolate is a lovely, lovely thing, as long as your recipient likes chocolate. Does your date like Skittles better? More of a Sour Patch Kids kind of guy? Consider these things before buying. If you settle on chocolate, then a huge box is unnecessary and tacky, and let’s face it, the chocolates suck. You’re much better off buying a small box of exquisite chocolates than a big slab o’ yuck.</p> <ul> <li>Reasonable: <a href="http://www.recchiuti.com/cgi-bin/recchiuti/115.html">Recchiuti Gilded Collection</a></li> <li>Midrange: <a href="http://www.franschocolates.com/catalog/product-detail.asp?pid=88">Gray Salt Caramels</a> from Fran’s Chocolate</li> <li>Pricey: <a href="http://godiva.com/catalog/product.aspx?id=1484">Heart Truffles from Godiva<br /></a></li> </ul> <p>If chocolates aren’t the thing, consider other sweets. Fresh mochi is good, although probably better arranged on a nice platter. If you have someone who is very Japanorama, Pocky is always appreciated. Aforementioned Skittles look super-cute in a pretty glass jar.</p> <p><u>Cliché #2: Roses</u></p> <p><a href="/flower-power-a-guide-to-frugal-valentines-flowers">I’ve already expressed my feelings about roses</a>. Find something more interesting and less expensive. Arrange them yourself.</p> <p>If your recipient has a green thumb, you might consider a live plant. Something cool, though, not a chrysanthemum from Albertson’s. Think about a small banzai, a gardenia, lemon tree, pretty cactus planter, or a Venus Fly Trap. (You could totally do a “Venus” theme if you went with the flytrap. You could also give a card shaped like the planet Venus, show up in a toga, and lip-synch “I’m your Venus”.)</p> <p><u>Cliché #3: Lovey-dovey Hallmark Card</u></p> <p>If you want to express your feelings, a Hallmark card covered in cupids, puppies, and pink hearts is a dumb way to do it. The oversize ones are even worse.</p> <p>You can make your own card, but only if you have some sort of artistic talent, or if you TOTALLY AND UTTERLY LACK ANY ARTISTIC TALENT WHATSOEVER. Somewhere in between won’t cut it. I once saw a flip-book Valentine that was given to a friend by her crush. He used stick figures, but the simple little cartoon featured him handing her a heart and then getting a kiss in return. Super cute, and it only cost him a couple of bucks for the index cards and markers. And an hour of his time, but that&#39;s the point. Effort.</p> <p>One time when I was totally broke, I surprised my romantic mark by covering their doorway with paper hearts. I stole the scrap paper from my workplace, so it was really, really free. But it was a pretty good set-up, if I do say so myself.</p> <p><u>Cliché #4: Candlelight Dinner &amp; Champagne</u></p> <p>If you are <a href="/the-way-to-your-honeys-heart#comment-2521">doing this yourself</a>, then awesome. If you are going out, then more power to you. I like a smaller venue for romantic dinners, but sometimes the wacky places can be just as fun. I actually prefer jazz bars for a truly romantic moment – the ones that allow dancing are even better. But figuring out something different or unusual shouldn’t be too hard – been wanting to try Ethiopian food? Give it a shot. You can giggle nervously together while eating with your hands. Dress appropriately and make reservations ahead of time if you can.</p> <p>Champagne is great. I’d rather enjoy it at home after dinner. It’s a great prelude to other things, like… Scrabble.</p> <p><u>Cliché #5: Lingerie/silk boxers</u></p> <p>It is so, so difficult to pick out lingerie for someone else. I don’t even recommend trying it unless something VERY specific has been pointed out to you and you are completely secure in your knowledge of what size is needed. She will not be happy to receive a size 16 nightie if she’s a size 6. Likewise, he’ll look stupid drowning in XL boxers if he’s 5’6” and 120 pounds.</p> <p><u>Cliché #6: Stuffed Toys</u></p> <p>In a word: no. That goes double for candy hearts and glitter stuffed into envelopes. Unless you have managed to find someone who genuinely loves stuffed toys (and if you have, think twice about the mental acuity of this person), then leave the childish stuff to the children. Or, if you must, don’t don’t don’t get a teddybear. Get a Valentine’s Day <a href="http://www.letusteachkids.com/puppets/dragon.htm#Large_Red">dragon</a> or something. </p> <p><u>Cliché #7: Jewelry and/or Perfume</u></p> <p>Jewelry is pricey. I’d avoid it altogether. Yes, there are cheap, chintzy gold necklaces to be had at great prices in malls across America. But unless you’re dating K-Fed or Lady Sovereign, it’s just a messy idea. The real stuff costs a lot, and there are better holidays on which to give it. If V-Day is your special jewelry day, well, then, I can&#39;t help you, except to hint that vintage jewels are hot right now, and a sapphire kicks more butt than a diamond could any day.</p> <p>Ditto perfume. I love perfume, but men and women have different senses of smell. Unless you’ve been given specific directions by someone in the know, don’t bother. If your love has a signature scent, you can always buy some related product, like a body lotion or a powder, but let’s face it, that’s just not very romantic. I say nix it.</p> <p>Mind you, if you are really talented and super-loaded, you could pull a <a href="http://www.theonion.com/content/columnists/view/smoove">Smoove B</a> and do all of the clichés in one night. But your date will have to have a great sense of irony, or post-irony, or whatever it is that we have these days.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches" class="sharethis-link" title="Couplehood: Avoiding the Valentine Clichés" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks candy chocolates flowers gifts giving hearts lingerie love romantic roses shopping stuffed toys teddy bear Valentine's Day Thu, 08 Feb 2007 23:55:51 +0000 Andrea Karim 260 at http://www.wisebread.com