15 frugal says to brighten your spouse's day

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What Not to Buy Your Spouse for the Holidays


We live in a consumer-driven society. In one form or another, we often get the message that we must spend money to enjoy life. A related message is that when you spend money on someone else, they'll feel loved.

We see it in commercials for Valentine's Day, Christmas and Mother's Day, to name a few. Those ads tell us we need to spend to show those we love, especially our spouses, that we care. That's simply not the truth. There are many free or inexpensive ways to show someone you care. Here are some suggestions to do just that:

1. Buy them a flower or two.

Flowers are a $34 billion per year industry. If you've bought flowers for a special holiday, or simply just because, you know how expensive they can be. Instead of spending $75 on a bouquet of roses, buy a single one for a few dollars. You get the same effect with little money spent.

2. Take on a chore.

This tip is one of the best ways to show love and care for your partner. Have they had a rough day or week? Do the dishes for them. Clean the house. Run an errand for them. Find something and do it. You'll instantly make her day.

3. Tell them you love them.

This sentence costs you nothing more than a few breaths of air and it has an instant impact.

4. Give them "me" time.

This is a great gift for families with kids or homes that are busy. If your partner has had a busy week at home or just finished a big project at work, give them an afternoon to themselves to recharge.

5. Make them a card.

The greeting card industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Hallmark, one of the leading companies, made over $4 billion in 2013. Instead of spending $5 to $10 on a greeting card, make one for your partner. The thought will go much further and they'll likely be glad you didn't spend money on a piece of paper.

6. Plan a surprise date night.

Date nights are a great way to spend time together. Don't feel like you need to spend a lot of money to have one, though. Trade babysitting with another family, prepare a meal for your partner and enjoy an evening in.

7. Compliment them.

It may sound cliché, but it's a great way to show your partner you care and love them. Find something nice and compliment them. Do they have a hidden talent? A skill they excel at? Take notice and tell them. Your words will be worth their weight in gold.

8. Turn off the TV.

In fact, turn off all electronic devices and devote some undivided attention to your partner. Not only will you show them you care but you can have a deep, meaningful discussion.

9. Go out for lunch.

This is a great way to brighten your spouse's day if they work in an office. Surprise them one day and show up to take them to their favorite spot for lunch.

10. Buy them a coffee, bottle of wine or glass of beer.

The gift depends on what your partner enjoys, of course, but this can be a nice way to brighten their day. In the case of the coffee, you may even be able to simply make them a cup of their favorite brew at home and spend nothing.

11. Call them unexpectedly.

Give them an impromptu call at the beginning of the day to tell them you love them and it'll make their day that much brighter.

12. Give them a massage.

You can go one of two ways with this option. You can either give them an impromptu massage at home or buy them one. I commonly see deals come through for massage specials on Groupon or LivingSocial.

13. Give them a hug.

Another cliché, but you'd be surprised what a simple hug can do for someone's day. The most it'll cost you is 30 seconds of your time.

14. Ask if there is anything you can do for them.

Did your partner have a busy day at work? Do they seem stressed? Simply ask if there's anything you can do for them, like taking on a chore. They very well may say "no," but asking shows love and care.

15. Thank them.

Has your partner done something ordinary or special for you lately? Take the time to thank them. Not only will it show appreciation, but it will communicate love.

There are many ways to show your spouse or partner you care for and love them. While some of the more costly ways may be fun, they don't communicate anything more than a simple thought does. And after all, it is the thought that counts.

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