“This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
– Earl Wilson
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between crippling debt and true love.
You can have more love and you can have more money. The best way to have more love is to love more. The best way to have more money is to save more. Below are my favorite ways to show love without buying a gift.
Spend quality time with your love.
When couples get together, they often can’t spend enough time with each other. Eventually, the daily routine of life takes over and they spend less time together. Soon, spending time together is no longer special. It’s not bad or boring, it’s just not as special.
Make it special.
Spend quality time with your S.O. Turn off the television and laptops. Put down the phone. Talk to each other. Go for a walk around your neighborhood or a picturesque park. Ride bikes to your favorite part of town. Play chess or a card game.
Find a quiet space and be completely immersed in the experience. Don’t share the time with Facebook.
Read to them.
For many, the memory of a parent reading to them at night is a reminder of a special kind of love. Enhance that memory with your S.O. and read to them. Read to them in bed. Read to them in your living room. Read to them in the park.
Share with them a great story and let their mind’s eye be the movie screen. This is a great way to show love without buying a gift.
My husband once read Winnie the Pooh to me while I fell asleep in bed. I pictured the story clearly in my head until I dozed. The story and the good night’s sleep were wonderful gifts that cost nothing.
Cook for bae.
Cooking feeds the soul.
What better way to say, “I love you” than to fuel the soul?
With the craziness of modern life, cooking has become more of a chore than an experience. Eliminate the chore and make for a memorable experience with your S.O. by cooking their favorite meal for them. Cooking for someone else, putting in the thought, time, and effort is a more personal way to show your love than to take them out to dinner.
This isn’t completely free, but you need to eat anyway. You might as well make it a great experience and show love without buying a gift.
Watch their favorite show or movie with them.
Everyone has a favorite show or movie that their partner doesn’t enjoy. I love It’s a Wonderful Life and can watch it every holiday season. Every. Holiday. Season.
My husband doesn’t like it, and I don’t enjoy it as much when I’m stuck watching it alone. When he’s watching it with me, it means more.
What television show or movie does your partner like that you don’t? Get it, and watch it with them. Show them that spending time with them doing something they enjoy is more important than spending time apart because you don’t have the same exact tastes.
Do for them what they usually do for themselves.
Can your partner wash their car? Pack their lunch? Clean their home? Pick up the dry cleaning? Yes, of course, they can.
Doing for someone what they can do for themselves shows a special kind of love. It makes their day just a little easier. It saves them from a daily chore. It shows that you’re there to make their life better in big and small ways.
Make a carousel of old photos from a trip or experience.
Photos are so ubiquitous today that they’ve lost value. We take a picture. Post it on Instagram. Get a bunch of likes. Forget about it when we take the next picture.
Rinse and repeat.
Dig into the archive of pictures on your phone, an older phone, your computer, or those older CDs you still have. Find special moments or an exciting trip, and put them into a single file or add them to your Flickr account.
Create a carousel of these photos to return your S.O. to a time and place you both cherish. The love you had for each other in that moment will come back. It’s a beautiful way to show love without buying a gift. And it can cement your relationship.
Give them your favorite book with a personal inscription.
Reading a hardcover or paperback book is an organic experience lost in the digital age.
A meaningful book with a personalized inscription is an organic and meaningful way to say to your S.O., “I love you.”
Whether it’s a good story, an educational or inspirational read, giving someone a book says that you want to treat them to something out of the ordinary. The more appropriate the book and heartfelt the inscription, the more the gift says you care.
Say “I love you” at an unexpected time.
It’s special to hear “I love you” from your S.O.
It’s even more special when it’s said at unexpected times.
We become conditioned to hearing it when leaving or returning from work. It’s expected before bed.
It’s not expected when you’re standing in the aisle at the grocery store or in the middle of a phone call. It’s a surprise and means more when it’s said first thing in the morning and in a text during the middle of the day.
As you can see, you don’t have to go deeply into debt to show your S.O. how much you love them.
There are countless free ways to say those three little words — and they mean more than any mere bought gift could.