Thursday, February 14, 2008

12 Non-Valentine's Day Activities

I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. Here are 10 things I'd rather do instead of celebrating this holiday:

1) Cash in coins: I have a healthy pot of spare change, collected from random corners around my home. Today I plan to get the stash counted at a coin machine at our local supermarket.

2) Purge: I'd like to box up all the toys that my children have outgrown and give the stuff to charity or to a neighbor with young children. Note to self: Check the toy recall list. Don't pass on dangerous trinkets.

3) Apply at Starbucks: Now here's a fantasy: An interesting part-time job with free coffee and health insurance.

4) Pursue new business: My to-do list is filled with business and career opportunities. Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day, I could make a few phone calls, write a few query letters and design a long-term business plan.

5) Read a poem. Write a poem. Don't need a holiday to enjoy a good love poem.

6) Create March budget: Call it a spending plan. Call it a savings plan. Call it anything. Just crunch the numbers and outline an agenda for the next 30 days.

7) Write letters. No emails. Just buy stamps and send real letters to three people, including my Aunt Norma. Encourage my kids to write to their pen pals. Catch up on Thank You notes.

8) Update idea file. Writing, blogging and saving money will be easier if I plan ahead with stories and research about personal finance. Get a head start with a list of ideas for future columns, articles and posts.
9) Get more exercise. Go for a long walk. Pop in an exercise tape or take an aerobics class at the community center. Keep moving and strengthen the heart.

10) Collect money. Send out invoices for work completed. Earning money for the family budget is just another form of love.
11) Clip coupons: Either online or in the newspaper, look for coupons for products and services that I really need. Compare the potential savings to the quality and prices of no-name products. Don't clip mindlessly. Don't spend without calculating.
12) Study the phone bill: Do I really need call-waiting? Are there any random charges on my bill that should be purged? Review bills and ask questions.
Sharon Harvey Rosenberg is the author of The Frugal Duchess of South Beach: How to Live Well and Save Money... Anywhere!, which will be published in June of 2008 by DPL Press.

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