SACRAMENTO - The average man spends $150 on Valentine's Day. But what about those hopeless romantics on a budget? News10 reporter Jeff Maher set out on a quest to prove that expressing one's love can be accomplished without breaking the bank.
With nothing more than $20 in his pocket, Maher started his journey in search of those Valentine's must-haves -- flowers. Unfortunately for Maher and his meager budget, V-Day bouquets run as high as $150. Distraught, he took a two-mile walk along the Sacramento River, where he came across a startling arrangement of flowering weeds sprouting freely from the earth.
With flowers, and a smudging of fresh soil in hand, Maher headed to the 99 Cent Store, an ideal resource for any cash-strapped Casanova. Among the bargain-bound aisles, Maher found chocolates, rose petals, a plush bear, and candy hearts.
Eight dollars down with $12 to spare, Maher went in search of a couple of intoxicating gestures of love -- perfume and wine. Realizing both would far exceed his $12, he went to Rite Aid where a bottle of locally produced red wine with an appetizing $2.50 price tag awaited.
The budget now slashed to $9.50 and no perfume to speak of, the morning reporter picked up the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, laden with page after page of free perfume samples.
Jeff spent his remaining cash at the mall where among other items, he scored a $2 button that read "Cupid Rhymes with Stupid." He left the mall with 20 cents jingling in his pocket and scurried over to Old Sacramento where he spent the change on two pieces of saltwater taffy.
With the gifts now checked off his list, all that remained was a way to express his innermost feelings and a carriage by which to transport his princess around town.
He spent the evening penning a heartfelt poem , and then stopped by Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento, where the dealership allowed him to test drive a new E-class convertible. Then it was off to pick up his Valentine, Liana, for their romantic rendezvous.
After presenting his gifts and reading his poetry aloud to Liana at Howe Park, she responded as if she was somewhat impressed, but could easily tell it was a less than exorbitant presentation. The two parted ways, but not before Liana handed him his trash bag full of the Valentine gifts.
Better luck next time, Jeff.