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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 canbe accomplishedwithout breaking the bank.

With nothing more than $20 in his pocket, Maherstarted his journey in search of thoseValentine's must-haves -- flowers.Unfortunately for Maher and his meager budget,V-Day bouquetsrun as high as$150. Distraught, hetooka two-mile walk along the Sacramento River, wherehe 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-strappedCasanova.Among thebargain-bound aisles,Maherfoundchocolates,rose petals, a plush bear, and candy hearts.

Eight dollars down with $12 to spare, Maherwent in search ofa couple of intoxicating gestures of love -- perfume and wine. Realizing both would far exceed his $12,he went to Rite Aid where abottle of locally producedred wine withan appetizing $2.50 price tagawaited.

The budget now slashed to $9.50 and noperfume to speak of, the morning reporterpicked up the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, ladenwith page after page offree perfume samples.

Jeff spent his remaining cash at the mall where amongother items, he scoreda $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 hespent the change ontwo 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.

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