What would you do with $500 for Valentine’s Day?

by Erika Torres

Below is my entry for the Spoil My Sweetie Contest hosted by Ultimate Coupons. Enter to win up to $500 in gift cards.

Eric and I don’t get very many opportunities to spoil each other. A splurge for us consists of Thai take-out and a Redbox rental…and if we’re really feeling crazy, we may get frozen yogurt for dessert. So it’s a fun idea to think of how I would spoil my hard-working husband with $500, especially because we’re both constantly making sacrifices and putting off fun so we can pay off debt and build wealth. Sometimes, you just want to live it up, right?

One thing Eric and I love to do is go wine tasting. There’s something about wine tasting that makes you feel like you’ve been there a week when you’ve really only been drinking wine since 3 in the afternoon. While we’re not very refined when it comes to choosing wine (Trader Joe’s Two-buck chuck anyone?), we like to pretend.

Our splurge would first start with an overnight getaway to the place where we went for a mini-moon after we got married: Temecula. It’s only about an hour and a half from where we live, but it feels like you’re in a completely different world. There are hills of green and open spaces–something you don’t see very often in Orange County suburbia.

Temecula was also the site of the hot air balloon ride I surprised Eric with in July. Since we’re splurging, I’m not going to priceline our hotel and will instead make a reservation at the South Coast Winery and Resort for a complete weekend of wine tasting and relaxation. The winery-view rooms come with fireplaces and hot tubs!

We’d start off be settling in with our complimentary bottle of red wine and my favorite chocolate, a box of See’s Candies nuts and chews. Because if you should know anything about me, it’s that I don’t diet when I’m on a relaxation getaway. And I love See’s Candies nuts and chews!

Afterward, we’d gather all the two-for-one wine tasting coupons I scored from the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association and head out. What? You didn’t think I’d use a coupon during our $500 splurge? I’ll be using coupons even if I become a millionaire! I love getting the most bang for my buck!

Once the tipsiness sets in from our several half-off wine tastings, I’d love to have a quiet picnic on the hills of Temecula during sunset, watching the hot air balloons go up into the sky. Eric is a huge fan of cheese. There is nothing that boy loves more than filling his chubby little cheeks with loads of cheese. So of course I’d surprise him with a cheese basket.

The next day, we’d start our day off at the spa, with a couples’ massage. Then we’d lounge in the hot tub and sauna. I know this little overnight getaway would be enough to re-energize our batteries and motivate us to keep paying off our debt and saving our money for bigger goals–like a real honeymoon and eventually a home of our own.

I have a feeling once we got home, we’d want the relaxation to continue, so we may be ordering some bottles of bubbly through wine.com –with a coupon of course!

How would you spoil your sweetie with $500?


Stef (City Girl) February 29, 2012 - 4:49 pm

Just checked to see if you won. Bummer! I loved your entry, though. And, we need to hang next time I’m visiting my SoCal bestie in Temecula! xoxo

Sherlyn May 31, 2014 - 4:52 am

That ini’shtgs perfect for what I need. Thanks!

B. (Below Her Means) February 8, 2012 - 10:00 pm

Just found your blog and I love it! Adding you to my Reader.

Jai Catalano February 8, 2012 - 3:41 am

I would buy a nice outfit and a new pair of shoes so I can try to look half as good as my wife. Then I would take her out to a place called Da Santos in NYC. After that I would come home and open up the bathroom to display my rose pedaled bubble bath accompanied by wine.

Then after that I would hope to god I would not be expecting a 3 child.


Earn Save Live February 8, 2012 - 2:28 am

Sounds wonderful!

My husband and I are working on a debt snowball, so it’s fun to think of what we could do with $500 other than put it toward our credit card bill!

Let’s see… I think we would go out for a fabulous dinner. The kind where you eat food that you can’t pronounce, but it tastes delicious. And then spend the night at a swank hotel here in Australia. In the morning, we’d sleep in and order room service. And then we’d go see an early matinee, just because.

Suba February 7, 2012 - 6:33 pm

The Temacula trip sounds awesome. I might steal it 🙂 I always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride (if I can convince my husband).

If I had an extra $500 I would take a mini vacation too. I would love to go back to the Yurts in Big Sur. Have you been there?

SB @ One Cent At A Time February 7, 2012 - 5:47 pm

A balloon ride would alone cost $500 for two. Its a nice fantasy, let us know when it eventually materialize.

kim February 7, 2012 - 5:36 pm

My hubby has always wanted to go horseback riding (he’s more romantically inclined than I!). And then we’d end the day in a nice B&B with a hot tub.

SWR February 7, 2012 - 5:03 pm

Hmm…. I would probably treat him to a night at a hotel and a very expensive dinner out. We live within a few hours of a fairly large city, so this could be a reality!

Alternatively I would buy him a round trip ticket to visit whomever he wanted. We are several hours away from both sets of parents, and my guess is that he would want a few days to spend with them, since we cannot afford to see them very often.

From Shopping to Saving February 7, 2012 - 3:22 pm

Thanks for your input on my house hunting anxiety post. It really helped clear my mind since I felt like it was clouded with all of these crazy thoughts. We were arguing for hours last night and this morning. I felt like he wasn’t really looking at things in my perspective, but then again I wasn’t doing the same. We were both on different pages and that’s DEFINITELY not how I want to buy our first place together so I told him that if he’s not 100% then we can’t move forward. I really hate Mello Roos too but for some reason I just fell in love with this area and the place. Maybe this somehow clouded my judgment and made me believe that this was THE ONE! I think my next post will be about compromising and being extremely patient when home shopping. It is really a stressful process!

KendraD February 7, 2012 - 11:45 am

That sounds like a fabulous weekend. My husband isn’t super big on wine, but I’d still like us to do a winery tour someday. I’m jealous that y’all have some so close to you.

If everything works out right, then just after Valentines Day (which we don’t celebrate), we’ll be taking a ski trip to the Swiss Alps. We got the bus ride there, three nights in a hostel, and equipment rental all for less than 500 dollars. We will have to buy our own food and lift tickets – but we can take whatever alcohol we want with us, so we’ll probably do that.

This is totally a trip for my husband. He really doesn’t want us to leave Germany without skiing the Alps once.

From Shopping to Saving February 7, 2012 - 10:47 am

Awww this was so sweet. I would use it to go on a weekend getaway in our college town, SLO. We really miss the food and it would be nice to get away. All we do is redbox it and get takeout pizza for a splurge haha:)

One Frugal Girl February 7, 2012 - 10:21 am

I loved this topic enough to write my own post about it! I don’t normally drop links, but you can read it here. My answer is a new camera lens for my sweet husband.

Thanks for posting about this!

Tanner February 7, 2012 - 8:39 am

I’ll be the boring single person who spends it on a nice treat for myself. If I had $500, I’d splurge on a new phone I totally don’t need but have been wanting since October when they came out ($149) and save the rest for my vacations in April.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter February 7, 2012 - 8:16 am

I have never been in a hot air balloon. I have always thought it looked neat.

I think we would take a mini vacay. We like to get away and travel and we would use that money for gas and accommodations.


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