03/16/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Romancing On The Cheap

Just because the economy is having problems right now, doesn't mean your romance life has to suffer. You can still have lots of romantic times with your treasured sweetie without having to pay a treasure chestful.

I spoke with Professional Matchmaker, Samantha Daniels, who is the owner of the high end, bicoastal company, Samantha"s Table Matchmaking, to get some tips on romancing on the cheap. Samantha has been responsible for over 100 marriages and thousands of long lasting relationships. Her clients are all high profile, busy professionals and celebrities who have been very successful in their careers. But, hey, in this economy, everyone loves a deal -- so check out Samantha's romancing on the cheap tips below:

1) Gifts
You can give your sweetie an "IOU" Romance Book where you create individual coupons and put them in the box that they can redeem at anytime. Examples... "1 back massage," "1 lazy Sunday," "1 breakfast in bed," "1 guys' night out," "1 hall-pass from going out with your relatives," "1 choice of the movie on movie night," "1 cleaning the garage," etc. Or give your honeypie a music compilation that you create yourself of his/her favorite music. It's an especially thoughtful gift if your honey especially loves music.

2) Cards
Instead of buying the usual Hallmark cards, in this economy you can send an E-card or go online to a "Create your own card" website like where you can create your own card and print it out on your own printer for free. And I personally love the feisty and funny Hoops and Yoyo free e-cards found on the Hallmark website.

3) Dining
Bring your favorite restaurant home! Almost every famous chef has a recipe book (aka: Charlie Palmers, Danny Meyers, Bobby Flay). Buy the book and ingredients and cook up an amazingly romantic meal for a fraction of the price -- without having to worry about showing too much Public Display of Affection. And if you're not afraid of expressing your love in public, you can eat out more cheaply if you choose a BYOB restaurant -- and bring along your favorite wine. Or pick a restaurant that has prix fixe specials. Many restaurants have their "restaurant week" special all year round. You just need to ask. And if it's Valentine's Day dining you are after, then celebrate before or after Valentine's Day! On the 13th or the 15th, you can enjoy a romantic and lovely meal without paying those high falutin' Valentines Day prices.

Basically, it's all about being creative, and thinking about what makes your sweet-thing happy -- even if it's not what you personally prefer. Throughout time showing appreciation and effort has always been a terrific aphrodisiac -- and it's especially so in this economy.

SHARE YOUR INEXPENSIVE ROMANTIC IDEAS BELOW...and/or share the silliest, wrongest, funniest romantic gifts you've ever gotten!


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