Money and the pandemic
My partner is a small business owner whose business hasn’t operated in almost a year. His is a story like so many others since the pandemic erupted across the globe.
Needless to say, money has been extremely tight. The silver linings are that:
- He’s a great saver.
- He got engaged to a freelance writer — a solely digital profession.
- Once a businessman, always a businessman. He’s like a phoenix who comes to life again through his own ashes, and he will create something again COVID or not.
Now, if you asked me whether I’ve been actually feeling that tightening of purse strings, I’d tell you that I haven’t. And guess what? One of my love languages includes my enjoyment of receiving thoughtful gifts.
Miraculously, I feel I’ve been missing out on absolutely nothing in that area. My fiancé is a very resourceful man, but it honestly isn’t hard to do. It’s proof that you don’t need money to shower your partner with love (and gifts).
You simply have to think outside the box. This is something he’s better at than me, but that means I get to learn from the best (and pass on my knowledge to you all)!
So, why haven’t I been feeling our shallow pockets? Hint: it’s not because we live outside our means.
I’ll give you a few examples of the beautiful things he’s done for me, which have been completely within our budget.
He has created space for me.
One of the sweetest things he’s done for me just happened today, where I sit writing this article. It was such a touching thing to be surprised with. But first, here’s why it was such a big deal.
We’ve been on lockdown a few months now. We also just learned it wasn’t ending Feb. 22nd like we, perhaps naively, thought it was. That date was only the day of “assessment” for what steps the country will take next and how rules might be lessened.
My partner knows exactly how much I’ve been dying to at least be able to go sit in cafés for my writing. It’s my thing. I love the atmosphere you find in café settings.
So today, I woke up, scuffling my way sleepily to the kitchen to make my morning coffee. He disappeared for a few moments through our front door, returning with what sounded like pieces of wood and something kind of heavy.
He made his way down the hallway that leads to our bedroom, instructing me to hang out in the living room for a few minutes.
“Come in,” he said, and I walked into a little office space by our street-facing windows, which he’d recently adorned in ambiance vine lights. Coffeehouse music played softly in the background and my laptop sat on a rolling cart, which he found on a giveaway app like Shpock, Freecycle, and Preloved. This was my little desk. A stylish spin-chair sat behind it (also from one of those apps). He lit my favourite candle, and I fell in love with him a little more than I did yesterday.
He gave me an office, something I’ve never had before.
Apart from the actual office jobs I’ve held in the past, I’ve never even had my own chair before — a chair that was my own, to work from at home. I’ve always had to just sit in bed or on the couch.
Now, I could be in a café.
He solves problems for me.
Simple little things can be such game-changers. He’s good at spotting these details — seeing people’s struggles and figuring out ways to fix them.
Honestly, he finds ways to make my life easier every single day. It’s hard to list all of them, but I’ll give you an instance to portray the idea.
I drink water with lemon slices in it. Every day, and it must have the lemon. It’s healthy, and it makes water taste better.
However, sipping it can get messy. The lemon slices can get stuck in the bottom or wedged in-between the sides of the glass. Many times when I’ve gone to drink it, the lemons literally fall onto my face and water splashes down whatever poor sweater I’m wearing that day.
Definitely first-world problems, I’m aware, but it only took about two dollars for my partner to find a water bottle for me with a built-in infuser for lemon slices. It keeps them in place, and the water bottle itself is nicer to sip from and easier to carry. Portable.
And proof that it doesn’t break the bank to show your significant other than you care!
He gets pricier things I might need, for much less.
Although I take care of my teeth, my dentist has told me I needed to get a water flosser. I’m one of those people who has to floss twice a day to have the same gum health others enjoy without much effort, and with little to no flossing. So jealous, but anyway…
We knew I needed to make that purchase. He has a knack for finding otherwise expensive things for much less, which you can do on sites like Alibaba and sometimes Amazon.
He knows those sites he can go on that have cheaper brands, and he makes sure those items have all the same features and capabilities of the big brand items. That’s important in some cases, like this one.
So he found me a water flosser and surprised me with it. I’d been dreading the search to find a cheap, but good one. Like I said, he’s resourceful. He knows how to do these things and takes great pride in this ability — finding the deals.
Even when it’s a necessary bigger spend, you don’t have to reach deep into your pockets to gift it to your partner.
He knows things that mean a lot to me.
Sometimes, all you need to shower someone with love is to know them. That intimate knowledge is what can make your partner feel incredibly loved.
I can tell you about a few times when he has shown me how well he knows me:
- One of my Christmas gifts was a handmade journal one of his artist friends had designed. Inside the front cover, he’d written the sweetest note to me. He showed me his undying support for my identity as a writer, encouraged me, and displayed his thoughtfulness all in one small, meaningful gift. This one made me cry.
- This one isn’t even a physical gift but it touched my heart in such an unexpected way. In a casual conversation we were having, he started explaining how he feels confident now that he’d be able to guess what I’d order off any menu. He proceeded to explain the complexity of my tastes in food…the uniqueness of the way I view it, how it’s emanated through my cooking, and my need for a balance in flavours, textures, and sweet and savoury. It was strange and amazing at the same time — I’d never have been able to iterate that myself, much less expect someone else to have such a deep understanding of me and my relationship with food! And I could feel the love he had for me in his awe of the inner workings of my mind.
These so perfectly show how deep love can be, and how little money has to do with any of it.
He’s learned to be handy.
We’ve been trying to redecorate his place a little since I moved in last summer, adding a little of me here and making it homely for us both.
He knew I wanted a ladder in the bathroom where we can drape our towels — an idea I saw on Pinterest quite a bit.
For Valentine’s Day, he surprised me with a ladder he’d made for me (with the help of a friendly neighbour who has such tools and materials).
Just seeing this beautiful thing he’d made with his own hands was so attractive. He hadn’t simply spent money to get one from some store — he had taken the time, effort, and energy to make one for me.
The moral of the story is that you can show those you love that you care by getting creative, and giving them your time.
He enlists help wherever he can when necessary.
The two above sections both feature gifts my partner utilized help for. Sometimes, it takes the resources of others. Why not ask for a helping hand?
You might know someone who can easily extend their materials or skills to help you show your partner you love them.
It probably wasn’t much effort from my fiancé’s friends to do what they already do, but lend an extra product or materials to him they didn’t need or that it cost them nothing extra to make. And it meant the world to me.
Always consider asking people in your life for help, especially if money is tight. People love helping — it adds to their good karma, after all. And you can always return the favour later on. This is what friendship is for.
Whether my story inspires you to gift your loved one with something creative and meaningful, or it simply makes you smile, I hope it lives much beyond the recently passed Valentine’s Day.
These are things you can do year-round. Love is not reserved for one day a year, after all. In fact, it’s in the small moments. It’s in the “here and there,” the day-to-day. The moments many might dismiss as boring or “in-between the bigger ones” are the most meaningful.
Love is in these little filler days. They’re the days that add up to the final sum of your life. Pay attention to them. Cherish them! They matter more than you realize.