No need to empty your wallet on Valentine’s Day. Virginia Tech’s expert Mariana Falconier says that couples are often pressured with temptations to spend money, but offers tips to bring a little levity to relationships, help strengthen connections, and save money in the process.

  1. Tell jokes. When was the last time you had a belly laugh with your partner? Surprise your partner. Pretend like you’re going to tell a story about your day and then it has a punchline that they aren’t expecting. 

  2. Gaze into each other’s eyes. This is a very intimate act. We get so busy solving daily problems with work, family, etc., that we often forget to connect at a deeper level.

  3. Tell your partner something you are grateful for. Once a day, let your partner know what you are grateful for. It doesn’t have to be about your relationship, but in general. What is it that you appreciate about your daily life? Let your partner know you are satisfied and happy with the life you are living. 

  4. Play a board or card game. When you play a game with your partner, you get to know how your partner thinks a little bit better. There’s so many fun varieties out there! Do a quick Google search or pull out that old deck of cards in your cabinet.

  5. Hold hands. Particularly if you’ve been together for a while, sometimes couples don’t hold hands with as much frequency as they used to. Be intentional about this.

  6. Share grace. Does your partner bite the spoon when eating cereal? Leave a mess on the bathroom mirror after brushing teeth? Rarely put away clean clothes? Take a deep breath, noticing the inhale, appreciating the exhale, and give thanks for the life you share, including the quirks that drive you nuts.   

  7. Take a walk together. Being outside is a wonderful way to connect; bundle up and go find some stars; or enjoy the sun and gaze at a tree or birds. No matter where you are, you can find the sky to look up at.

  8. Look at old pictures. When was the last time you looked at old pictures together? Take a few moments and sit together, taking a stroll down memory lane.   

  9. Remind the other what attracted you to them. And while you are there, pause and think about some of the things that helped create the spark for you and your partner. What were some of the reasons your head was turned? What made you think about them while you were apart?  

  10. Set a goal together for the future. We are more likely to reach our goals when we make them concrete, say them out loud to ourselves and others, and have others to help keep us on track towards our progress. Having saved money following these tips, think about ways that you can use your savings for common future, financial goals as a couple!

Written by Jennifer Landis-Santos, Community Partners Coordinator, TOGETHER Program

About the TOGETHER Program
Together is a free program for couples based in the greater, Washington, D.C., metro region offered by Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland, College Park. It integrates relationship education and financial education. Couples are taught tools to:

  • Manage stress individually and together as a couple,
  • Communicate constructively and problem solve together, and
  • Better manage their finances

The program offers workshops for couples to learn tools and techniques to improve their relationship. Case managers help couples connect to other supportive services that they may include health, educational, housing, or employment services. For more information, visit:

To secure an interview with Falconier, contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at [email protected] or 703-399-9494.