Reserve a Romantic Table For Two and Still Make Rent this Valentine’s Day

I’ve been called a “cheap date” on more than one occasion, but I’ve never taken offense to this comment. I’m quite proud of the fact I can get a nice little buzz from just a few sips of wine. Plus, I’m considerate enough to not want someone to spend a huge wad of cash on food, no matter what day it is.

Unfortunately, not everyone is a cheap date, nor do they care about saving anyone’s hard-earned money for something better. As a matter of fact, consumers in the US alone spend billions of dollars on Valentine’s Day each year. That’s quite a hit considering some are still recovering from holiday spending, while others are still waiting for that highly anticipated tax return.

According to Bankrate’s 2017 Valentine’s Index, the average cost of fine dining for two on  Valentine’s Day is around $ 96. That might not sound too bad, but it’s just a national average and nothing compared to the nearly $ 300 average in Los Angeles, and the more than $ 300 average in New york City and San Francisco, according to a 2015 Huffington Post survey.

Um, what?

If my Valentine were to insist on spending that much to feed me, that meal better be enough to feed me for an entire month — or two. Better yet, put that money toward a mini vacation or my student loans so I can skip a payment and buy myself something nice for a change.

Valentine’s Day dinner doesn’t have to be all about a tiny amount of fancy-schmancy, hard-to-pronounce food artistically arranged in the center of a plate and topped with a car-payment price tag –– unless you really want it to be.

But we’re Penny Hoarders, so we seek the best deal, of course. And really, Valentine’s Day should be about spending time with loved ones, no matter where that may be.

Nonetheless, going all out for Valentine’s Day remains a big deal. So, if you plan to celebrate the big day but don’t want to spend the big money, read on for some cheap Valentine’s Day dinner ideas that won’t break your heart bank.

Have a Valentine’s Day Meal Without Going Broke

True story: I’ve never been taken out to dinner on Valentine’s Day, so I’d feel super special if I were treated to any of the V-Day dinners on this list.

If you want to go out to celebrate your love this Valentine’s Day and still have enough money to make your rent payment, check out these cheap places to enjoy your Valentine’s Day dinner.

White Castle

Is White Castle the “Love Castle”? Apparently, it is.

This fast-food chain is accepting Valentine’s Day dinner reservations. Yes, you read that correctly: Valentine’s Day reservations… at White Castle.

As a matter of fact, 2018 marks the 27th anniversary of the chain’s annual Valentine’s Day celebration. Yup, couples have celebrated V-Day at White Castle for 27 years. Some have even exchanged vows at White Castle’s Valentine’s Day dinner. Sounds like a nice day for a white (castle) wedding.

If you decide to take your valentine to White Castle this year, you can expect hostess seating, tableside service, romantic decor –– even the little burger boxes are decked out for the special day –– and any of your menu favorites at regular prices. Rumor has it, you can also BYOB, as in “bring your own bubbly.”

Space fills up quickly –– even three weeks in advance –– so If you’re interested in seeing what this White Castle tradition is all about, make a reservation at your local White Castle for Wednesday, Feb. 14, between 4 and 9 p.m.

Waffle House

People eat a Valentine's Day dinner at Waffle House.

Photo courtesy of Nadine Gillespie/Waffle House, Inc.

Wait, Waffle House isn’t just a place to go at 2 a.m. after you’ve had a little too much to drink?

This super-cheap, 24-hour American diner chain, which is best known for its around-the-clock breakfast and waffle menu, also goes all out for Valentine’s Day. And although White Castle has been in the V-Day dinner game much longer, the Waffle House Valentine’s Day celebration is entering its 11th year.

If you can’t quite picture what Valentine’s Day is like at a Waffle House and want to scope it out before considering making a reservation, no worries –– one Extra Crispy reporter checked it out for you.

Pricing and dinner menus may vary by location. I did, however, get the inside scoop from the Waffle House in St. Pete Beach, Florida. Its dinner includes two entrees, an appetizer and dessert for two for just $ 25. That’s about a quarter of the average cost of Valentine’s Day dinner for two.

Like White Castle’s annual Valentine’s Day dinner, reservations for the Waffle House Valentine’s Day celebration fill up fast, so be sure to call your participating location to reserve your table before the rest of the Penny Hoarders beat you to it!

Shoney’s

Here’s another that costs about a quarter of the average cost for Valentine’s Day dinner for two.

The Valentine’s Day dinner special at Shoney’s takes place from 4 p.m. to close. Guests can choose two entrees from a special menu and a piece of Shoney’s famous hot-fudge cake to share. Shoney’s advertises this deal for $ 24.99, but it also says prices may vary by location.

This special is available only at participating locations, so be sure to call ahead.

Qdoba

A photo of a Qdoba burrito that a person can get free on Valentine's Day if they buy another entree.

Photo courtesy of QDOBA

Qdoba doesn’t get quite as fancy for Valentine’s Day, but if your Valentine loves Mexican cuisine –– and free food –– then make this joint part of your V-Day plans.

First, I must mention that the best part about this deal is you don’t even need a valentine –– a friend, family member or even a stranger in line can help you score some free food. All you have to do is order an entree and share a kiss at the register to receive your choice of a burrito, bowl, quesadilla, loaded tortilla soup or the smokey habanero BBQ brisket for free.

All Qdoba locations participate in this Valentine’s Day tradition –– and you don’t need a reservation.

Chick-fil-A

Some Chick-fil-A locations go all out for Valentine’s Day, too.

From heart-shaped biscuits and chicken nugget trays to reservations for tableside service and candlelight, you just might be able to celebrate V-Day at your local Chick-fil-A.
Now, this is all based on past years’ events and it may be location specific. If you have your heart set on spending your V-Day at Chick-fil-A, then be sure to call your nearest locations first so you don’t show up only to be disappointed –– kinda like showing up on a Sunday, amiright?

Valentine’s Day for the Whole Family

If you can’t find a babysitter for the kids or you want them to be part of the celebration, here are some Valentine’s Day dinner options for the whole family.

McAlister’s Deli

This fast-casual restaurant chain will offer two free kids’ meals with the purchase of an adult entree. From unique club sandwiches piled high between three slices of bread for the adults to classics like grilled cheese and PB&J for the kids, you have plenty of options for a cheap Valentine’s Day meal for the whole family.

This deal is for dine-in and only at participating locations, so be sure to call your nearest location to make sure the deal is on before rounding up the family.

Auntie Anne’s

Auntie Anne's will serve heart-shaped Original and Cinnamon Sugar pretzels on Valentine's Day.

Photo courtesy of Auntie Anne’s

If you can get rid of the kids but can’t do so until later in the evening, go kill some time at the local mall and stop by Auntie Anne’s. This soft-pretzel franchise will serve heart-shaped Original and Cinnamon Sugar pretzels.

To make things even sweeter, My Pretzel Perks members can get two heart-shaped pretzels for the price of one. If you’re not a member yet, don’t worry. Just sign up by noon on Feb. 13 to get in on this sweet BOGO.

For Those Who Want to Just Stay In and Eat Pizza

A freshly made pizza cut in a heart shape.

karandaev/Getty Images

When the moon hits your eye like a heart-shaped pizza pie, that’s… Valentines Day.

If you plan to celebrate the day of love but would rather enjoy the evening on your couch with a little Netflix, a little chill and a not-so-little something to eat, then you’re sure to find a place delivering a heart in a box –– a heart-shaped pizza in a box, that is.

Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are known for offering heart-shaped pies on Valentine’s Day, but one is usually more expensive than the other –– can you guess which?

Pizza Hut’s heart-shaped pizza is about the size of a medium pizza and, in previous years, has cost around $ 10.

Papa John’s will offer the same thing but with a thin crust. This version costs about $ 1 more than Pizza Hut’s.

Now, if you love your Valentine but don’t love the same pizza toppings or sharing, then you may want to opt for the higher-priced heart-shaped pizza from Valentino’s because, well, you get two pizzas instead of one.

And if you want to cook for your valentine, but not really, then head on over to your local Papa Murphy’s. The shop makes the pizza, then you take it home and pop it in the oven. “Cooking” for your Valentine, now that’s amore!

For Those Who Oppose Valentine’s Day

Whether you hate Valentine’s Day every year or just when you’re single, here are some ways you can celebrate your anti-love for this day.

Get Face Deep in Wings at Hooters

If you’re working on mending a broken heart, then Hooters just might be the place to be this Valentine’s Day. Not only can you “shred” the person who broke your heart, but you’ll get free food out of it too.

Hooters offers two ways to “shred ’em and forget ’em.” You can either bring a photo of your ex to shred at your local Hooters or shred your ex online. Either way, you’ll score yourself buy one, get one 10-piece boneless wings –– and some liberation.

Join the Love Bashing at an Anti-Valentine’s Day Party

Two friends drink beer at a party.

franckreporter/Getty Images

As of this writing, Hooters is the only national restaurant chain I could find that doesn’t make the day all about love, but many local restaurants get in on the hating game. You just have to look for them.

Anti-Valentine’s Day parties have become quite popular over the years, so there’s a very good chance you’ll find one near you.

You can search Facebook events for terms like “anti-Valentine’s Day” and “I hate Valentine’s Day” to see if anything comes up in your area. You can even do a Google search for “anti-Valentine’s Day events near me,” and you just might find a roundup of parties and other events in your area.

You can also try searching Eventbrite for anti-Valentine’s day events in your area. For example, the New York City Social Group has hosted the “largest Anti-Valentine Party in NYC” for the last 15 years! So, if you’re single, live in or close to NYC and can spare $ 20 (plus a little extra for drinks), you can join in on this rooftop dance party, which includes free chocolates and appetizers, drink specials, prizes, and giveaways. This sounds like so much fun it almost makes me wish I were single (and living in NYC).

Jessica Gray is an editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder. She’s still working on convincing her valentine to take her to Waffle House for Valentine’s Day, but only because the nearest White Castle is 851.8 miles away.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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At What Age Should Kids Pay Rent? One Mom Says 5 Years Old Is Not Too Young

At just 5 years old, one little girl is learning more than the fundamentals of reading, writing, and arithmetic. She’s being taught how to manage her finances, save, and budget from her mother, who makes her pay rent each month. According to her mom, Essence Evans, it’s never too early to teach a child real life skills and a lesson in financial responsibility.

Last week, Evans received international attention after she revealed on Facebook that she gives her daughter a $ 7 allowance each week, but requires her to pay $ 5 toward the family’s rent, food, and living expenses. Her daughter gets to keep $ 2 for herself or put the money away for saving. The Georgia mom said she’s doing this to teach her child about “the real world.”

 

“I explained to her that in the real world most people spend most of their paycheck on bills with little to spend on themselves,” Evans wrote in a Facebook post that has since gone viral. “So, I make her give me $ 5 back. $ 1 for rent, $ 1 for water, $ 1 for electricity, $ 1 for cable, and $ 1 for food.”

The money that Evans is charging for rent is not just being used to teach her about money management. She’s actually saving the money for her daughter’s future.

“Now, what she doesn’t know is the $ 5 is actually going away in her savings account, which I will give back to her when she turns 18,” she wrote. “So if she decides to move out on her own she will have $ 3,380 to start off. This strategy not only prepares your child for the real world. But when they see how much real bills are they will appreciate you for giving them a huge discount.”

The post sparked an internet debate over whether Evans is exhibiting good parenting skills or being too hard on her daughter.

“I think this is absolutely amazing! It is a great way to teach her how the real world works and to get her a little savings account of her own so she has a good start when she moves out or goes to college or whatever she chooses to do,” Jennifer Barfield wrote in response to the post.

One social media user shared a story of how his father used a similar tactic on him as a child. “My father did that with me. I never complained. But when he died, he left me close to $ 28,000. I was shocked,” wrote Jim Koloski, according to WSB-TV.

Others, however, criticized Evans for being too harsh. “Poor kid stressing already. Can just telling your child and showing them the way not do the same justice without elimating [sic] the joyful carefree days of childhood,” wrote Kezi Chinekezi.

“Although I agree with the lesson, I think 5 is too young. Let’s let kids be kids,” added Scott Kays. “Teach life lessons by example. I just think a 5 year old should get to live in a magical world where lessons are taught through amazing adventures and creativity! It would be a good way of introducing economic responsibility at a later time! Good idea though.”

 

The post At What Age Should Kids Pay Rent? One Mom Says 5 Years Old Is Not Too Young appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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How to rent a car abroad

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When you travel abroad, you want to have the freedom to go where you please and do some of the amazing things on offer. And, a great way of getting a little more independence is to rent a car while you’re there. Now, this is something a lot of people do when they go away, and it is one of the best ways of getting around, especially when you travel as a family.

But, you have to know as much as possible about the process when it comes to renting a car abroad. Making the right choice is important for helping you to have the perfect vacation experience. However, you have to remember that the process for renting a car, and, indeed, the rules of the road, can vary a lot from nation to nation, and this is something you have to keep in mind. These are some of the key things you need to think about if you want to rent a car abroad.

Rules of the road

A lot of countries drive on the opposite side from what you might be used to. Don’t assume that all nations are going to be the same – this is a mistake people often make. You’re going to need to get the hang of driving on the wrong side and basically look at everything you’ve learned the opposite way around. There are other things that are less obvious, so make sure you follow and adhere to the rules of the road in the place you’re visiting.

Insurance

Make sure you sort your insurance out with plenty of time to spare before you actually go on your trip. If you leave this until the last minute, there will be a panicked rush when you arrive at the rental desk, and you will almost definitely pay over the odds. So, be sure you get this all sorted out with plenty of time to spare, and that you are covered as much as possible for driving abroad.

Do you need an automatic?

This is an important consideration because in many (most) countries the default rental car will almost always be a manual one. If you have practiced in an automatic, and you drive an automatic, this is not going to suit you. So, you have to make sure you do as much as possible to ensure you arrange or organize this well in advance. There will more than likely be opportunities to rent automatic, you will just need to make sure you plan it as much as possible.

Know your limit

Look, drinking and driving is not cool period, but, we understand that you may want a glass of wine or a beer with lunch on your vacation. In that case, you have to be aware of the limitations because they can vary from country to country. Some countries have a zero-tolerance policy, while other countries can be a little more relaxed – you have to know what the limit and policy is for your trip before going.

These are some of the considerations you will need to make before you head out on your vacation in a rented car. There are so many things to consider, and it is important to ensure that you abide by the rules of the road and that you are comfortable behind the wheel of your rental car. This is something that is going to be incredibly important, so you need to use some of the ideas on here to get you started on the right path.

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The post How to rent a car abroad appeared first on Worldation.

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Would You Rent Out Your Underutilized Clothing?If you haven’t…

Would You Rent Out Your Underutilized Clothing?

If you haven’t heard, fashion retail as an industry is imploding. Major department stores such as J.C. Penney and Macy’s have announced over a hundred store closures. Menswear stalwarts such as J. Crew and Ralph Lauren are bleeding money. Payless filed for bankruptcy; Urban Outfitters say they’re overextended; and malls all over the country are quickly becoming ghost towns

Even online retailers – who are largely responsible for the demise of brick-and-mortar – are worried about Amazon’s expansion into fashion. Once Amazon gets their production chains set up, it’ll be hard to compete with them in terms of price and delivery. That means retailers in the middle of the market will likely get squeezed, much like what’s happening with J. Crew. 

This has caused a lot of hand wringing as people try to think of new business models (or strategies to shore up old ones). Leffot and The Armoury, for example, recently opened online consignment shops, where they sell their customers’ old clothes. 

One of the more interesting business models I’ve heard about is Style Lend, which is essentially a real life Rent-A-Swag. Members sign up and rent clothes from other members’ closets, making the company’s inventory, stocking, and renting system nicely decentralized. This is different from, say, Rent the Runway, where customers rent from one big fashion company. Style Lend doesn’t keep an inventory; everything is peer-to-peer (although they take care of the dry cleaning and deliveries). 

In an interview with Loose Threads, Style Lend founder Lona Alia put it like this: 

Seeing how Airbnb was utilizing idle space or Uber was utilizing idle cars, I thought, we have these items in our closets and there are $ 50 billion of them in the U.S. or more. Why not rent them out to other women and make another woman’s day special?

Frankly, the idea sounds brilliant. It probably wouldn’t work for suits, which have to be tailored to each person, but it would be great for casualwear. How many times have you hesitated to buy an adventurous piece because you weren’t sure how often you’d wear it? Or, conversely, how much of your closet sits unused? Imagine if you could recoup some of that money by renting it out (not any crazier than people renting out their homes through Airbnb). Lona Alia says some of her members have seen a five-fold return on their purchases – a popular $ 500 dress renting enough times to net $ 2,500 (although her company takes half of those profits). 

Of course, you can also sell your clothes nowadays through any number of channels. However, if you’re anything like me, you often don’t let things go because you think you might want to wear it in the future. Renting seems like a perfect compromise.  

Style Lend is only for womenswear right now – and there’s reason to wonder whether the menswear market is big enough to sustain this kind of model – but this is one of the more interesting ideas I’ve heard in a while. And, to boot, it would be great for environmental sustainability. You can hear Alia’s interview at Loose Threads.  

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Elvis Presley once lived like royalty in Beverly Hills — ya know, ’cause he was THE King — and now you can too … if you’ve got $ 20k to blow on an epic sleepover. Elvis’ former Bev Hills estate is now for rent at $ 4,000 a night — but there’s a…

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This Animal Therapy Center Lets You Rent Dressed Up Llamas For Your Wedding Day

For BRIDES, by Alexis Hobbs.

Save the drama for a llama on your wedding day. No, really! For brides getting married in the Portland, Oregon, or Vancouver, Washington, area, your llama dreams can now be turned into reality. Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas is offering an exclusive service to brides and grooms who want to make sure their wedding is the most talked about event of the year. Because we mean, what’s more memorable than some dressed up alpacas at your reception?

See More: This Magical Wedding Featured a Unicorn Petting Zoo

According to the non-profit organization’s website, their llamas — named Rojo, Smokey, Diego, and Jean-Pierre — are pros when it comes to socializing at special events. “Always decorated to compliment, our llamas can easily handle all ages, and any size of crowd. More than just entertainment, we provide a unique interactive experience for your guests that most have never experienced before.”

While getting the life-changing (yes, we said life-changing!) experience to hang out with a llama may be enough to convince some couples to double-down on this wedding expense, we have a feeling the next little tidbit will thrill our do-good brides: ALL of the proceeds from these lovely llama events will go toward funding the organization’s Therapy and Education Program. Win, win, hooraaay!

See More: The 50 Most Beautiful Wedding Cakes Ever

But just as weddings can be unpredictable AF, these furry guys don’t necessarily come with a guaranteed presence on your big day. “To avoid undo stress for our animals, we may not be able to fill requests which would require us to travel during peak traffic times,” the website notes. “We also may have to cancel event appearances where there is the possibility of extreme heat, ice, or snow.” Spring wedding it is!

More From BRIDES:

How To Find The Perfect Wedding Dress For Your Body Type

The 61 Best Celebrity Engagement Rings

The 50 Best Places to Get Married in America

The 12 Top Spring Wedding Dress Trends from the Runway

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