This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

Love is in the air at this time of year, and the Internet is full of tips and tricks for how to celebrate Valentine’s Day on every end of the spending spectrum. All price points are represented, from customized jewelry to those with something a little more affordable in mind for Valentine’s Day.

In past years, we’ve asked people to share their Valentine’s Day plans, but this year I thought it would be fun to take a little trip down memory lane. What do we remember, and does what we remember the most equate with how much money was spent?

Jake and I tried to remember all our Valentine’s Days together (we’ve had nine of them now!) the other night, and our memories of where we’d eaten when were laughably inaccurate. I’ve since reconstructed all our Valentine’s Days for fun. While we’ve gone out to dinner every year but one, the year we stayed in is the year I remember most vividly. (Note: The year I remember most vividly is also last year, so take my inability to remember the dinners out with a grain of salt!)

In 2014, we were stashing as much money as we could because we were saving up to buy our house. Jake had also just started a new job, we didn’t have the time or money for big plans. We’d gotten a pizza peel for Christmas and instead stayed in to cook our own dinner. Sadly, we did not use enough corn meal and the pizza clung to the peel, in Jake’s words “like a drowning man clinging to a life preserver.”

We tried everything to get it off and nothing worked, so we ended up dumping the whole thing in the trash (well, we kept the peel!) and getting cheap take-out. Instead of buying each other gifts, we sponsored adoptable pets in each other’s names from Best Friends Animal Society, the organization that rescued the cat we didn’t keep.

From my pre-Jake days, I remember two Valentine’s Days vividly. The first is the time a college boyfriend bought me a dozen roses, but gave them to me after I got to campus so I’d have to carry them around all day. It seemed like he did that so he could vicariously live through the compliments I got all day. It felt like he got me the roses more for his sake than my own, which actually just irritated me. I stabbed myself with thorns repeatedly while trying to juggle my backpack, purse and those roses. Then by the time I got home, they’d been out of water for hours and were totally wilted. Womp-womp.

The second Valentine’s Day that sticks out in my mind is from high school. When I was in high school, personal computers were just becoming affordable and common. My high school sweetheart had just gotten one, and he printed me a bunch of stills from the movie “Romeo + Juliet”, which we’d gone to see on one of our first dates. I taped them up in my locker. #younglove

So my most memorable Valentine’s Days were also the least fancy or expensive. Coincidence? You tell me! Of all the Valentine’s Days that you have celebrated (whether with your current sweetie or in the past), which of them sticks out in your mind the most?

Is there any correlation between the amount of money spent on an occasion and the strength of your memory of that occasion? Or like me, do you find that your best memories involve the simple things, like cooking mishaps and the miracle of inkjet printers? Happy Valentine’s Day, Everybody!

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