It Took $15 to Fall in Love

$15 Love Story

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Having a one-month-old (can you believe it’s already been a month?!) has me kind of sidetracked this year, and I haven’t even given the holiday a second thought until now. But thinking about Valentine’s Day and love and Johnny has me remembering when Johnny and I very first met. Those first several dates laid the groundwork for our relationship.

And let me tell ya, those dates involved very little money. Barely any, in fact. It all began on a Saturday…


We Meet: $1
Johnny and I met at a theater… a dollar theater. I was on a date… with Johnny’s roommate, if you could even call it a date. It ended up being me and three guys at a movie, and Johnny was one of them. I’d seen Johnny before (we lived in the same apartment building), but we’d never met before that night. Johnny sat to the left of me during the movie, and I liked the smell of his cologne. On the drive home, Johnny hitched a ride with his roommate and he and I chatted it up. This blonde, curly-haired boy had me intrigued.


Second Encounter: $4
I invited Johnny and his roommates over to my apartment for ice cream and truth-or-dare Jenga. We talked afterward and exchanged numbers.


Texting: $0
Johnny texted me (a new, cool technology!) some clever quip about a test we were both studying for.


First Date: $6
Johnny invited me to take a study break and go get shakes at a diner down the street from where we lived. He was very adamant about paying for me, which I saw as a good sign and considered it our first date.


Second Date: $4
I invited Johnny to take a study break, so we went and got drinks at 7-Eleven. We sat in his truck for 3 hours and just talked about everything. It was our first time having a deep, meaningful conversation. We talked about our families, what had most affected us in life and made us who we are today.


Study Date: $0
We met up and studied for a couple hours. Johnny asked me out on an official date for Saturday night. Boom!


Group Hang Out: $0
I hung out with Johnny and his two roommates. I realized that night that I might really like Johnny. And I got home that night convinced that he only saw me as a friend. But before I fell asleep, I got a text from him asking if I wanted to study with him at the library the next morning. He was thinking about me! (I think you know what my response was!)

Saturday Morning

Study Date: $0
We studied at the library for a few hours. I’m pretty sure that was the most ineffective study session I’ve ever had. I was so distracted and giddy with the boy sitting across from me that I couldn’t concentrate at all.

Saturday Night

First Official Date: $0
We gathered blankets and pillows and drove up to a dark, vacant parking lot near the top of Sundance resort. Johnny kept promising me he wasn’t some creepy dude. He was in an astronomy class and had invited me to go look at the stars with him for an assignment. We laid in the back of his truck and listened to Death Cab for Cutie while we counted shooting stars. It was cold, which was the perfect excuse to get nice and cozy. Johnny’s sister called while we were up there and asked if we were cuddling (*cue nervous laughter*).

And after that date, and just a week after meeting him, it was official: I was falling for Johnny.

Money it took to fall in love: $15

So if you’re thinking about spending a ton on your significant other this Valentine’s Day, DO IT! He/She is probably worth it. But just remember that it isn’t necessary.

How much money did it take for you to fall in love? And, no, we’re not soliciting mail-order brides (but we’re dying to hear that story if you’ve got it!). So let’s hear your stories!

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  • Reply Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies February 8, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Aww, too cute. I would say that it cost Mr. PoP and I pretty much nothing to fall in love, too, since we lived just a few doors down from one another in the dorm and had classes together freshman year. But Mr. PoP thinks it was pretty expensive to woo me since we didn’t actually get together until we both took time away from campus (me studying abroad, him traveling for a year) and realized how much we missed one another when we didn’t see each other all the time.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 10:28 am

      Living away from each other is a great way to figure out, “Wait, I really miss him/her!!” A year of traveling to figure out you two were meant to be? Totally worth it!

  • Reply Michelle February 8, 2013 at 8:21 am

    AWww this is so cute! It didn’t take much for us either, we were freshly 17 and poor 🙂

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 10:31 am

      Wow! I thought Johnny and I were young when we met! But you two obviously knew what you wanted even back then since there’s a wedding in your near future! 🙂

  • Reply Emily @ evolvingPF February 8, 2013 at 8:39 am

    College dating can be very inexpensive! The first few times we hung out together were a game night with friends ($0), playing ping pong in the activity center ($0), a meal in the dining hall ($0 to us), watching Firefly on DVD ($0), and a real date out at CPK ($30?). Kyle also bought me two dozen roses for Valentine’s Day when we were dating-but-not-yet-official. Over the full 7 months it took us to get to “I love you” it probably only added up to one or two hundred bucks! What else can you do when you barely have any income?

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Seriously! It’s incredible to look back and see how creative we got with entertaining ourselves when we were college students. It sounds like you two were just like us when it came to falling in love on the cheap! 🙂

  • Reply Ashley February 8, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Our love story involves many rendezvous in college in the School of Music talking, flirting and laughing (cost: $0). He was a Music Ed major and I was a work study student in charge of checking students into and out of practice rooms. The first date involved watching the sunset on the longest day of the year back in 2006 (cost: $0) followed by two slices of pizza (cost: $7).

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Sounds like a picture perfect love story. And that’s my kind of first date, Ashley!… it’s always the simple ones that are the most romantic and, really, the most memorable!

  • Reply Shellie February 8, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Well, the first few times the Mr and I met were at group hangouts like you, so no money there. The biggie for me was actually something I found out later, if that makes sense. The first time we went to pick up food together it was a take-n-bake pizza. I asked what kind he wanted, he said anything is fine. I said OK, chicken and mushroom sound good? He said sure. I later found out that he hates, hates, hates mushrooms but said yes because its what I wanted. It made me feel so special and like he really wanted me happy 🙂 (I now use that against him when he whines about me putting mushrooms into things I cook, lol)

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Haha, what a cute story, Shellie! It’s so funny the things we’ll do for someone we really like when we’re dating… way to go for holding your Mr. to it after you got married! 😉

  • Reply John S @ Frugal Rules February 8, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Nice story! Ours was on the other end of the extreme as my wife and I dated long distance. Thankfully it only lasted for four months, because it did not take me long to realize that she was the one for me. 🙂

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Long distance is tough! But it definitely gets you to realize how much you enjoy being with that person. 🙂

  • Reply Daisy @ Add Vodka February 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

    This is an awesome post! J and I spent very little when we first dated, because we lived in a hot and sunny area and we met in the summer so we spent a lot of time at the beach and going for drives. It was fun!

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      A free date at the beach? That sounds so nice right about now. Everything is just better with the sun and sand!

  • Reply Budget and the Beach February 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Aw, such a cute story!!

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks! It’s fun to look back on those days!

  • Reply Rob February 8, 2013 at 11:33 am

    “How much money did it take for you to fall in love?”

    Sure guys, like you expect this dude to know what he spent on his lady 45+ years ago? 🙂
    We met, through mutual friends, on the last weekend of EXPO 67 (talk about fate, eh?)

    Our first date was the following Saturday night when I took her to a move –
    “To Sir with Love”, whose title song was sung by Lulu

    The rest is history … 🙂

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      You remember the important details, Rob, which is very preferable to our generation! Our poor children will have access to way too many details of our younger days thanks to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc…. and for the most part, I don’t know if that’s a good thing!! 😉

      And there aren’t many people who have been with someone for 45 years… yours is a true love story. <3

  • Reply debtperception February 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

    What a sweet story! My husband and I met on a free dating website. We really fell in love over $0.44 letters we exchanged while he was in boot camp.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      That’s awesome! I love finding out that a couple met online… you hear about it, but I’ve only met a couple people who have actually met that way. I’ve always thought it’s a really cool way to meet!

      And writing letters is a lost art. You can get to know someone on such a deep level that way. 🙂

  • Reply Brad @ MrWriteAway February 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    It’s always interesting hearing how other couples met and fell in love. I met my wife in high school so it was virtually free for us to fall for one another… We were broke teenagers. I’m actually posting the story of how we met next Wednesday.

    • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Oh, can’t wait to read it! It’s incredible when people are high school sweethearts… truly meant to be.

  • Reply Joanna February 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    That’s a story in and of itself… BUT by the time Johnny and I were official, his roommate had a girlfriend, too, so it was a win-win. 🙂

  • Reply Newlyweds ona Budget February 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    As I was reading this, I started reminiscing about how my husband and I met (through my blog!) and how giddy we were (still are, sometimes 😛 )
    And of course, he texted me while I was reading this! He must have known I was thinking about him. Thank you for the trip down memory lane.

    • Reply Joanna February 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      What a cool way to meet! I would love to know more about that story sometime. Enjoy V-Day with your guy this week!

  • Reply Shannon-ReadyForZero February 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    That is a great story. You guys are adorable :).

    • Reply Joanna February 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks, Shannon! It’s a good thing you don’t see us at 3:00 a.m. when our baby girl won’t go back to sleep! 😉

  • Reply Laurie February 9, 2013 at 8:30 am

    What a great story! Rick and I were kind of like that too – meeting unexpectedly and then talking for hours and learning “Hey, I really like you”. We were married 8 months later. Thanks for sharing a wonderful and heart-melting story. 🙂

    • Reply Joanna February 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks, Laurie. With some people it just clicks, and it sounds like that’s how it was for you and Rick as well. You guys were obviously meant to be!

  • Reply Sarah February 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Love your story!! So sweet 🙂
    It cost my husband rent–we’ met through mutual friends and when he learned I was a leasing agent at an apartment community he realized just happened to need a new apartment…unfortunately for him it was a luxury apartment, and rent wasn’t cheap! I got him a unit in a great location though…you know, just in case things happened to work out with this guy 😉

    • Reply Joanna February 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks, Sarah! That luxury rent may have seemed like a lot at the time, but you can’t put a price tag on a chance at true love, amiright?! And things obviously worked out, so it was totally worth it!! 🙂

  • Reply Courtney April 29, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Sooo cute! You both look so young and different in the photo. Crazy how time flies. It cost my husband and I 10 postage stamps, a bus ticket, and a weeklong bicycle trip across New England to fall in love!

  • Reply Cilhouette August 10, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Such a cute story!

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