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Save Money on Valentine’s Day

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[You might have read this article in the past, but frugal Valentine's Days ideas are timeless. And one of my favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer quotes is, "You look timely." Use this as a reminder to act soon... prices will only go up.]

The Super Bowl in the rear view mirror (congrats to the Denver defense for overcoming terrible quarterback play all season long). Now it is time to look forward to the next big event on the calendar... Valentine's Day. With that in mind, here are a bunch a tips to save some dough. I'll confess... some are a little unconventional, but it's the thought that counts right?

  • Write a Love Note - This was suggested by a couple of people. I did that last year. I was reading a book on writing that mentioned the 10 most beautiful adjectives in the English language. I found a way to work them all in. I think it came out a little forced, but still worked. It's the thought that counts.
  • Surprise Him/Her - Writer's Coin comes up with probably the best tip I didn't think of. He mentioned a treasure hunt around the neighborhood which works well. He also mentioned a hot air balloon which doesn't really fall in our frugality goal (I've looked into them, not cheap).
  • Celebrate at Home - There were a few suggestions that could work together for a romantic time at home. My caveat with this is that you really have to make it special because the venue is simply ordinary. However, if you can pull it off this idea has big dividends as you are already near closed doors.
    • Breakfast in Bed - If Valentine's Day is on a weekend (unfortunately it isn't this year) this is a great possibility. I give a couple of bonus points, due to the location... can't get much better than bed.
    • Cook a Special Dinner - Erica and Fitwallet suggested that you cook at home. She suggested lobster, a great steak, or shrimp scampi. Richer and Slimmer suggested heart-shaped pasta. We've done the steak before for special dinners. In the past they were gifts from Omaha Steaks. We haven't done the seafood, because I'm not a fan. I'd rather take her out just to not have to deal with the kitchen smelling like seafood. Also, alcohol is much cheaper at home, so this can be a big savings.
    • Cue up a Movie - Kosmo suggests buying a cheap DVD or package of them as part of a Valentine's gift. Amanda mentioned that if you belong to Netflix, you could go that route.
    • Cue up Music and/or Cut a Rug - Fitwallet brought up the idea of dancing. I'm not big into dance, but I could probably brush off some ballroom tricks from classes a few years ago. Also, my cable television has all sorts of commercial-free romantic music. Momma suggested an iTunes playlist of meaningful songs to the two of you.
    • Massage Oils - Looking for something after dinner? Erica suggests breaking out the massage oils.
  • Do Some Chores - Penelope Pince mentioned it as a tip. I really thought this would have gotten forgotten as it's not typically thought of as romantic. However, I've personally found it to have its rewards. The smell of bleach equals clean to my wife... and clean equals sexy. When I invent bleach-scented cologne and make millions that last sentence won't sound so weird. This wouldn't be the only Valentine's gift, but it would be work well in combination with the Celebrate at Home package previously mentioned.
  • Go For a Picnic - Someone (didn't leave a name) mentioned this idea for those in warmer climates. Sandwiches, good scenery, and a bottle of wine (which may or may not be legal in your area) all add up to a good time.
  • Do Fixed Price Activities - Fitwallet also mentioned that museums are typically the same price any time of year. Thai or Indian food could work as well.
  • Tour the Romantic Places of the Past - Penelope Pince mentioned you can go to where you had a first date or first kissed or other milestone.
  • Rent a Hot Tub - Erica gave this suggestion which I hadn't thought of. I don't know how I forgot renting a hot tub as part of my secret Elimidate fantasies. Too much information?
  • Plant a Rose Bush - I'm a little surprised that this would get a great reaction, but Marie said it was one of her favorite gifts.
  • Celebrate a Different Day - Abigail suggested that we celebrate Valentine's Day on the 15th. It makes sense because the date itself doesn't seem to represent anything special. My wife and I often go out the weekend or two before. For instance we are going out this Friday. It's not as crowded and we get into the places that we want to without paying any special markups. For Valentine's Day itself, we typically do something small like takeout, except for when there's a great deal as I mention at the end.
  • Exchange Small Practical Gifts - Marie noted that her husband likes to grill and would appreciate silicon brushes for sauces. I would love this gift if I didn't already have a couple of silicon brushes. I like them quite a bit for grilling.
  • Have an unValentine's Day - One of my favorite trips also comes from Abigail. She mentioned this for the single folk out there. Rent some bad unromantic movies and eat fast food.

This Valentine's Day, my wife and I are having a nice dinner at our local military base. It's not super-frugal, but they go all out which is a great value for $75 (including a bottle wine.)

Looking for more ideas? My other blog, Be Better Now has it's own article on how to Save Money on Valentine’s Day. Admittedly, there's a a good deal of overlap.

Posted on February 8, 2016.

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23 Responses to “Save Money on Valentine’s Day”

  1. Abigail says:

    I went ahead and linked to the contest and reminded my readers to get entered… Or to just steal some of these fabulous ideas to dazzle a loved one. Then take all the credit!

  2. Lazy Man says:

    Hey it’s 2000 pennies in one swoop. :-)

  3. As a writer, I should’ve come up with the love note bit. Oh well, thanks for the mention!

    And balloon rides are not only expensive, they’re impossible to plan since conditions need to be perfect. We waited a year to finally go!

  4. Pev says:

    I’ve never been to Cambria but I’ve been lots of nice, beautiful pictures. Have fun on your trip! And thanks for the advices.

  5. Nice post
    Everyone can save money in small and seemingly insignificant areas if you know how and where to do it.
    These are all great ideas
    Great tips! I’ll be coming back to learn more about saving money!

  6. Studenomics says:

    Rent a hot tub? I wish I love those things. Go for a picnic? Maybe in California for you Lazy Man but for people in Canada I would suggest going skating. This year I am taking the girlfriend out to a comedy club and then coming back to my place.

  7. Tim says:

    We saved money on Valentine’s by not celebrating it–that is, until my wife emailed me and said I bought “I love me gifts” for $162.73. I guess I can forgive her for being a foreigner and mixing up Valentine’s is for “I love you” and not “I love me”.

  8. Blake says:

    @ Tim,
    haha that’s hilarious!

    I’m actually going to be spending my v-day at home rather than here at school, working and then doing laundry! woo-hoo! :D

  9. Keira says:

    what are the 10 most beautiful adjectives?

  10. Lazy Man says:

    It turns out they weren’t all adjectives… You made me go back and look at my notes from the book I was reading a year ago, but here you go:

    tranquil, murmuring, mist, melody, luminous, lullaby, lush, golden, dawn, chimes

    The source is:
    Complete Idiot’s Guide To Writing Well by Laurie Rozakis

    I’m not sure how definitive it is, but they seemed like nice enough words at the time… You can probably see how a few of them can fit together to make a nice poem.

  11. Your link to me is dead, since it’s going back to the blogger address :)


    I went the movie route again as part of the gift. There are some insane deals – 4 packs of GOOD movies for $10.

  12. Brendan says:

    My idea is to give her little reminders of all the fun you’ve had in the last year (or whatever timeframe you choose) by sharing little mementos of your time together.

    For example, I might fill a photo frame with pictures from good times we’ve had recently or I might remind her of a fun vacation we took by making a meal that we enjoyed together there.

    The thing I think is cool is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make Valentine’s Day meaningful to her.

  13. Pam says:

    Valentine’s Day really is all about showing how much you care about your better half. There are so many neat ways to celebrate – and it’s nice to have an excuse to do something special. Thanks for sharing the tips you gathered from your faithful readers.

  14. Christy says:

    One year, I bought white-foiled baloons and drew/wrote/put stickers on them with a permanent marker :)

    As for what to do, a random date at a park acting like kids again with a picnic of sandwiches and hot chocolate :) Then cuddle up in a blanket and watch the clouds/stars on a hill in the park. Perfect.

  15. My BF and I decided about 5 years ago to not do the whole valentines day thing. The most that we will do is make a decent home cooked meal. Then what I like to do is raid the drug stores for 50% to 75% off on the candy. :)

  16. Sharla says:

    The person who noted Valentines Day is on a Saturday this year is wrong. It is on Thursday. You could still celebrate on Saturday, though.

  17. My idea of saving money in valentine day is simple. First thing in the morning i am planning to give flower to my fiancee then a romantic movie in the evening, which is followed by a candle light dinner at home.

  18. warren says:

    Sharla, you’re wrong also. Valentine’s Day this year, 2014 is on FRIDAY.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Sorry Warren, but this article has been republished a few times over the years, so everyone was actually correct about the Valentine’s Day for the year it was mentioned.

  19. MJS says:

    I was going to do the Shari’s Berries until I realized it was like 20 bucks for 6. I don’t know if I call that frugal. Bought Baker’s chocolate and strawberries and made my own for like 8 bucks. She loved them and appreciated the surprise (did it after she was asleep and put the strawberries and card in the fridge).

  20. OOOHH! Valentine’s day the day of love. Nice post I do believe money should be saved at every instance possible but as someone once said “you can never put a price on love” It is my believe that love can be expressed in all manner of ways from less costly ways to extravagant acts of love if one can afford to my only issue is what is considered being cheap and what is not? Thanks for the article it has some great ideas.

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