[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.