The Super Bowl is this weekend and that means… time to plan for Valentine’s Day. Sorry if I’m being a Debbie Downer to all the football fans out there. I’m a big football fan and, as a New Englander, a huge Tom Brady fan. Still, it’s a good idea to connect the two events, because there’s little more than a week before Valentine’s Day. With coronavirus, shipping times can be undependable.
One reason to act now is that prices are as low as they are going to get. Trying to get flowers at the last minute? Good luck with that. Also, the earlier you act, the more options you’ll have to pick something that will save you money.*
I’m fortunate in that my wife doesn’t seem to care too much about spending money on Valentine’s Day. It could be nearly 15 years of marriage and a focus in raising kids and getting her retired early. Still, she does like nice things. Due to COVID, we’ve saved a lot of money by not traveling and eating out (as much), so this is a good time for us personally to spend a little more than we normally would.
With that in mind, here are a bunch of tips to save money on Valentine’s Day.
Save Money on Valentine’s Day
- Write a Love Note – This was suggested in the past by a couple of people. I did that several years ago. 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, right?
- Create a Treasure Hunt – You can create a treasure hunt around the neighborhood. This can work well in COVID as long as it doesn’t depend on people.
- Celebrate a Different Day – You can always agree to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 15th. It makes sense because the date itself doesn’t seem to represent anything special. Back when we could out, we would often go out the weekend before. We can get into the premium places without paying a special markup. It’s also a lot less crowded. For Valentine’s Day itself, we do something small like takeout.
- Give a Coupon Book – Make a book of coupons of favors that you’ll do. This could range from chores to massages. (Bonus Tip) You might want to start with doing a few chores right away. Studies show that women like men who do housework.
Did we really need to commission a study to know this? Personally, I’ve known this for some time. The smell of bleach equals “cleaning” to my wife… and “cleaning” equals sexy. You may think I’m crazy, but when I invent bleach-scented cologne and make millions, I’ll be the one laughing to the bank.
- Go For a Picnic – It’s too cold for us in Rhode Island to go on a picnic, but in warmer climates, it may be possible. 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.
- Fixed Price Activities – Museums and other admission-based venues are typically the same price any time of year.
- Tour the Romantic Places of the Past – Relive a first date, first kiss, or other milestone.
- Exchange Small Practical Gifts – My wife and I usually keep our Amazon wishlists current. We usually exchange one or two things that extremely unromantic, but practical. One year my wife had dish soap that was a scent she really enjoyed. Another year, I had new dish towels on my list. Nothing says romance like clean dishes?
- Have an unValentine’s Day – There are a lot single folk out there. Put on a bad, unromantic movie and eat fast food.
Valentine’s Day Savings at Home
This year, more than any other, it’s best to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home. This can be difficult because you have to make it special. In general, your home is boring, ordinary, and doesn’t scream “This is a special event!” This approach has big risk and big rewards… you are already that much closer to the bedroom…
- Breakfast in Bed – …or in this case, in the bedroom. Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year. It’s the perfect opportunity to get up a little early and make breakfast in bed for your significant other.
- Cook a Special Dinner – Cooking a special dinner at home is an easy win. At this point in the pandemic, we’re all 5-star Michelin chefs, right? I suggest a great steak or shrimp scampi. I’ve recently started to spend more on a great steak than I have in the past. I can usually find a good deal at my local grocery store for around $6 a pound. Steak and wine are a lot cheaper at home.
As for the scampi, you can find heart-shaped pasta online or at most grocery stores. For the past few years, my wife has been working from home on Valentine’s Day, so I’ve used this to make lunch break a special Valentine’s Day treat.
- Cue up a Movie – This is a refreshed article from a several years ago. Back then you’d have to plan to rent a DVD in advance. Now, with Netflix and Chill, you can cut a couple of corners. The downside is that, without putting the effort into planning it in advance, movie night doesn’t seem very special.
- Cue up the Music and Cut a Rug – I’m not big into dancing, but maybe you are? Maybe you can learn some ballroom moves on YouTube. Finding the right music nowadays is easy… every music should have a romantic playlist you call up on demand.
- Massage Oils – Looking for something after dinner? Just don’t get scammed into buying super expensive DoTerra essential oils.
Most Valentine’s Day my wife and I have a great dinner at our local military base. For $75 (including a bottle of wine), you get a meal that would be $200 elsewhere. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to continue that tradition this year.
* Don’t give me guff about how Valentine’s Day isn’t about saving money :). While that may be true, the title of “Save Money on Valentine’s Day” should have warned you what this article was about. There’s nothing wrong with maximizing the value your dollar.