5 Romantic Yet Money-Saving Ideas For Valentine’s Day

I’m no Casanova by any stretch of the imagination, but I have managed to navigate and survive my share of Valentine’s Days so far. Some were extravagant, some were very simple, but they were all great. Here are five tips from my own experiences, with the primary goal being to improve the experience and any money saved money merely a happy side effect.

image credit: rockybaylodge.com1. Food cooked for you by your Valentine is always better than from any restaurant. When someone takes the time and effort to cook you a meal from scratch, how can it not be great? There’s no need to achieve culinary perfection here; Some simple and successful recipes I’ve tried include this pasta with vodka cream sauce, or perhaps grilling up some salmon and asparagus. You can even add a great wine and candles for less than the tip would be at a nice restaurant.

image credit: Foodnetwork.com2. The same goes for Valentine’s candy. A $20 box of Russell Stover’s? Yawn. Try dipping your own chocolate-covered strawberries, it’s easy. Rice Krispie treats shaped into hearts. Cookies. If it’s chilly out, I highly recommend making your own hot chocolate. The possibilities are endless. For an added touch, make it together.

image credit: me!3. Movies are a horrible date activity. I love movies, but let’s see, you sit the dark and never look at each other for 2 hours. How is that romantic? Take the afternoon off and go hiking somewhere. Take a walk in the park or along the waterfront. Find a bar or restaurant with a view, and just go for a drink while watching the sunset. All these ideas will cost less than two movie tickets, and you’ll actually be able to talk to each other.

image credit: Proflowers.com4. Flowers are always better on any day besides February 14th, yet this is when they are the most expensive. I’ve spent a great deal on flowers in my life. I can’t argue against getting them – the gesture is always a nice one. Try to go locally if you do. But if you’re in a relationship, realize that a surprise bouquet on any other random day will be much more memorable, not to mention cheaper.

image credit: me!5. Always make your own Valentine’s Day cards. This is not a time for Hallmark. Instead, buy some red construction paper and make a list of what you love/like about your Valentine. If you are feeling outgoing, make a HUGE one out of red posterboard. I’m talking 2 feet by 2 feet. This is especially fun if you are picking up your special someone from the airport ;)

Feel free to share your V-day thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. Oooh! Really great ideas. We always end up with store bought chocolates though. It’s time for a change. But old habits die hard.

  2. have a picnic..even if you’re a new yorker in 8 feet of snow. I’m down on flowers. when i first met my wife, i gave her white daisies which are death flowers in chinese custom.

  3. You can make your own chocolate truffles. It’s not all that difficult, though it takes some time.

  4. Two comments:

    1.) Eating in is great– as long as it’s not the partner who typically cooks who prepares the meal. I prepare 99.5 % of our meals. I’ve done fancy homecooked Valentine’s meals in the past, but his year I’m requesting a break!

    2.) If you aren’t up for making your own chocolates and have an Aldi nearby, they carry delicious German chocolates far tastier (and cheaper) than any Whitman Sampler! Granted, they’re not Valentine themed, but you could individually wrap the bars in red or pink tissue paper. That’s what I’m doing for my S.O. this year.

  5. The first year my boyfriend and I went to a pasta restaurant which did not have a Valentine’s Day menu except handing out a rose to each female guest – we weren’t even plan to be there except we were hungry at the time. My gift was a big bag of Nestle cocoa that was meant for the hot cocoa dispenser with a card. I was kind of disappointed. The second year I was without a job, so I offered to make a meal at home. It worked out better, but I am not cooking this year!

  6. This is an extension to the chocolate dipped strawberries. Stop by a local florist and pick up some flower stems (typically they will give them away for free) and put the strawberries on the ends. Instant chocolate covered strawberry roses.

  7. Not having a significant other this Valentine’s Day will save me a bundle…not that I’d recommend solitude as a money-saving method! :-)

  8. begin the day with breakfast in bed. here’s something that’s done rarely and always appreciated. a single rose with champagne to start off the day, and a few strawberries to set the mood as well.

    in the morning, go to a beach, a mountain – some sort of activity that involves strolling & beautiful sights; for different women this may mean different things – shopping to some women may be beautiful. ;)

    for lunch, take her out to a cute and cozy deli, or, if she’s the type, a more impersonal and chic restaurant. prices for meals will be cheaper at lunch (obviously) than at dinner on valentine’s day.

    in the afternoon, plan a trip through romantic/sight-seeing spots in an area. this can take hours, and is incredibly sweet. read up on these spots through travel books – often there will be spots where a sunset might be breathtaking, or spots where the city lights are beautiful. they don’t have to be major sight-seeing spots, and usually turn out better if they are not well-known.

    end the night with an outdoor movie theater and picnic. bring blankets to cuddle up! end the night with your gift – buy the flowers, make the chocolates (whatever combination you decide on), but spruce them up *your* way. personal decorations to any generic gift always makes the gift more special.

  9. I love the idea about making your own cards. And eating at home.

    Though, my husband and i are movie junkies. So for us, watching a movie can be romantic for us.

    But instead of going out, we can stay in and watch a rented movie or a movie on TV.

  10. mmmm…. costco ready to cook portobello mushroom stuffed flank steak. Looks a lot fancier and tastes way better than it costs. It’s easy to make and impressed my beau. Plus, we have tons of leftovers.

  11. Whatever you do, don’t let your money woes keep you from doing something kind and loving for your sweetheart. Give him/her a little of your time. Plan a special picnic, MAKE her roses (remember kindergarten?) or simply enjoy a basic candlelit meal. If you want to get ahead with money, you’re going to have to get creative (as many of you have, as I’ve read on this site). Don’t lose a great opportunity for love and creativity on V-Day.

  12. Oh, man. I can’t believe you left off the most obvious romantic Valentine’s Day idea: http://www.whitecastle.com/ValentinesDay/

  13. Tonight we will be having heart shaped haddock. : ) Cutting through the skin to form the hearts was the tough part. In addition there will be pieces of shrimp facing one another to form hearts over the plate. This will be followed by strawberries and chocolate for dipping.

    The home made cards are a must! Looking in my drawer the only cards I’ve saved over the years include these…. As far as flowers go – there’s a picture of a rose on my card. : )

  14. I agree- dinner is only romantic if the partner who doesn’t usually cook cooks. Hubby is taking me out tonight so I don’t have to cook. That is gift enough.

  15. We both cook about the same, but most of the time it’s really basic stuff, so any “real” cooking is special :)

    I’m sad to say I’ve never been to White Castle!

  16. Yes, cooking = love. This is especially true when you’re a guy who doesn’t cook! I firmly believe that my 4 1/2 hour stint making lasagna from scratch and surprising my then gf propelled me into THE MAN in point 2 seconds.

    Another good idea is actually setting a limit (such as $20 or $25) and seeing who can get the other the most creative and/or romantic gift! Takes some good fenagling, but both your Valentine AND your pockets will appreciate it.

  17. I didn’t get flowers on Valentine’s Day. Oh well. But, you can find great deals the day after… I bought myself a gorgeous bouquet of a dozen long stem red roses for 9.99 at Costco!

    I’ll bet chocolates are discounted too. Check it out!

  18. All of these ideas are great for V-day. My Baby will still be in MP training (Military Police Training) therefore we’re moving V-day to the 20th this year. lol Her idea. But when she gets into town on the 20th I plan to first take her downtown, where the street lights are the only way to see her, there we will stop and get a coffee, setting the mood to just chat for a little while and enjoy the scenery and peaceful night. Then once we finish there, she likes Italian food so I plan to take her to an isolated Italian restaurant that people rarely know about. Once we are done eating, I plan to take her to a local lake dock seeing as the beach and mountains are quit a drive from where we live. But hopefully the moon will be full to provide the light for us and it won’t be raining, while at the lake I’ll have a select choice of music to be playing in the background. The night should go as planned and I’m praying that it will be a great V-day for her as well.

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