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10 Ideas for a Frugal Valentine’s Day

by Jason on February 10, 2010

February 14 approaches quite quickly on the heels of the Christmas and New Year spending sprees and as such you may be dreading the approach of Valentine’s Day this year because you are still struggling with credit card debt, or trying hard to stick to a New Year’s savings plan.

Instead of splurging on your beloved this Valentine’s Day and forgetting all of your financially responsible New Year’s resolutions, check out these 10 tips for an inexpensive, romantic Valentine’s Day:

1 Have dinner at home

Every couple seems to go out on Valentine’s Day.  Instead of sharing a crowded restaurant with hundreds of other couples, all trying to outdo each other, save the cost of the meal and drinks and dine at home. It is easy to create a romantic atmosphere at home with a nice tablecloth, the good dinner set and a few candles. Plus you can still get dressed up for dinner, but enjoy the much more romantic and private atmosphere of your own home.

To make the entire day romantic, share the meal preparation duties too. Spending time together in the kitchen won’t cost you a thing, but makes for quality time, and a romantic meal that’s a team effort.

2 Have an affordable night out

If you still want to get out of the house, but want to avoid the restaurant meal, capture the romance and excitement of a Valentine’s Day date night with just one portion of the evening. To save you money on the full cost of a night out on Valentine’s Day, go out for coffee or dessert and enjoy an affordable night out.

3 Celebrate on a different day

Romance on Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be in the traditional activities of candle-lit dinners and the like; and it doesn’t always have to be on Valentine’s Day either. Since February 14 falls on a Sunday this year, take the Friday or the Monday off and spend the day together. There will be fewer people around, and a simple walk on the beach, a trip to the movies, a picnic or a hike can make for a romantic day because you’re celebrating with just each other, in your own way.

side note from Jason: This is much harder to do in winter landscapes, but you can go ice skating or sledding!

4 Give thoughtful gifts

There are a number of alternatives to expensive flower displays and chocolates which become over priced at this time of year. Think of something which your partner will actually want – it might even be cheaper than flowers and chocolates and will be much more appreciated.

Show your love at home and bake heart shaped cookies or muffins for your partner. Or if your loved one is heading off to work this Valentine’s Day, cut their sandwich into a heart shape as a special surprise.

Offering yourself as a gift is an old favourite, but a book of vouchers can make a thoughtful and affordable Valentine’s gift. Make up vouchers for cooking a special meal, cleaning the house, giving a massage or seeing a movie of your partner’s choice. You know your loved on the best, so give them what they really want.

A mix tape may sound old fashioned but the sentiment is still sound, even though tapes may not be. Make a list of the songs which you and your loved have shared, or songs which make you think of them. You can then burn the songs to a CD and put it into your partner’s car CD player as a special surprise, or download them to your partner’s MP3 player with a short recorded message from you.

However you choose to give your mix tape, just because the tapes have gone out of style, the thought, love (and affordability) hasn’t.

5 Not just roses

Roses are one of the most expensive flowers available, especially on Valentine’s Day. Therefore, look at alternative flowers which are likely to be cheaper, and try and choose your partner’s favorite flower. Does she prefer daisies, lilies or gerberas? All of these are much more affordable than a dozen roses so you can save your flower budget, or spend the same amount of money for a much more impressive display.

You could also buy just the flowers from your florist, rather than the expensive boxed displays. You can then buy an affordable vase and put your bunch of flowers in the vase for a beautiful Valentine’s gift, and a vase which your partner can keep for when you buy her flowers next time.

6 Leave romantic notes

You don’t have to get just one Valentine’s card for your partner this year. Instead, make a gift out of a number of cards with special messages hidden all around your home, their car and even their office if you can arrange it. Make some cards and notes easy to find and others a little harder so that this can be a gift which keeps on giving.

7 Write down how you feel

You can write a poem for your loved one, but it doesn’t have to rhyme and it doesn’t have to be filled with soppy romantic clichés.

Instead, write down how you feel about your partner, mention important memories or special times you’ve spent together. You can then copy it into a blank Valentine’s Day card if you feel self conscious about giving a poem as a gift, and the card is something which can be kept and displayed for years to come.

8 Do something your loved one wants to do

Every couple has those things one person wants to do, but doesn’t interest the other. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to do those things your partner wants to do, but which you normally say no to. For example, she always wants to go to the beach, he wants to go to a baseball game; she wants to go for a walk, he wants to see the new 3D movie.

Valentine’s Day gives you the opportunity to do these things together, and while the actual acts may not be romantic, it is the fact that you want to do something which will make your partner happy.

9 Make a love scrapbook

Valentine’s Day is all about showing your love, and everyone wants to feel loved, special and admired. Therefore, fill an entire scrapbook with everything you love about your partner. Dedicate an entire page to each memory or attribute which you love about your partner and accompany it with cut outs, photos or memories like ticket stubs or restaurant menus which are meaningful to the two of you.

You can then fill pages with contributions from your partner’s friends and family, about why they love and admire your partner. They can contribute their own photos and write out their own memories to make a special lasting display, and make your partner feel like a prince or princess whenever they look at their love scrapbook.

10 Save for next year

Giving a meaningful and thoughtful (and frugally affordable) gift this year may set the bar quite high for Valentine’s Day next year. Therefore, you may want to accompany your thoughtful gifts with a stunning present too, so start saving up now. You may be able to cut back on a coffee on the way to work each day or eat less take out.

Or, saving for your Valentine may be as simple as starting a savings account dedicated to February 14 next year, and contributing regularly. Plus, if you plan your purchase for next Valentine’s Day you’ll know exactly how much you need to save, and your gift is sure to be meaningful and well thought out.

Having debt in a relationship is a sure-fire way to add stress and tension and that is the last thing you want to do on Valentine’s Day. Instead, agree with your partner to have a frugal Valentine’s this year and put some thought into being thoughtful without over spending.

This has been a guest post by Fred from Credit Card Finder.  Fred  helps people to compare credit cards and find the best credit card for their needs.

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