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5 Secret Easy and Frisky Budget-Friendly Ideas for a Valentine's Day That Will Wow

Carol enjoys finding new ways to make life interesting while sticking to a modest budget. She also enjoys sharing tips and lessons learned.


It’s almost that time of the year again. We’re only just done with the holidays and BAM – along comes Valentine’s Day – the most romantic day of the year. And, we all know that it comes with a boatload full of expectations!

Valentine’s Day, the day you want to make special for your significant other. But, also the date that looms threateningly on the horizon, filling you feel a sense of dread. Not because you don’t want to celebrate with your love, but because you may not have the budget that’s needed in order to make it "the perfect Valentine’s Day".

It’s no secret that Valentine’s Day is one of the most commercial holidays of the year and that prices are yanked up unreasonably for the special day, so it’s understandable that if you’re on a tight budget this day can be super stressful. Add to that the stress of getting the right gift and making the perfect plans. These things can suck all the fun out of the romance.

But, don’t lose hope, there are plenty of things you can do, without breaking the bank, where you and your SO will have a wonderful and romantic Valentine’s Day.

The secret to a fabulous V-Day is to use these ideas and tips. If you do- you will enjoy the perfect Valentine’s Day!

This year, instead of putting all your money into making it a special day invest a lot of thought and effort. We all know that it’s the thought that counts, right?

Give a Romantic Valentine’s Day Experience

Lately, there’s been tons of research done on happiness and it’s taught us that people are happier when you give them an experience rather than a gift. The proof of this fact is obvious; after all, who doesn’t remember their first date or first kiss, or that amazing camping trip? And, when it comes to gifts, so many of us complain that we have too many things. We’re always looking for ways to cut back on the clutter and to regift our holiday presents. Yes, the marketers out there press our guilt buttons by telling us that if we don’t get our loved ones a dozen red roses/a huge box of chocolates/a diamond necklace,__________[fill in the blank], we just don’t care enough. But, we know better – you don’t have to spend a fortune to have the perfect Valentine’s Day!

Cook together

Cook together

The Way to a Person’s Heart Is Through Their Stomach

The old saying, “the way to a man's heart is through his stomach” works just the same for women. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to eat a delicious meal, especially when someone else has prepared it for you? So, eating a romantic meal together on Valentine’s Day is a must. But it’s not always easy to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant for Valentine’s Day, and often prices suddenly inflate for the big day. That’s why you should save this outing for another special occasion or you could even celebrate your own private “late Valentine’s Day”.

How to Enjoy an Affordable Special Valentine’s Day Meal

If you’re going to be celebrating after a long day at work, plan to have a meal delivered. This is less expensive than eating at a restaurant, and it can also be more fun if you plan ahead.

Do your homework, check out the menu and place the order in advance. Plan a romantic table, with place settings and candles. It’s so much more romantic when you aren’t sharing the room with dozens of other couples. You get to choose the ambiance and the playlist.

If you have the time, this could even be the perfect opportunity to impress your date with your great cooking skills. Plan a romantic homemade Valentine’s Day meal with all her favorite foods.

Quality time is a romantic gift

Quality time is a romantic gift

Free Valentine’s Day Outings

Just because you're going to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a frugal budget doesn’t necessarily mean it only has to be “Netflix and Chill” (unless of course, there's nothing you'd rather do than watch reruns of FRIENDS and chill). If you want to do something different or special there are plenty of free activities to choose from:

  • Play a board game together.
  • Go for a walk together, explore your neighborhood or city.
  • Visit a book store or an art gallery.
  • Dust off your bikes or your rollerblades and go for a ride.
  • Volunteer together for a couple of hours.
  • Check your city’s website to see if there are any free events going on.
  • Use the special day to join your partner in one of their hobbies that they have been trying to involve you in for a while (think – fishing, art class, wall climbing).
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Write a letter to your love

Write a letter to your love

Free Valentine’s Day Gifts

Time is money, but using your time to make a special gift will be greatly appreciated. In fact is might be the most romantic part of the day. Here are a few ideas for free (or mostly free) but very valuable Valentine’s Day gifts:

Write him a love letter. Not an email. Not a text. A real, pen and paper, page-long love letter, reminding him of all the things you cherish about him.

Make a playlist of your songs. Then dance to it in your living room.

Start planning out your next vacation. Deciding on the venue and planning the trip is sometimes as much fun as the vacation itself. These is no better time to spend fantasizing about swimming on a tropical beach (and, while you’re staying in to do this you’re saving money you can put toward your holiday).

A special massage can be the perfect ending to your inexpensive and romantic Valentine’s Day.

Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Gifts

Although we’ve been programmed to believe it – giving an inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift is not being cheap!

Giving our loved ones a gift of something they need is much more valuable than giving them a gift just to give them a gift.

So, during the period leading up to Valentine’s Day pay attention to the little things your partner might mention that he needs. Then, buy or make them for him. It could be a small thing like a new keychain or even a new wooden spoon or something similar. You can easily upgrade your gift by personalizing it for him, turning your "cheap gift" into a priceless treasure. A keychain with a small flash drive on it, because you know he is always misplacing his, his own personalized wooden spoon or mug. Get creative, it will be appreciated.

His and hers t-shirts make the perfect inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift. They are easy to make if you’re into DIY, or you can design them and have them made for you online.

Virtual Valentine’s Day Gifts

If you want to keep up some of the traditional Valentine’s Day themes but don’t have the budget for a dozen red roses, which tend to get pretty pricy around February 14th every year, why not go virtual? Surprise her by sending a virtual presentation of a dozen red roses (or whatever other flowers you think she’ll like). Get creative, make a slide for each flower with a romantic memory or quote, and a slide for the whole bunch. She’ll love getting Valentine’s flowers that she can keep forever.

Make a virtual souvenir of your special moments. Use all the photos you have on your phone and computer to make a special clip – a visual memento of your time together. You can set it to romantic music and watch your special video together after your romantic Valentine’s Day meal.

Send him a virtual Valentine’s card. There are plenty of sites where you can find virtual Valentine’s cards for all tastes.

Get a virtual gift – you are spoiled for choices, nothing is easier and quicker than buying an e-gift. Has he mentioned an app that he’s interested in? Or an online game? Perhaps he has a favorite charity that you can make a small donation to in his name?

plan your special Valentine's Day

plan your special Valentine's Day

Plan Ahead to Enjoy Your Valentine’s Day

With a little bit of planning your low budget Valentine’s Day can be your best ever. Get gifts that you know are needed and will be appreciated, and save your significant other from the awkwardness of opening a gift that they really don’t like, want or need. Enjoy some romantic private time together doing something different and fun and that won’t break the bank.

I’d love to hear how you plan to spend your frugal Valentine’s Day, please leave your ideas in the comments.

© 2018 Carol Morris

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