I’m not a Valentine’s Day scrooge. I have celebrated the day with great fanfare in the past – usually early in a relationship. Now that I’ve been with my husband for nine years, the day is becoming less important to me. Also, I don’t find being surrounded by hordes celebrating enforced romance the least bit romantic.

I also recognize that most of the Valentine’s Day pressure is a result of women’s expectations. If men had their druthers, the day would vanish. I see their point. We women have been trained to expect diamonds, roses, and lavish dinners on February 14. That can get quite pricey for men.

Five Inexpensive Valentine’s Day Ideas
Here are a few simple ideas to make Valentine’s Day cheaper and yet still enjoyable.

Change the date: This year it falls on a Thursday. Who wants to rush out to dinner on a Thursday? Instead, go out on Friday or Saturday this year. Not only will the restaurant be less crowded, you’ll probably get the same food without the special, overpriced “Valentine’s Day menu.” True, you might sacrifice the rose or little chocolate the restaurant gives you, but are those little extras really worth the additional cost? We did once go to a very nice restaurant on Valentine’s Day and get the prix fix meal, but we found the service harried and the dinner not quite worth the price. I didn’t even get the promised rose.

Enjoy a romantic dinner at home: Light candles, set a nice table, and then serve up your favorite foods. Chicken Marsala with roasted red potatoes and a nice wine would be delicious, and remarkably easy to prepare. Or you could kick the romance up a notch and choose foods you can feed each other, like cheese fondue or a dessert of chocolate fondue.

Skip (or delay) the flowers and jewelry: Both of these are significantly marked up for Valentine’s Day. The price of roses doubles, especially since they’re not in season this time of year and have probably been flown in from Ecuador.

If you still want flowers, order them the next day. One year, my husband bought me a pretty bouquet on February 15. I returned home from work to find it on the kitchen table. I was stunned and delighted, and it cost him 50% less. If you opt for this, skip the roses. They will be leftovers from the day before and probably not in great condition. Instead my arrangement had irises (my favorite) and “filler” flowers that lasted for over three weeks.

Buy a card: I like to receive a card from my husband on Valentine’s Day. He has yet to fully grasp that “not doing anything” means “exchanging cards,” but I do buy him a card. Apparently 85% of Valentine’s Day cards are bought my women. I prefer funny cards, which are usually around to $2. Sappy cards can get as high as $10, but I’d aim for $5 maximum for a card that will only wind up in a recycling bin in a few days.

Buy small yet decadent chocolate gifts: At least for women. My Dad loves a See’s chocolate assortment. My mom and I would rather receive one really decadent piece of chocolate than deluxe Valentine’s Day gift baskets. If you have a chocolate-lover in your life, visit a gourmet chocolatier to buy one or two very good truffles. That will run you about $5.00 and no one has to feel guilty about the calories and fat. They taste better, too.

Some people insist on going all out for Valentine’s Day, but I don’t think you have to focus all your romantic energy on one day. I’d rather find small, affordable ways to celebrate our relationship year-round.

What are your ideas for saving money on Valentine’s Day?

Comments

6 Responses to “Five Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day”

  1. Tony on January 28th, 2008 10:23 am

    I really like the making dinner idea. I’ve always wanted to do that sort of thing, but living with a roommate makes it a problem.

    I also hear ya on the card issue. One year, when my boyfriend was “financially challenged” and feeling sorry for himself because he couldn’t do anything nice, he opted to do nothing at all. That still goes down in our relationship history as the crappiest V-Day ever. I was also poor, but I made a effort to make it a nice day and he complained about my choices the whole time. So, in the end MY complaints were about his complaining and his complete lack of thought or creativity, as opposed to feeling bad that I didn’t get diamonds or a lavish dinner.

    I don’t know who else is with me on this one, but I think most girls (and guys) would rather have their mate put some thought into it than spend a lot of money, hence the old adage “it’s the thought that counts.”

    Disclaimer: Said boyfriend is completely awesome 99.9% of the time. He’s just human and has his moments.

  2. Here’s Your Team for The Superbowl of Personal Finance! (Carnival #138) | I've Paid For This Twice Already... on February 4th, 2008 2:40 am

    [...] Sound Money Matters appeals to the frugal romantic in all of us with Five Ways to Save Money on Valentine’s Day. [...]

  3. Pete @ biblemoneymatters.com on February 4th, 2008 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the tips. As a romantically challenged husband – I need all the help I can get. Good to know now that doing nothing means “doing something but for less”. Or at least a card.

    Now if I could just learn ESP so I could read my wife’s mind!

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    [...] Sound Money Matters, here are five great ways to save money on Valentine’s Day. She writes: “I also recognize that most of the Valentine’s Day pressure is a result of [...]

  5. Christine on February 5th, 2008 7:30 pm

    My boyfriend and I are both students, and so we’ve traditionally celebrated V-day in very frugal fashion. Our first year, we made our own chocolates (small molded chocolates, almond bark, etc). Last year, we had a fruit & chocolate fondue. This year? No plans yet — we’ll probably make and eat a nice meal together.

    It’s not fancy — but I wouldn’t celebrate any other way. We don’t need dinners and diamonds to enjoy each other’s company :)

  6. Amy on February 2nd, 2009 9:22 am

    I agree completely! There is no excuse to “do nothing” when it’s so easy to show your affection for free. I even wrote an article about it here: http://www.ehow.com/how_4749795_spend-valentines-day-save-money.html
    Love is priceless :)

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