As I’ve posted numerous times, I am anti-Valentine’s Day. Yes, I’ll cook a nice dinner and spring for a card, but I’m opposed to the price inflation that accompanies the gifts and dinners out on this occasion that really doesn’t mean anything. Still, I know a lot of people feel compelled to do something for the day. That’s probably why I still make a nice dinner. If you’re like me – you hate yourself for observing the occasion, but can’t make yourself stop – here are five frugal tips.
Cook Dinner at Home
You can get a lovely filet mignon at the grocery store for about $10 a pound (that will serve at least two people). If you ordered that in a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, you’d pay at least $30 a person. Grill or sauté the steak, add a nice red wine and mushrooms reduction sauce, and serve with sliced potatoes roasted with olive oil and salt. It’s gourmet, it’s delicious, it’s easy, and it’s probably about $15 for the whole dinner if you cook it at home. You don’t even have to tip a valet!
Choose Untraditional Flowers
Roses are common. If your beloved likes a different kind of flower, you can probably get it at a much more affordable price. Right now, many grocery stores and nurseries sell tulips, hyacinths, and other early spring bulbs in pots. Some are already growing. Opt for an affordable option like this, and you’ll not only save $50 or more, your gift will also last a lot longer than seven days.
If you must do roses, and you own a home, buy a bare root rose bush. Plant it in the garden and it’s a gift that will be a constant reminder of your love for years to come.
Choose A Favorite Dessert Instead of Chocolate
Unless your beloved is a true chocolate connoisseur, in which case he or she will probably prefer a single super-fancy truffle to a generic one pound assortment, skip the expected heart-shaped box of chocolates. Instead, go to the bakery to buy your beloved’s favorite dessert. A slice of their favorite pie. A dozen of their favorite cookies. It shows you put some thought into it.
Rent a Classic Movie
Head to the video store, or log onto your streaming account, and search for classic romantic movies from the 1930s through 1960s. Look for Tracy and Hepburn, Clark Gable, etc. Since these movies are OLD, they usually only cost a couple of bucks to rent at the most. Cuddle up on the couch with popcorn and let these classic love affairs inspire your own love affair.
Flip Through Old Memories
Open a bottle of wine and then pull out your photo albums to revisit the memories of the time you’ve been together. Sometimes those pictures stir up great stories you both barely remember anymore. (Since we don’t usually take pictures of the bad times, there’s not much risk of dredging up an old fight.) If you find some really good photos, compile a photo album of your greatest hits. If you want to turn it into a photobook, watch the coupon sites for coupon codes. There are always lots available.