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?