Ask the Readers: How Do You Save on Valentine's Day?

By Ashley Jacobs on 5 February 2013 (Updated 12 February 2013) 67 comments
Photo: Ralph Daily

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Margaret, Tabathia, and Melody for winning this week's contest!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner! It's time to start thinking about what to get that special someone in your life. Many people go with the traditional chocolates and red roses, while others get a little more creative in order not break the bank when Valentine's Day rolls around!

How do you save on Valentine's Day? Do you make your own gifts? Do something special for your significant other? Or do you go ahead and splurge instead of worrying about being frugal?

Tell us how you save on Valentine's Day and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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  • You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:
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    If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

    Giveaway Rules:

    • Contest ends Monday, February 11th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 11th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
    • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
    • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
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Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I save on Valentine's Day by not buying anything at all for my husband...what he wants most of all is time to be together. We usually have a date night at home.

Guest's picture
Guest

Buy the flowers and go out to dinner a week after the big day. Cards and breakfast in bed on the actual day so you don't feel like a total cheapo - that's what the wife and I do.

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Kristine E.

We do handmade gifts instead of buying things, or make a nice dinner in instead of going out.

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Cathie

It's very simple: we don't "celebrate." My husband and I love each other, and we express it daily. We don't need to go out and spend money and wait for a table, etc. One time, a few years ago he brought me flowers on Valentines day, but that was because he delivered for a local florist in his spare time, and they were gratis. I decorate the house a little bit.....otherwise, the most I do is bake a cake.

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Christie

We celebrate Valentine's Day as a family at home with heart-shaped pizza and a family movie with a special dessert. Then, 5 days later, my hubby and I celebrate our Halfaversary (17 1/2 years this month!) and either go out for a special meal or have a really special meal at home. Our favorite one: filet mignon medium rare with twice baked potatoes and vegetables. Yum!! This year were are splurging and going out to our favorite restaurant that just started serving dinner. :)

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Sara C

My husband and I had a terrible, and expensive, experience out at a restaurant on Valentine's Day the first year we were dating. Since then we take turns cooking a really special dinner at home. Even with the most expensive ingredients from the grocery store it is much cheaper than eating out.

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Giang Nguyen

Home-cooked romantic meal instead of expensive restaurant..

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Lacey

Money is fairly tight this Valentine's Day (and I'm not a big holiday person in general), so I'm baking my SO a heart-shaped chocolate cake and will be knitting him an anatomically correct heart (sounds weird, but he's studying biology so I don't think he'll think so) in "Irish" colors because he's...Irish at heart. I've been working on a blanket for him, but I don't think that I'll finish it in time. I like baking a lot, so that will be virtually free, and I already had all the yarn from knitting - I just have to invest the time.

An almost completely free Valentine's Day :3

Guest's picture
KF

Fancy home-cooked meal / dessert + flowers from the grocery store.

Guest's picture
Tina in NJ

This year I'm making a heart-healthy soup for dinner. I also plan to make home-made biscuits which I will cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter. A couple years ago I was my daughter's room mother. For the party craft I baked heart-shaped sugar cookies and made icing. The kids spread the icing on the cookies, decorated them with sprinkles, then ate them. They had a blast!

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Elena

We save money by using restaurant coupons when we eat out on Valentine's Day

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suzemagoo

Homemade Valentine cards, especially ones out of recycled materials used creatively and/or with corny poems -- it just doesn't come any finer than this!

Guest's picture
Monica

WE (Ok, me) try to get useful gifts rather than crap to throw away. Food and Movies are our favorites. We also never go out, and just celebrate with a dinner at home.

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Bianca

We cook dinner at home together! This way we spend less money, spend more time together, and get to enjoy the meal we worked hard to prepare together. And we won't be spending a fortune on wine at a restaurant either!

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Jen

We simply don't celebrate it. We believe that we should show each other that we love each other every day, not because the calendar tells us to.

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Betty

I plan a nice date night for home. Much cheaper, better food, etc. And we don't have to go out in the cold.

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Diane

We don't go overboard for Valentines Day~ We give small personal gifts and usually go out for lunch together, when it's less crowded. Then we have a nice dinner at home in the evening. He usually buys me roses, which he picks up himself from a store, rather than a florist. I don't need $100 roses delivered by a florist!

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Mel

I celebrate Valentine's Day one day later, and take advantage of the sale and clearance items.

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Happy Love

We use coupons when going out to eat during the week before Valentines Day, not on that day.

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Alena

We usually just eat at home on Valentine's Day by having a steak dinner. This will be the first year in over 2 years that he doesn't have to work Valentine's Day night.

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Jamie

Break up before the holiday! Ok, so that's not WHY that happened, though I extended the v-day gift I'd been saving as an olive branch since things ended amicably: he loves the peppermint jo-jos from Trader Joes, so when they came out around the holidays, I bought some for him but stashed an extra box for Valentine's Day. That's a $4 gift that would have probably been fine on its own had things not ended.

Now freshly single, I've rsvp'd yes to a good friend who will be having a casual potluck dinner among a few friends. Chili bar, cornbread, and good friends? Sounds like a frugal win-win to me.

Guest's picture

I wait till after Feb 14 to get Valentine's Day goodies, like candy at 75% off!

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C.j.

On Valentine's day we celebrate love. I usually bake something like red velvet cupcakes or cake w/ cream cheese frosting and sprinkles

Guest's picture

We spend quality time together instead of spending money. Much cheaper!

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Jillian

I save by not doing anything! No cards, no chocolates, no flowers. Valentines' day is a consumption based holiday that I've always disliked... why do you need a special day to show someone you love them?

Guest's picture

by being a grumpy single person and ignoring it altogether!

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KelR1

The hubby and I don't give each other gifts, but we will go see a movie (usually a matinee - cheaper!) and go to lunch or dinner at a not-too-expensive restaurant or just grab a pizza to bring home and play board games. We do buy our dogs a small special treat. But that's about the extent of our Valentine's spending.

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Stefanie

I plan in advance! I get gifts I know my partner will love with after holiday sales and other special deals. This year, I got her some arm warmers (in red and pink) for $1/ pair at an after xmas-sale and some self-inking stamps for only $1 each from an online deal at Staples in January. I already have a whole bunch of cards from free promotions at online card stores that would work for her for v-day as well. Total spent will be under $5 for card and gifts, but I know she'll love them all!

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

We don't buy anything for each other, just spend some time together maybe watching a movie or making a nice dinner together

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Carrie

My husband and I have saved one of the restaurant gift cards we received for Christmas to use on Valentine's Day. I'm also on various restaurant e-mail clubs. We'll get a free appetizer and dessert at Outback and may just have enough on the gift card for two entrees.

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Mel

Honestly, we save by not celebrating it. We've never been big on V-day, so we usually just have a nice meal at home and curl up in front of the fire. Makes for a cheap date, that's for sure!

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Andy F

A mix-tape on cd, using music that I've checked out of the library. It's reminiscent of the old-school mixtapes like we used to make in high school and it's cheap. A deep, honest kiss. A handmade card. Ask him/her out on a date in the future (after Valentine's day is over).

Donna Freedman's picture

By having an advance discussion with your S.O. about the commercialization of love, and by showing *real* love all year long, you can save a ton on Valentine's Day because you won't be buying into (as it were) said commercialization.
Probably wouldn't hurt to recognize the day to each other, though: "I love the fact that you show your love every day, vs. buying a card and a gift once a year and being inattentive the other 364 days."

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Lori P

We've been together for 27 years so we've celebrated many Valentine Days. There were years that we didn't worry about the money and others where we made gifts and dinner at home, bought combo gifts, went out to lunch and an earlier movie to save money. The main thing was to take the time to reflect on our relationship and how much we loved each other.

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ashley

I am using one of the great cards I already own instead of personalizing one on the internet and I am hanging out with my dog this year and watching a movie.

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Melissa Hansson

I shop year 'round for gifts. My gift-giving holiday season starts with Christmas and then we have Valentine's in February, my husband's birthday and our wedding anniversary both in March. I buy perfect things as I see them and then decide at Christmas how to parcel them out for the next couple months.

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Susan D.

I ignore Valentine's Day altogether. It's a great money saver!

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Tabathia

I usually buy items the day after Valentines for my family and if there are great sales with coupons and I can save up to 50% then I may splurge.

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DeeDee

Hubby and I eat at home, we try to make something extra special for dinner. No gifts and we work at letting each other know how much the other is loved and appreciated all year long. This July we wil be married 35 years.

Guest's picture
Therese

We have a quiet evening at home, cooking and watching a movie in front of the fireplace

Guest's picture
Guest

Easy...no gifts! Dinner out; one of us gets dinner; one gets drinks. All the best stuff is free...

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Brenda Faulkner

A home cooked meal is a great way to say I love you and save money!

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Nicholas

I don't buy anything on Valentine's Day, that's how I save!
If I do buy anything then it is to buy food so I can cook a nice meal.

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Bethany

We like to eat at home to save the expense and the extra wait time at the busy restaurants.

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Lynda

yes, we try to save on vday by celebrating at home or celebrating the day/weekend after.

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Guest

I save by not celebrating at all

Guest's picture

Valentine's on a budget? Simple!

1.) Flowers from Local Grocery Store (always cheaper than floral stores)
2.) Movie date to local movie theater w/student ID (if you're under 30 or look under 30, keep that university ID! SO many great discounts you can get)
3.) LivingSocial/GroupOn Deal to a new restaurant (always great deals during holidays)
4.) End the night with some Pinterest drink recipes at home and let the magic happen!

Guest's picture
DCM

Honestly, like most "Hallmark Holidays" we simply ignore it.

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Sarah

Refuse to go out to dinner. All the decent restaurants are going to be busy, anyway.

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Guest

I buy flowers at Safeway, which actually has good fresh flowers.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

My husband and I have long only bought cards and a candy bar for Valentine's day to save money. We definitely don't need to buy each other any more things to clutter up our house.

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Prathee chandar

Instead of buying expensive things, I cook extensive meals for my family. I also make DIY gifts as they're memorable and save money. My family enjoys memories than material stuff.

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M. Murphy

We usually go out on a different night than the 14th -it isn't nearly as busy, no lines and we still have our romantic dinner for two. On the 14th we get a bonus - cooking something fun at home and Redbox movie. It's like getting an extra valentine day.

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Margaret

For 15 years - for Valentine's Day my husband draws me a paper rose on white paper and gives it to me. I'm allergic to flowers and perfumes so this is the only way he can give me flowers. I have a frame which has all the flowers in it to make an anniversary bouquet. Sounds cheap (and it is) but to me it is also VERY thoughtful as he puts a lot of time and effort into his rose.

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valletta

Homegrown flowers, homemade dinner, handwritten love letter :)

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Amanda Sakovitz

I save on valentines day by cooking dinner at home

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Thomas Murphy

I don't worry about money on V-day

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Paige

We just use a little creativity for a unique way to celebrate each year. Homemade dinners and mixed drinks, camping out in the living room, love letters...it's been different each year.

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Raina

I don't get into the money-spending of it. Just spend time at home with your loved one.

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Renae

My sweetheart and I don't do much on Valentines. We have a nice dinner at home to save money, and skip the jewelry or dinner out. I do want chocolate though. :)

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Alaine

We go out for a nice dinner :)

Guest's picture

This is a great giveaway for the Valentines. I save on Valentines Day by having a special dinner at home rather than having a fancy dinner in a restaurant.

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Elly

We tend to celebrate not on Valentine's Day itself, but somewhere in the surrounding week. For instance, if we're going out to dinner, there are plenty of discount deals that generally aren't accepted on 2/14...but make for a perfectly lovely evening other times that week...

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Alissa A

I spend time and typically make my own gift!

Guest's picture
Guest

We make home-made items - they express more anyways!

Guest's picture
Guest

By simply taking time do things we don't normally take time to do together. He's been wanting to go hiking for a while - free. I like to do silly simple crafts and we already have supplies, so I think we'll finger paint some ridiculous wall art for our place. We will re-watch our favorite couples movie "Away We Go". I printed free, humorous valentines from internet searches. Cooking together can be fun. Give each other free massages!

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MsSwagger00

My husband normally buys my flowers a few days early to avoid the Valentine's Day flower price hike. I decorate the house with crafts that my kids make and I usually make a special dinner with strawberries dipped in chocolate. In my house, we try to make everyday special !