Spend Less This Valentine’s Day (And Win an iPod Touch!)

By Linsey Knerl on 29 January 2009 852 comments

***Congratulations to Emerson (Comment #360)... You have won the iPod Touch.  We have contacted you by email, and you will have 48 hours to claim your prize, or another winner will be drawn. ****


I’ll admit that I’m not as crazy for V-Day as I once was.  The romance is still there, but my husband and I quit getting extravagant with our gifts once more of our money started going toward diapers.  Still, it’s the little things that can touch your heart, so why not start small with a personalized gift that won’t break the bank?  Here are our favorite tips: 

Last Minute Valentine Cakes on the Fly– Myscha makes bakin’ up some love seem simple.  Maybe because it really is! 

Couplehood:  Avoiding the Valentine’s Clichés – Some might call Andrea cynical.  We call her amazing.  Read up on how to avoid being put into some kind of predictable “love box,” and gain some frugal inspiration at the same time. 

Valentine Ideas for the Single Crowd – I know.  Not everyone is “lucky in love.”  But some would consider themselves pretty darn lucky to be single.  (This one’s for you.) 

Flower Power: A Guide to Frugal Valentine’s Flowers – Roses are a racket, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo the flowers.  This guide can save your marriage (and at least $50.) 

Cheap and Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day – Perfect for any day of the year, these are just plain sweet (and many are free!) 

There’s no excuse to avoiding a great gift, just because you’re a little strapped this holiday.  If in doubt, a modern version of the mix-tape is always a great idea.  To help you out, we’ve teamed up with Walmart and Nestle to give one of you lucky readers an 8GB iPod Touch – perfect for uploading your favorite tunes from Walmart.com (or any of the top love songs picked by the 11Moms.)  We’ll even throw in a gift card for your first 10 songs!

To be eligible to win, comment on this post with your favorite frugal V-Day tip.  You have until February 10th to enter.  (Winner will be announced on February 14th!)  U.S. and Canada only.  Must be 18 or older to enter.

Wise Bread will not sell or use your email address for any purpose other than to contact the winner. 

And don’t forget to check out all the cool gift ideas, tips, and promotions at http://www.walmart.com/sweetideas.  They include a cool “Blow a Kiss” phone app, special eValentines, and a totally affordable holiday gift guide.  Can you feel the love?

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Guest's picture

This year I'm planning to do a small photo album or scrapbook for a Valentine's Day gift.

Guest's picture

being single - I have nothing to buy! :)

Guest's picture

Giving a personalize gift is both frugal and thoughtful. A creative picture or souvenir that the two of you share can be treasured for a long time. If you want to spend time outside, take a stroll somewhere scenic and have a picnic or homemade candlelight dinner. Romantic doesn't have to mean money! :)

Guest's picture

Last year I bought a simple v-day card and wrote every reason why I loved my gf. I do mean every possible reason, I took up the whole space on the card. She loved it and said that nobody else has done something like that before.

Guest's picture

If you have already spent the money to have a mac, and a camcorder, you can give a perfect, and extremely inexpensive gift ~$1, by editing the footage of your loved ones into the perfect Valentine's Day Movie.

Or, you can win an iPod touch and give it to your sweetie. (Hint, Hint)

Guest's picture

edit home movie footage into a movie

Guest's picture

When I was really broke one year I went to to the dollar store with the few dollars I had squirreled away and bought a bunch of cutsy edibles, a box of kiddie valenines, and such. I left one on his pillow each morning with a little note written on one of the Valentines I bought. It let him know that I though of him everyday and made each morning special.

Guest's picture

I prepare a candlelight warm bath with a tray of appetizers for my husband. He loves this once a year relaxing treat!!!

Guest's picture
Stephanie Gulland

Make a coupon book for your spouse with coupons ranging from hour long massage to candlelight dinner for two. The only limit here is your creativity.

You could even make a coupon book for your kids. You could include coupons for a special mommy and me day.

I did this one year for my dad for Father's Day when I was in college. He told me that it was the best gift he ever received.

Guest's picture
Amy Bowser

You can order flowers for Valentine's Day in January to be delivered in February for much cheaper than ordering just before Valentine's Day!!

Guest's picture

Go buy a bottle of nice-smelling oil, get a fire going, open a bottle of wine, and exchange full body massages. It's a wonderful alternative to chocolate/flowers/fancy dinner at a restaurant, it's romantic, and it's also incredibly relaxing.

Guest's picture
Mihai Neacsu

Roses and a hot massage will do the trick.

Guest's picture

I make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast and pack heart shaped sandwiches for the kidlets. We've been known to have heart shaped hamburgers for dinner.

Guest's picture

Stay single!
Seriously, the bestest valentines day I ever had was during college when my ex dragged me away from the books and we took a stress break/walk around the frozen lake on campus. It was also snowing really hard and about zero degrees outside but it was fun! and we also laughed at the people who were forced to drive out in the treacherous weather to justify their $100 reservations at the local restaurants. ha!

Guest's picture

My fiance and I just got engaged Jan 10, so this year for valentines day we are going to sit and put together the scrapbook we have been wanting to do with pictures from our "dating days". We already have all the supplies so there is no cost there, and he is planning on making me a nice dinner, but that will be far cheaper then going out and fighting the crowds for a table.

Guest's picture

For my SO I make a cookie cake and in icing I write "I love you because...." and usually try and put something funny but sweet there.

W/ ds those large boxes of generic valentines to give away in school aren't even expensive (Esp if you buy after Vday and save for next year) but they leave you feeling blah....this year we're combing craft blogs for something simple enough for him to make himself, for 25 kids.

Guest's picture

A heart-shaped cake or cheesecake. And the ever-popular coupons (before we had kids they were for things like massages or kisses; now I give him coupons that let him out of poopy diaper changes, or let him sleep in. Ah, how times change...)

Guest's picture

My favorite valentine's day gift to give my fiancee is time. It's not how much money you spend on a gift that will sit on a shelf or how much time you spent hunched over handcrafting something (although those gifts are often the most incredible things imaginable) but to take time over a thoughtfully prepared meal that you both enjoy, and wallow in the enjoyment of that meal and the company you share together. Take the phone off the hook. Leave work challenges in your briefcase. slip a movie in for the kids to enjoy in the next room. Give the dog a long lasting chewy to keep her occupied. The laundry can wait, and the bills can be paid later. It might only last 10 minutes, but make it worthwhile, and focus on what you have together. If you're single, just focus on what you love about yourself, because you're lovable!

Guest's picture

The most expensive part of V-day, for us, is the dinner out. Making a steak dinner at home with local, grassfed beef from our freezer pack, and potatoes & green beans from my garden will costs about $8 total, and be just as romantic!

Guest's picture

My favorite gift to give my husband for a day like Valentine's is something that requires some kind of small sacrifice on my part, that lets him know he is important to me. For example I might cook him a meal or dessert that he really likes but I don't care for. Or offer to take the time to play video games or go to the comic book convention, or bowling or something he likes that I would rather not do . I think that sometimes those smaller,certainly frugal sacrifices can speak louder than expensive gifts.

Guest's picture

do dinner at home. you dont need to spend money to show you care. dinner at home with conversation is more satisfying than any dinner out (as long as you dont mind the dishes)

Guest's picture

enter a bunch of contests and win a gift :)

Guest's picture

We like to have a candlelight dinner at home and it's usually an Italian dish. Luckily my hubby is a great cook and I know how to light the candles!

And we include a note with a number of things that we appreciate about each other. It helps to see that the small things you've done have been noticed and it also reminds you of just how great your mate really is.

Guest's picture

Not sure how well this qualifies as being frugal, but my wife and I don't do Valentine's Day at all! We decided long ago that it's a made-up Hallmark holiday, so we forgo the flowers and candies and dinner. Instead, we celebrate our dog's birthday by baking him homemade dog treats.

Guest's picture
Wendy Ramsaur

My husband and I have usually celebrated Valentine's Day at home with a pizza and beer. Sure, it's not for everyone, but it's our little romantic dinner.

Guest's picture

Our favorite activities include a candlelite dinner at home (who wants to go out and eat with 100 people you don't know) and homemade coupon books.

Guest's picture

I stay single. It simplifies things enormously. ;)

Guest's picture

A few valentines ago my girl friend talked about having a bland office and wanted something for her desk office. She also mentioned about her cell phone battery always losing power. So what I did was I bought a DIY toy from Kidrobot and a cell phone charger I painted the toy, cut it out to hold the cell phone, and then feed the wiring through to make it work.

AS everyone said before. DIY presents are the best.

Guest's picture

This Valentine's Day I am having my wisdom teeth removed. I assume I will be drooling and unconscious most of the weekend, so just being there for me when I am not at my best is all I want from my boyfriend. In return, I am going to spend the week before loading up my fridge with lots of meals and treats and renting movies from the library for him to enjoy while I sleep :)

Guest's picture
Amanda ORourke

This year instead of thinking of a gift (being that I have no more ideas after Christmas), I am planning to just be creative and leave simple love notes around the house. Like leaving a matchbook with "you are my perfect match" or putting a rock in the fridge with "you are my rock" or a note next to the honey/sugar "you are my sweetie/honey." I think this will make my husband feel special and loved, and since its thoughtful it won't seem like I'm just cheap.

Guest's picture

An elegant meal at home. Find a special dinner that you and your Valentine enjoy and cook it for each other. Put out a nice tablecloth, use a few candles, and make it a romantic evening at home instead of fighting the Valentine’s Day crowds out on the town. Melissa and I love fondue and put a fondue set on our Wedding registry (very inexpensive) and have made that our special meal and activity together for Valentine’s Day every since. Fondue, great music, candlelight …

Guest's picture

I'm alone this year, and normally that would mean that I'd go out and spend some extra money because I "deserve" it. I am promising myself I won't do that - I don't actually "deserve" anything!

Guest's picture

Nothing is worse than restaurants on V-Day. Crowded and V-Day is a blackout date for all the specials, discounts, and coupons. My friend who is a Costco member picks up some of the $12 a dozen roses for the guys here at the office. Sure beats the $20-$30 you'll pay elsewhere on V-Day.

Guest's picture

I love to take my daughters to Dollar Tree about two weeks before Valentine's Day, so that we can stock up on paper valentines for them to share with classmates, dum dum pops to tape to their valentines, candy hearts for co-workers and various goodies for friends, teachers and parents. We can stock up completely for Valentine's day for less than 20 dollars, which is fantastic!

My husband and I don't buy a thing for each other, nor do we go out. We just wait for 9pm, which is when the kids go to bed, then we do what comes naturally!

Guest's picture

Kissing and cuddling are free, so the hubby and I will be doing lots of that! ;)

We honestly prefer to cook a meal together at home rather than going out to a busy, crowded, loud, expensive restaurant. Or we'll order in a pizza and just hang out, watch movies, and play board games. (Yep, we're geeky like that!) There's nothing like an intense, heated game of Scrabble to get you goin' on Valentine's Day!

Guest's picture

Free art galleries.

Guest's picture
Sheri F

My husband and I like to stay home and cook a meal from a new recipe we pick out. We'll also pick up a movie from Redbox using one of the free codes!

rstlne's picture

Dinner reservations at White Castle. Or the "Love Castle", as they call it. http://whitecastle.com/ValentinesDay09/

Guest's picture

My husband and I are going to make a few appetizers for a light dinner and then go to a Hindi/English a capella competition. The tickets were only $8 a piece and it will surely be a unique experience!

Guest's picture

The best Valentines gift I gave my husband was our first Valentines day, a few months after we started dating. I found out he never had a teddy bear growing up, or any sort of stuffed toy.

That just bothered the heck out of me! "EVERYONE should have a teddy bear!", I thought.

Since I was going to college at the time and living with my Mom, I didn't have a lot of money, but I wanted to give him a very special teddy bear for his first. I had a matching pair of stuffed bears that I received for Christmas from my Mom when I was 12. The bears were about 2 feet tall, VERY huggable with shaggy hair and magnets in their hands and faces so their hands could "pray" or go up to their faces and look like they were hiding their eyes. My Mom gave me permission to give one of the bears to my then-new-boyfriend.

I gave him the boy bear, which has a little red bow tie, and I have the girl bear that doesn't have the bow tie.

He loves that bear like a little kid would! He also likes the fact that I have a matching one and it was something special of mine that I gave to him. It was the perfect gift.

Guest's picture

Hey Kimberly (and other singles) - don't dis the fantastic opportunity arriving in about 2 weeks. I have it on good authority (I haven't done this, but a good friend has), the V-Day is Shopping Heaven.

Make use of one or more of those good get-the-best-deal-by-investigating/learning-about-your-intended-purchase tips on the day that all the Hallmarkians are stuffing the restaurants. The stores are empty, clerks are bored. Thinking of replacing a major appliance or the like? Finally getting around to that big comparative shop at the local Macy's or Nordstrom, to see what looks good and why it looks good, so you can score the corresponding knockoff at a discount or thrift store?

That's the evening. You can fire a cannon through a mall and not hit anybody. (Unless you aimed at a restaurant.) Even if it's just the usual errand-running, boy can you save time by doing it then.

Happy frugal money And Time saving!

Guest's picture

Try just being with your loved one.
And stay away from the big box guilt Isles.

even if it is five minutes of holding (or other things) it is the sentiment that is important not the stuff.

Guest's picture

Some women may like to be pampered the entire night, some may like more creative or intellectually stimulating things. I plan to segment each portion of my night with things I know my girlfriend likes. First, this year, it's on a Saturday. Usually, I would focus on destressing her after a weekday, but the weekend makes that not so much a priority. I can have us do something slightly active during the day but not so much that it tires us out later (i.e. bike riding through the park, playing in the playground, generally doing really kid-like activities). We can shop for some choice items at the grocery to cook later; It's always fun to cook with 1 or 2 ingredients you're excited about. At night, I'll cook for her and focus the meal around salmon since she loves it. Then we'll have some ice cream and play around with some Shrinky dinks (a childhood passion of hers) that I've ordered online ($7). Afterwards, it'll be the perfect time to have all that happiness and sentiment focused on me. I'll put on some salsa music (her fav), dance with her a little bit, then .. oh you know the rest.

Guest's picture

1. Make your sweetie a list of the 14 reasons why you love him/her.
2. Follow up with a second list, detailing 14 things you will do in the next year in the name of love. Examples: Cook a romantic dinner, promise weekly back-rubs, starting a new hobby together, etc.

Guest's picture

My husband and I celebrate our Valentine's Day by remembering how we have come a long way. We reminisce on the day that we first got together, when we did not have a lot of extra money, how we got our first apartment and we literally only had 5 pillows, 2 blankets, and a borrowed television set. We did not even have enough money to furnish our place. And we owned a rickety car which we named "Betsy." And so now, we make it a point to go back to that day and remind each other how we truly appreciate the fact that we have held on to one another, knowing that whatever happens, the love we have for each other will always sustain us.

Guest's picture

A couple years back I learned about a bracelet kit that you can order online. It come complete with a cd and photo paper in order to take pictures of yourself, family members etc. The photos are cropped to a specific size and then get glued onto the bracelet. The bracelet is sterling silver and looks very nice once you are finished. My wife loves it as it has photos of our kids and is something I helped created.

Guest's picture

The best gift I ever got for Valentine's Day was getting my car cleaned out. I am terrible at getting around to vacuuming it, so this was awesome.

Guest's picture

The best gift I ever got for Valentine's Day was getting my car cleaned out. I am terrible at getting around to vacuuming it, so this was awesome.

Guest's picture

my husband ever gave me was a multiple picture frame (has spaces for 16 photos) that he filled with pictures of the 2 of us from different trips we've taken. There are photos from NZ, India, Bonaire, El Paso, Madison, DC, Ireland, NJ, and Napa. Every time I look at it (it's hanging on the wall) it just makes me smile and remember all the wonderful places we've been together.

Guest's picture

We decided this year that we would make a "love box". Everytime we "make whoopie" (so to say) a dollar goes in the box. Next year we will take the money and use that to celebrate V day!

Guest's picture

My fiance and I both hate Valentine's Day - it's so dumb to have one arbitrary day on which you show your love for your partner. Shouldn't you show your love your partner all year long?

We exchange Valentine's presents that cannot be purchased in a store. We're handy people, so there's that, but there are a lot of things that you can do for your sweetie that don't involve buying something.

Guest's picture

We live in the Northeast, and my significant other loves the outdoors regardless of the season. This year we've planned an afternoon of snowshoeing, and will pack a thermos of decadent hot cocoa to take along. Being outdoors, enjoying nature and having fun with each other, then going home for a cozy night in makes for a perfect Valentine's Day for us both. When we do things like this together, it brings us even closer.

Guest's picture

-Check out a DVD you both want to watch from your local library. Set aside a "date night" to watch it together. Combine that with a fun meal at home (or even take out) on the couch, and you have a cozy, fun evening planned.

-Put those candles you inevitably have lying around the house to good use: make dinner special (and interesting) by dining by candlelight.

-Change out your plain, ordinary bedroom light bulbs for red light bulbs. Turn off all the other lights in the room, and you have a very interesting mood set for a little one-on-one time.

-If you ever went on a special vacation together, was there one thing about the vacation that stuck out in your mind? A fun, tropical drink from a trip to Jamaica? A unique pizza from Chicago? Try to replicate the experience at home to take you both back to that special time.

Guest's picture

I've decided recently, that I will try to make all my gifts by hand (for all holidays, but especially Valentines day). This year I took up some projects in sewing, illustration and printing. By doing the work myself, I saved a ton of money (essentially, I made 6 of these sewn items for less than the price of one at the store), I put alot more heartfelt effort into it, and the outcome is more meaningful for both myself and the recipient, not to mention that I learned alot about those fields of craft along the way. I designed and printed my own vintage style greeting cards. In this way, I could have not only my own design, but my own messages as well, and Printing cost me much less than the price of similar cards at the store (The cards at Borders were about $3.99 each, I got 7 printed for $6, cut for an extra $5, and they look wonderful).

Also, I always try to write a letter or note to that special someone, as it is just another heartfelt, personal gift.


Guest's picture

Rent a dvd. Cuddle while watching.

Guest's picture

My husband and I have been married for just about 2 years, but we haven't really done anything special for Valentine's Day since the first one we spent together as a dating couple. This year I am planning a "picnic". I'm making dinner, putting it into a picnic basket and laying a picnic on the floor. Just the two of us in our first house (awaiting our first baby). I am so excited!

Guest's picture

I write a letter telling my husband all of the things I mean to but never get to in the course of everyday life. Also, I re-create a favorite meal of his. It's easy to google restaurant recipes and much cheaper to make the dish yourself.

Guest's picture

We always have friends & relatives who don't know what to get us for Christmas, and usually we don't need much anyway, so we tell them to get us gift cards to cool local restaurants then use those for a nice valentine's day dinner!

Guest's picture

This will be our fifth year together. We will be cooking a very nice meal for our selves instead of fighting for a table in a restaurant.

Guest's picture

My wife and I like to splurge on really nice ingredients and wine and have a nice romantic meal at home rather than going out to a fancy restaurant. This saves money and also allows us more time to relax with each other rather than stressing out about a reservation and getting to the restaurant. We love cooking together so it works out perfectly for us!

Guest's picture

My partner and I make a spaghetti and meatball dinner together and eat it in candlelight Lady and the Tramp style. We make a point of spending time together rather money on each other.

I also make him a special dessert because he's diabetic. Last year it was almondy bites. Basically they were a Splendafied sugar cookie recipe from Alton Brown. Then, I added almond extract and I ground some sliced almonds we already had and mixed it into the batter. Baked them and then rolled them in a bit of Splenda on top.

Guest's picture

Our sunday school class gets together to prepare and serve a meal to the senior citizen's sunday school class. After we eat, we play the Newlywed game or something. It's always a hoot! Fun and beats sitting for three hours waiting to eat at a restaurant.

Guest's picture
Kaitie Tee

As you may have heard, lobster is selling at a very low price right now. My husband and I love to stay home for Valentine's and steam our own lobsters. It's the same fancy meal without the crowds and cost.

Guest's picture

Well, I learned this one from my parents. Instead of a big bouquet of flowers, give a single rose. It's not too expensive and it makes a nice focal point. Sure the big bunch has the "wow" factor, but there's something sweet about the single rose.

Guest's picture
jamie g

My favorite cheap idea for Valentine's Day is to give someone the gift of a sensory experience and get back in touch with the 5 senses the homeade way. You could give someone a backrup (touch) while listening to their favorite songs (hearing) and smelling some yummy candles (smell) after making them dinner (taste) and letting them just gaze at your beautiful self, the love of their life (sight).

It's easy to get caught up in the rush and forget that we are physical people who experience the world through our senses. Remind your lovely how great all the senses can be! Happy valentine's Day!

Guest's picture

I'll be making my husband's favorite meal (chicken fettuccine alfredo, breadsticks, wine) and sending the kids to Grandma's house. We'll have candle-light and music, peruse photo-albums from our 10 years together. Maybe dig up some of the good memories to laugh about. I can't think of anything more romantic. Total cost: Maybe 20 bucks. We don't buy expensive wine. I have no idea what he's going to do for me. The most frugal thing would probably be for him to just forget all about it, and that could happen.

Guest's picture

I think that the simple and sweet things are remembered most. Whatever comes from the heart is always best, whatever shows you have paid attention and listened.
We will have dinner at home again. This year, it will be pizza and heart shaped chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. He keeps all the little love sticky notes, cards, and letters I write. So, this Valentine's, I am making him a keepsake box to store them all in (with a new note, of course).

Guest's picture

My favorite frugal tip, like many others have mentioned, is to cook a special recipe at home and just enjoy each others' company. We aren't going to do valentine's day "gifts" because saving money is much more important to us. Putting together a fancy meal at home is usually cheaper than going out anyhow.

I'm thinking about making my own valentine's day cards this weekend. I already have cardstock laying around so I'd really just need some envelopes.

Guest's picture

sweet - this would be a grear v-day gift!

Guest's picture

My fiance and I have always thought valentine's day is a racket, considering everything is jacked up in price for that day.

We wait until the day after valentine's day to do our thing. Avoid the crowds, and often get the "leftover" candy and flowers 75%+ off. It's worth it to me!

Guest's picture

You could go and give blood, it's helping others and the two of you can spend time together.

Guest's picture

The favorite gift I ever got for Valentine's Day was a box filled with cutout construction paper hearts in red and pink. On each one was written one thing my boyfriend at the time loved about me. It was really sweet... inexpensive, and that he took the time to notice each of those things really meant a lot. I ended up pulling out one a day for a few months and reading them for a morning pick-me-up.

Please count me in for the drawing too. :)

Guest's picture

Last V-day, I presented my bf a picture of us and framed it. He does not have any photos of us in his room. So, I figure it will be nice to have a picture of us. It was inexpensive.

This year, I plan to give him a box of kinder's happy hippo and we could share it.

Guest's picture

This year, I'll be framing a copy of our wedding vows and making a mixed tape (actually CD) with one song for every year we've been together and the last one will be the song we danced to at our wedding.

Guest's picture
Rob MacD

A great way to be frugal on Valentine's Day is to treat every day like it's V-day. Love and respect every day. And it's free!

Guest's picture

A - Award (make a homemade award to present)
B - Bear (just something small)
C - Cookies (nothing like homemade cookies)
D - Decorate (the bathroom mirror with "love")
E - Explore (new things that make you laugh with one another)
F - Frame (the favorite photo for the desk at work)
G - Games (find free games or ideas for games on the internet)
H - HUGS (give plenty of hugs and give more)
I - Ignite a fire (either in the fireplace or ....)
J - Journal (recapping the past & looking forward to the future)
K - Kisses (of course)
L - Listen (to romantic music - by candelite for more points)
M - Mesmerize (a smiple look in the eye, says it all)
N - Naughty (in which ever way you seem fit)
O - Obtain (favorite foods, candles, candy)
P - Playful (nothing is more fun then acting young at heart)
Q - Quarantine (yourself for some alone time)
R - Rub (your partners feet, back...)
S - Snuggle (hold on tight)
T - Toast (to another year of plenty of love)
U - Utilize (your time)
V - Visualize (your dreams together)
W - Walk (hand in hand)
X - Xtra (love, kisses, smiles, and laughter)
Y - Yearn (to spend time together)
Z - Zip (the two of you in one sleeping bag)

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Guest's picture

A fancy schmancy home cooked meal, complete with candles and the kiddos in bed early so mommy and daddy can enjoy adult conversation.

Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Guest's picture

I've never really liked Valentine's day. I think it's too commercialized and I'm always sad that it's only for couples (even though I'm dating). Single people need love too!

Every year I throw an anti-valentine's day party. Any one can come, couples and singles, except you're not allowed to act like a couple during the party. I keep down costs by making it potluck. There is always some kind of cooking contest theme involved to make it a little more fun and challenging.

While this advice is not directed towards Valentine's day and lovey-dovey stuff....it's a good, cheap time with friends...spread the love around people!

Guest's picture

Our daughter was conceived on Valentine's Day. You could say she was our most expensive gift to each other, but definitely the best. Every year we snuggle up and mark the occasion by reliving the moment. Not original, but definitely fun and it doesn't cost anything.

Guest's picture

If you're an Italian lover, you owe it to yourself (and your loved one!) to try Fettuccine Alfredo the right way. Trust me, the Olive Garden way is WRONG. Step 1 (this is the only not-so-frugal part): go get a half-pound of really good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. This will probably run you $10, but it's worth it. The pasta can just be 1 pound (1 box) of standard boxed fettuccine, and all you need besides that is 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 6 tablespoons of butter. You'll want the parmigiano finely grated (like big pieces of sand), but I cheat and just throw it in a food processor to get it that way. ;)

Boil your water (add some salt for flavor), and cook the pasta for about 7 minues, slightly underdone. Drain it in a colander immediately after. While the pasta is cooking, put the butter over medium heat until melted, but don't let it color. As soon as it's melted, take it off the heat until the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is drained, put the butter back over medium-high heat, and pour the pasta and cream into the pan. Mix it all together for 2 to 3 minutes so the cream coats and soaks into the pasta - very little of it should be left in the pan. Then toss in 1 1/2 cups of the parmigiano (if you bought a half-pound you'll have a little more than that) and mix it all together to let the cheese melt, probably no more than a minute more.

Add pepper to taste and serve - sprinkle any extra cheese over your dish. That's it! It takes less than 20 minutes, the only costly part is the cheese, and you will NEVER want to have "Olive Garden" alfredo again, I promise you.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Guest's picture

I agree with Rob MacD. Why wait until a holiday to show that you care for your spouse or significant other? Rather than deal with roses that are marked up several hundred percent for the week preceding, I'll wait until a non-holiday weekend, and the wife and I will go out.

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Buy your own food and cook it at home. Send the kids to bed a bit earlier and snuggle up together with a romantic move and warm blankets.

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Cooking a meal together and spending the evening creating an Ipod playlist of our favorite songs has become a tradition for us. We burn the list to cd and keep it the car so we can listen any time. It's pretty cool to go back and listen to previous years' cds/lists and be reminded of special moments through songs that were meaningful to us that particular year.

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Why not use the ipod gadget to send v songs to the other?
Make munchies.

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My wife and I don't get out very much due to having to boys under the age of 2. In fact ever since my first son was born (20mos ago) we have only been out by ourselves as a couple twice. So this Valentines day the ideal gift that she will appreciate is having someone watch the boys for a couple hours so that way we can spend some quality time together and have a nice(peaceful) dinner.

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I was always told that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Cook a lavish meal with lots of love, and I'm sure your man will absolutely love that gift!

Thanks to you, Walmart, the sponsors, and the other 11 Moms for the chance. Happy Val's Day!

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My husband and I like to cook a special meal together on Valentine's Day. On one of our first ones together, he tried to do it all himself and wound up nearly cutting his finger off! So it's best as a team effort...

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I think a great V-day date that is frugal and yet meaningful is the most simplest: Staying in and having both people cook dinner, and then afterwards sitting down to watch some movies (each person gets to choose one video!!!). As for gifts, no need to spend!! Why not have each individual create a card/letter to the other to express their love for one another and/or give a handmade gift! Although being able to eat out is nice, I think being able to enjoy each other's company at home without company is far more meaningful.


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As a couple, or as a family, spend a couple of hours making a simple scrapbook of old photos and documents.

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Frugal Bride To Be

My fiance and I have been trying to pinch every penny over the last year for our June Wedding. This month we will be taking it a step futher with a no spending month. Aside from essential groceries and other clear NEEDs we will not spend and cash on wants. We saved up a few gift cards from Christmas so we can go on a date, but other than that we will be at home enjoying each other's company and preparing items for the wedding. We plan to save around $400 this month and day dreaming about the wedding is pretty romantic if you ask me! It does help that Feb is the shorted month though ;).

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My best frugal V-day tip is one that my fiance and I have done for the last couple years.

We always celebrate Valentine's Day on February 15th.

The flowers are cheaper, restaurants aren't booked, and it's just less stressful for us to not be out in the crowds trying to get last minute cards, flowers, candies, etc.

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Eating and cooking at home always saves money!

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Mission: Impossible

My girlfriend and I are both college kids, so we don’t have any money. But as readers of this blog know, money has nothing to do with fun.

This year for V-Day, I made a DVD movie/slideshow based on a Mission Impossible-esque message, (it just doesn't actually self-destruct at the end) and secretly snail mailed it to my girlfriend.

This DVD has a message along the lines of “we need your help….there is a dangerous agent operating in your area. He goes under the alias of “My Name.” He has been engaging in espionage. We also know that he was the mastermind behind a whole series of events in 2008 (at this point, several photos of our previous dates accompany the narration)…. He is a very dangerous agent and must be captured. Our intelligence tells us that he will be in such-and-such location at this time. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to capture him. This disc will self destruct in 5 seconds….BOOM”

Once she “captures” me, the ensuing “interrogation” will uncover the “secret information” I have---a love letter.

This project was dirt cheap, as the only expense I incurred was about $1 for postage. To make the DVD, I used software that came with my laptop (PowerPoint, MovieMaker, and DVDMaker) as well as free audio-recording software I found online (Audacity). My computer has a microphone, so that made the narration of the message easy. Also, I found several libraries of free sound effects on the web.

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I will be writing down the story of how we met in either children's storybook format or as a slideshow/simple movie with illustrations.

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adrienne Gordon

our bets tip is that we do not go out on V-day, we go out the weekend after and save ourselves the inflated costs of dining out.

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how about burning a cd with songs that mean a lot to both.........or some handmade "tickets" that can redeemed for such things as a favorite home cooked meal, or no whining during the basketball playoffs, or a few hours of UNDIVIDED attention.......or control of the remote......

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Cherie R.

For a frugal valentines day I would make a homemade meal with some creativity of course, and set the mood with some candles which I have already and maybe rent a romantic movie and well I'll leave a few things for the imagination!

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Cheesy though it is, the best (and cheapest) Valentine's Day gift I've ever received was a love letter handwritten on lined paper. In this fast-paced, high-tech world, it is a rare gift when a person takes the time to express how they feel in a meaningful way.

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Margaret Smith

My husband and I never go out for Valentines Day, instead we cook a nice dinner at home and usually rent a few special movies and just spend some quality alone time together. With being a Mom and my husband working two jobs, just spending time together, with the Grandparents babysitting the kids for a night, is like heaven.
Thanks so much.

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Chris A

On the day of Feb. 15th, I always write what me and my girlfriend did every week until February 7th of the next year, where I would spend that entire week making a calendar of our past.

She looks forward to it every year.