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

By Linsey Knerl on 29 January 2009 (Updated 18 September 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
Kathy

We always rent the first movie we ever saw together and then pair it with one of the latest newer romantic movies....then snuggle away.

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Vicki Wurgler

we like to buy a bottle of wine, rent a movie and snuggle on the couch

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Sharon Gusky

I shop the day after Valentines Day for the following year's gifts. It's a great time to buy valentines stuffed animals,pens etc for the kids and red ties and shirts for my husband. I put them away for the year and then add the candy etc before the actual day to complete the gift.

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Guest

In the past money has been short on this holiday and only having a part time job doesnt help (im only 18) but making a gift cards drawing or some wood carving or paintings always show that you care more than something you can buy in a store.

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Mike D

Instead of going out to dinner, go to the place you would have and get take-out from there. Same meal, but you get to eat it at home, peace and quiet, and no tip or drinks to pay for.

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MARILOUISE

The best gift I ever got for Vday was a hand made coupon book from my hubby with vouchers good for foot rubs, back massages, a home cooked by him meal, viewing my favorite dvd with me and a few other things I wont mention. I loved it and he soared up the ladder with that one.

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David

If your wife is like mine she refuses to have flowers because they are expensive. Going to the grocery and picking up a nice bouquet that is inexpensive will may her eyes tear up in joy and not get her heart fired up due to the cost.

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Sheila B

I like to make my own cards,much more meaningful and also bake hubby his favorite strawberry cake!

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Chade

Just keep it simple.

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Natalie Hartford

My tip would be to just make gifts and cards. Make a nice homecooked meal, and snuggle and watch a romantic movie.

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Jen S.

Making photo albums for each other filled with all kinds of fun memories of us together.

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Molly Capel

My best vday tip, is to skip buying presents. Take the time to write a love letter to one another. Give them to each other over a picnic at the park. Or over sharing a milkshake at McDs.

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Christine B

Instead of going out for an expensive dinner, the restaurants will be packed anyway, go out for a romantic dessert and coffee. Find a quiet cafe and sit at the back and enjoy each others company and not have the stress of waiting for an enormous bill at the end of the meal.

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Lisa Brown

Just planning some alone time together-just the two of us

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Robin

I usually write a short note and we enjoy a romantic dinner at home

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Katie

Last year I decided to go GREEN for Valentines Day. I didn't really have much money to spend, so I went to the local craft store and got red food coloring and made a larger than life heart in the snow. The tricky part was trying not to flatten the design and lettering. He simply loved it and the heartfelt Valentine lasted a couple of weeks until the snow melted. Heck it lasted longer than my flowers. It made him blush.

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Teresa

My tip doesn't cost a lot of money and is a great way to spend a day.

Go on a day hike taking along a romantic picnic stopping at a secluded spot to relax and enjoying all nature has to offer.

:) Thank you for the wonderful giveaway! :)

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Guest

A simple valentine is the best with time for each other and enjoyable food and drinks.

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Lindsay

If my husband was home this year (he's deployed) we'd make a great meal at home and enjoy eachothers company. I'd rather spend quiet time with him at home instead of a crowded noisy place

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Guest

Dinner and a Movie

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Stacey V

We make our own Valentine Cards. Occasionally we'll use the computer, but this year my kids punched out hearts and other shapes to glue on cardstock. I already had cardstock and construction paper on hand, plus tons of glue sticks and extra envelopes. So we made lots of cards and didn't spend a thing.

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Eric

One year I did not even have a valentine and landed up cooking a valentine dinner for my brother and my cousin and their valentines and they took all the credit for it. I was only 13 years old!!

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Guest

celebrate on the 15th--you can get everything for 50% off or more!

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Jennifer M

You're never too old to make homemade valentine's! I'm not that artsy, but I make elaborate glitter-and-doily creations for my parents, my husband, and my daughter, and they get such a huge kick out if it!

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Gena

You can cheaply make your own cards out of construction or scrapbooking paper and it has a personal touch.

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Jay F.

We sometimes go out to dinner, but we pick a place with a fixed menu. We know what we're getting going in, and we know what it costs. We also go to places we know something about, so we can gauge whether their VD special is all that special.

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Kim H.

My husband went from bouquet guy to buying me potted plants.

I now LOVE potted plants. All around our house you can see where he's given me valnetines day plants (in our heart garden), mother's day plants (with my girl) in the porch garden, and all the other plants in the various gardens around the house.

I love it that I never get cut flowers. Otherwise, I'd never remember them.

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Liz Ozark

A quiet dinner and a long walk.

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AnneZ

I purchase small gifts for Valentine's Day right after Christmas.Shop for chocolates in the regualar candy ailse, all that packaging doubles the price.

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Crystal Yaeger

Okay here it is. Last year, I went to the dollar store and bought every cheezy V-day candle, glass, candy etc. Then I went to a local motel and rented us a cheap but clean room. I decorated it with all the cheezy stuff and met my hubby there for a night of fun!

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Michelle Y

I love to made homemade gifts, be it baking or cards or mixed cds or photo albums. It takes a little more effort but it's well worth it to see the expression on your loved one's face when they receive and enjoy their gift!!

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Kayla C Pease

Every year I buy my boyfriend a dozen chocolate roses and make him a coupon book for special things he loves like massages, snacks, and other stuff. He loves the thought I put into it.

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mineola

I crack out the heart shaped ice cube tray & use it to make a bunch of tiny heart shaped deserts. It's' fun & costs pennies.

A romantic dinner at home is definitely the way to go!

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Candy

We all stay home with a homemade dinner and a movie. I like to leave everyone a box of hearts candy. sweet and simple!

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Guest

this works for your spouse or for friends(girl)

A white table cloth, red paper heart-shaped doilies at each place setting, a clear plate set over the doily. Each place has a heart-shaped folded Valentine that stands up because of a tab at the bottom(there you write the name of the person); on the front it says be my valentine and inside you tape a stick of gum and then underneath say 'I'm stuck on YOU'. One bouquet of silk flowers in centre of table and the clear mugs that go with the table setting. Make colored bread sandwiches-I used pink and blue- and cut off the crusts served with pickles. For dessert I made chocolate sour cream heart-shaped cookies iced with pink icing and sprinkled with coconut. I used Cranberry juice and Ginger Ale for a toast.

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Guest

comment #32 is robynl; I put it in but it didn't show up on here. Sorry.

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Leslie Burford

I make a 3-D card out of construction paper. Then I find a gift I gave to him that he's forgotten and engage in some re-gifting. He always finds it amusing

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Sonya

We're having a "fancy" dinner at home with the kids, and we make homemade cards to trade with each other. We also love to make homemade decorations!

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Autumn H.

We make each other homemade cards & cook dinner together at home!

autumn398 (at) yahoo.com

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alice t

Celebrate on Feb. 15:)

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Chrysa

"It's the thought that counts" really applies at Valentine's Day. Handmade gifts are great! One of my favorite things to make is heart-shaped sugar cookies with special words or messages written on in colored frosting. They are yummy too!

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Tammy Marshall

It would be easy for someone to save money on Valentine's Day. Write a poem or a song for your sweetheart. Make your honey a special homemade dinner and/or dessert. Back rubs and foot rubs are always nice. Go to a beach, or a park. Spend the day together loving each other =).

LayDeeBugLove@aol.com

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Tara

My husband and I usually write a note to each other in a journal that he gave me when we got engaged. So much better than a store bought card, and will hopefully grow to a wonderful collection of our written exchanges over the years...

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David Martin

We like to go for a walk, if it's nice enough outside, and if not, we go to the gym and walk on treadmills next to each other, holding hands!

Then we go back to the apartment and cook up a nice schnazzy meal and serve it by candlelight, with some nice music playing softly in the background.

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Stephanie

My boyfriend and I are planning a rock climbing/camping weekend. We'll have plenty of quality time in the tent at night!

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Angie P

There are a lot of fun, inexpensive things to do for Vaentine's Day.
Shape lunch or dinner(pizza, meatloaf, sandwiches, cakes, etc) into hearts. Write poems to your Valentine. Watch some romantic comedies. ♥

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Chris R.

My girlfriend and I are going to go for a walk by the river, then we'll go back home, make brownies and watch some David Attenborough nature documentaries. We'll take pictures throughout the day and make a free animoto video. Fun, romantic, relaxing and cheap.

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phillip stacy

Just say you forgot what day it was.

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Stefanie

Mine is having a love letter created for me. That is how my husband first got my attention. He called me an angel in his letter and I've carried it with me for the past 10 years without fail and plan to carry it with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for such a wonderful giveaway!

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Christie

Eat at home on V-Day, avoid the crazy dining out rush. Pick up some gourmet goods you would never buy and fix them at home, like little hors d'ouerves and ice cream in a coconut shell. Ship the kids to mom's.

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Guest

Just say I love you!

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Sheila Veit

A homemade gift from the heart would be great!

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Paula Harmon

My hubby's hobby is cooking. He just got laid off, so he will have plenty of time to cook me a wonderful meal. It's nothing new really, he cooks for me everyday, but my valentines meal will probably have some kind of heart shaped food on the plate!
No going out to eat or expensive gifts. We are happy just to have a warm home, and good food, and 4 healthy kids.

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Dddiva

Write out on little slips of paper all of the things you love about your Valentine- and include a few good for free massage or day free from chores or something they can redeem whenever they like- anywhere from 52 to 365- and once a week or daily for the entire year they get to draw out a paper.

This is the most popular gift I have ever given to anyone.

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Julie

We like to make a nice dinner at home instead of going out.

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Fina

This valentines day my husband and I will be making chocolate dipped strawberries (or maybe even some truffles) together. We will also share a quiet candlelight meal, our favorite style: bread and cheese, salami, chutney or another spread, vegetables and some wine.

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Dawn D.

Make your own card; nice candlelit meal at home. Also if you want flowers, Sam's club or grocery stores flower dept. usually have them much cheaper than a florist, and you can arrange them yourself in your own vase.

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13rubberducks

Celebrate on the 15th when everything has been marked down.

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Genevieve P.

We will be going to Ottawa for 5 days, and then Montreal for 3 days and 3 nights. We have hotel reservations set up and plan on doing touristy stuff!

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Lolli

With a house full of kids and not a lot of money to spend on Valentines gifts, we have often done a movie night at home. We put the kids to bed, get comfy, pop some popcorn, and make a special drink in the blender.

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Chrisnoscrub047

Valentine's day... sigh.

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Crystal F

I'm going to call around and see if some of our local restaurants have any specials that weekend. We are not going out on the 14th but the 15th. We will be taking our daughters with us so no babysitting money needed. Just a nice easy family dinner. Thank you!

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Claude

Usually, I'll draw a bath and set candles all around the bathroom, along with her favorite music and drink. Then I take the kids out of the house, allowing my wife to relax and pamper herself without having a child knocking at the door every 2 seconds.

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Valeen N

My favorite gifts are gifts from the heart. A great frugal gift is to make coupons for gifts like a massage, cuddle time, watching a "chick flick" with you, a home-cooked meal...whatever you think the person would love. It truly is a gift from the heart, because you're giving of your time.

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Jjean

Homemade things are always the frugal choice, but if you still want to go out, consider going for a Valentine breakfast or lunch (which are cheaper and less crowded--save time, too!). It's on Saturday this year, after all.

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Max

A romantic dinner and flowers will do the trick. Then a warm sensual massage at home to complete the trick. Magic complete.

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Ramya R

Share your love with the less fortunate. When you are in a position to think about celebrating Valentine's day, it means you have the good fortune of having someone to share the present. Make it special by volunteering together at a homeless shelter, reading to visually challenged, helping out at the local food bank. By being together and doing something for others, it will turn out to be a worthy (and frugal!) Valentine.

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Pamela

After several Valentine's Day disasters at crowded, over priced restaurants we started a tradition of staying home. He loves to grill and I love to bake so we have a nice dinner after the children are in bed.

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Matt A.

I don't normally cook, my girlfriend usually does all the cooking while I sit and watch. So I'm going to surprise her by cooking a romantic meal and then watching one of her favorite girlie movies The Notebook which I have previously refused to watch.

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jmull

make dinner for the lovely wife!

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Jacob M.

My wife swears up and down that Valentine's Day is the most disgusting holiday in our country. The way she puts it:

1. It's the one day of the year that deadbeats try to make up for a year's worth of neglect.
2. It's the one day of the year that the women of deadbeats point to while they stick with their deadbeat dudes.
3. It's the one day in which hopelessly romantic idiots make asses of themselves because all they know of romance is from the movies.
4. It's the one day of the year when truly romantic couples feel guilt-tripped into spending tons of money doing really romantic things... that ultimately end up failing because of the performance-pressure.

My take: It's the best day to cure your wife's cynicism. The real reason my wife hates Valentine's Day is because she's afraid of being disappointed. Railing against it is her way of insulating herself. But what would happen if I ignored it? Disappointment, that's what. Catch-22, anyone?

The whole point of romance is to express and receive the intimate expression of our love for one another, right? My solution is pretty basic:

1. I make sure that the weeks leading up to V-Day are better than average—otherwise the holiday romance just feels fake.
2. I don't do ANYTHING extraordinary or costly on V-Day. I keep it simple—hire a baby-sitter, cook dinner, give her a single red rose, take her for a walk, and get this: I talk with her.

Result: She feels loved, admired, and honored.

Sound too pragmatic? Yeah, right. "My husband is so pragmatic and calculated. He spends two weeks doing extra-romantic things, just so Valentine's Day doesn't seem fake and hollow. How coldly unromantic." Romance=time, effort, and fore-thought.

Why did I spend so much time writing this when all I want is a free iPod? I haven't the slightest idea. I hardly even answered the question.

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Linda Kim

Instead of buying those expensive bouquets, I think origami roses are absolutely beautiful, and not to mention cheap! And they never die! Not only are they easy to make, but a written love letter and a nice home cooked dinner from a husband/boyfriend (Yes, the males! The women need to rest!) is just absolutely wonderful and lovely. Also I found this one gesture extremely romantic: my boyfriend made 12 origami roses and wrote a short note about why he loved me in each rose.

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Laura G

I cook a special dinner for us, we rent a good movie and instead of cut flowers, he gets me a plant every year.

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David

This year, to show my appreciation for my girfriends insisting I not feel pressured by valentine's day, I have written a song for her, and I will make a candlelight dinner for her, and while she is eating, I will play the song on acoustic guitar. Or maybe after we are done eating, so she doesn't spit her food up because it's so terrible ha! The song, that is...or the food I guess. Fortunately I'm a good cook and a decent songwriter. I guess just utilize what you are creative with and your efforts will show your love more than some extravagant thing that requres NO effort, just cash

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Linda Kim

Instead of buying those expensive bouquets, I think origami roses are absolutely beautiful, and not to mention cheap! And they never die! Not only are they easy to make, but a written love letter and a nice home cooked dinner from a husband/boyfriend (Yes, the males! The women need to rest!) is just absolutely wonderful and lovely. Also I found this one gesture extremely romantic: my boyfriend made 12 origami roses and wrote a short note about why he loved me in each rose.

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Linda Kim

Sorry about the double, post, I hadn't seen that my first one had been posted!

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Nycole Klein

My boyfriend and I started this tradition our first V-day together and look forward to it every year. We bought 2 composition notebooks, his and hers. We hand write a love letter to each other in the notebook. It's a way of being able to look back on the growth of our love and relationship through the letters and only cost us the price of the notebooks.

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christina singer

we are just too tight on funds to have a fancy night and expensive gifts, so we decided to do something awesome for each other at home. I am planning his favorite dinner and a long massage. I don't what he's planning, but I know it involves turning off the cell phones and not answering the door. Sounds like a great Valentines day to me.

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Andre1

The best day to tell someone you love them, the worst day to break up with some one.

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Guest

Making the day specail it's always the way. Here's an easy way in doing so. get some rose pedals of the internet for 5 dollars decorate the bed get tee candles get purchase some strawberries and the chocolate to dipp the strawberries your self that would cost 8 dollars together get some nuevo (soft liquior) for 13.99 and you have your special cds and make it the best night.

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Bonje

A day that is for love, and happiness.

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Bonje

A day that is for love, and happiness.

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christopher h

bake something -- a cake, or some homemade cookies

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Mollie G.

The best way to celebrate Valentines Day involves a mix of kisses and hugs, a little bit of "tease" and a bit of perfume, and a simple, quiet dinner at home -- and sharing a bit of chocolate for a late-evening treat, before heading off for a warm snuggle.

THEN, once we get the kids out of "The Big Bed", we move along to the REST of the evening...

I wanted to say "the Pièce de résistance", but there's no résistance, actually, specifically in the English meaning of the word -- in the FRENCH meaning of the word, there's plenty of "résistance"!

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Sue Farrell

My husband and I are using special half-off coupons to go out to eat this year. We can get them from our local radio station.

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Kevin Beard

Really not that original of an idea, but I plan on just cooking a fancy dinner at home, watching a movie, maybe some candles and dancing.

Guest's picture

My frugal tip is take the handmade pledge and either make or buy everything handmade this valentines day.

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Jenna

My frugal Valentines day tip would be, stay at home and enjoy one another! Once the little ones are in bed, sit back watch a movie and cuddle. I think too much hype goes into things sometimes that we forget what it's all about-being together.

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Jeni

One of our favorite things to do is spend time alone together, unplugged. No computer, no tv, no kids. It allows us time to talk about things beyond the day-to-day routine, and really reconnect with each other. Money spent - just the gas to take the kids to Grandma's house!

Guest's picture

It may have been mentioned already but my frugal tip is to stay home and have dinner! My husband and I have never gone out to dinner ON Valentine's Day because everyone else is. The traffic and crowds are bad enough on regular days out, holidays just make it worse.

Plus I can spend a third (or less!) of what we would otherwise spend and still have a great dinner. :)

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Brett

If your girlfriend or wife expects flowers for a day like this, find a location where you can buy them and deliver them yourself. Often that is much cheaper than a florist. Of course it is better to not spend your money on things that will be dead in a week, but sometimes that is not an option.

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Robert

Remain single between Nov. 1 and Feb. 14th. No V-Day, Christmas, New Year's or Thanksgiving and maybe even a birthday. That will really help you save some $$$.

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susan

We have neighbors who are also good friends. Our daughters have grown up together. For Valentine's Day, we exchange babysitting with each other. For 2-3 hours, we watch their daughter so they can go out, and then they watch our daughter for 2-3 hours, so we can go out. My husband and I look for something inexpensive to do together - a picnic (if we are the first couple to go out and it's still light), one of the local events that is discounted to fill seats, etc. It's fun for all of us -- our daughters love it because they can be together for several hours, we love it because we can get away for an evening without spending money on sitters... a gift for all involved!

Guest's picture
Eric

Bring 3/4 cup of cream, or soy creamer if you don't use dairy, and 2 tablespoons of corn syrup or clover (mild) honey to a simmer.

Add 12 ounces of high quality chocolate chips or chopped bar chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and the optional flavoring of your choice. Mint or orange are great choices.

Remove from the heat and pour into a 9x9 inch pan and let cool. Congratulations! You have just made ganache.

Use a spoon to scrape up enough of the chocolate to make a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Roll it in powdered sugar or cocoa powder. That's it. Enjoy!

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Guest

Well I always find that the best gifts in life are those that come from the heart. It's living the moments that make the memories. I always like to show my compassion with a romantic dinner. Home cooked id the best way to go and it's cheap. Also a nice V-Day pastry is nice. Also the best gift I have found has been a homemade card and flowers because it shows the time and heart put into it. Life is full of memories and the best memories are usually the simple ones

Guest's picture

Tour of Your Romantic Spots

Plan a tour of all your romantic spots - where you met, went on your first date, first kissed, got engaged, and any other milestone from your relationship. You can even bring a picnic of foods you ate on those occasions.

I hope you don't mind that I took this from my own blog post on Frugal and Meaningful Valentine's Gift and Date Ideas.

Guest's picture

I bought 1 of those spiral index card book/thingys, stickers, and markers. On each index card, I wrote a different reason why I was in love with my boyfriend, then decorated each page with the stickers and little drawings. It ranged from simple things like "I love that you always open the door for me" to more dramatic, but it was all things that I really did love. Then I cooked an inexpensive meal of roasted chicken breasts, green beans, roasted potatoes and coconut cream pie (his favorite). I hardly ever cook and he had never gotten such a personal gift before so he enjoyed it all very much. That was like 4 years ago and he still has the index card book stashed in his desk drawer.

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Mark W

i will cook a romantic dinner at home and then we curl up and watch a movie

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jayne

This year we are making our own Valentine's Day Cards! We are also making our own romantic dinner at home and watching movies we received for Christmas for our "movie night"

Guest's picture

Have a nice romantic dinner at home. Take the kids to grandma's overnight. Candles, wine....well, you get the idea :o)