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
Julie

We really can't do much this year. Any extra $ goes for the kids.

Guest's picture
Jonathan Aikman

Never underestimate the value of nothing. My girl and I haven't exchanged gifts in probably 3 years now and it never matters. Times are hard, but we'll always have each other...until you come to terms with that, I dont think any relationship is complete.

Guest's picture

i have put together a list of 250 cheap valentines day surprises for my clients - mostly the men - I am a couples therapist - one of them that some love and others hate is to fill a bath with hot water - add several cans of cocoa mix and then float tiny marshmellows on top - I understand the shower after is the most fun - I for one have not tried this one!! - email me for the entire list if you woule like: cdrury@md.metrocast.net.

Guest's picture
Erin Daly

My frugal tip is to make a meal with your Valentine. My husband and I have been cooking together since we started dating. It is a great way to save money and a lot of fun to plan and prepare a meal together! We always plan on a yummy desert just in case the meal doesn't come out tasting all that great!

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Cory G.

Definitely have to go with the flowers delivered to work. My girlfriend is a waitress and she loves nothing more than to have her friends, customers see that someone loves her and sends a beautiful bouquet of red roses on that special day!

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Melissa O.

I hate how retailers use valentines day to sell us on the idea that we need to buy expensive gifts for our special someones. Valentines day is about love and love isn't about gifts.
My husband and I use Valentines day to reconnect with each other. My friend babysits our 3 kids (for free, bless her heart) so we can spend a quiet romantic evening together. I read him a homemade card with a personal poem and we spend the evening talking and remembering why we fell in love with each other. We drink a glass of our homemade wine (each bottle costs less than a dollar to make) and snuggle up together.
Things get hectic with 3 kids running around and all the stuff in our lives sometimes gets us caught up in too many other things. This is a night we get to fall in love all over again and it doesn't cost us a dime.

Guest's picture
allie

my frugal v-day tip is to give a massage as a gift -- a really good one, not a wimpy one. i hope my husband is reading this :)

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linda s

I shop yard sales all year for the "perfect" vintage valentines day card. I like cards form my elementary school years - the early 1960's. I buuy a frame at the dollar store use a piece of DD's construction paper for a mat. Cute card and present all in one for around $1.50

Guest's picture
Sharon Seneker

I save money by not paying full price for Valentine candy which because of packaging is higher priced than many regularly priced candy. I buy the less expensive candy and cut out pink hearts or use stickers to decorate these candy gifts for a fraction of the costs! Thanks!

Guest's picture
Kimberly

I'm pulling a couple of toys from storage that my 2 year old received for Christmas, I have a few more stored for Easter as well. She is young enough that they will seem brand new even though she opened them a few months ago! And her Mama and Daddy hope to win an iPod Touch for V-Day!

Guest's picture
PrairieGirl

Everyone has some talents they can "trade" at little to no cost. My husband is a professional musician and for-the-fun-of-it cook. He's made deliciously special meals and played violin for me. I can't claim such in-demand talents. So in exchange, I've created little pieces of art / heartfelt momentos and offered some dedicated back massage time.

Guest's picture
Katie

Do nothing! Yeah, that probably won't work. I think I would send the kids to stay with Grandma and get my husband to make a romantic dinner while I take a bubblebath. Cheap and a wonderful dream...

Guest's picture
Tino

This post had some good links to some valuable ideas. However, had I been in a relationship for a long time with a chick leading up to this Valentine's day, I'd gather all the pictures of us (or a lot of the good ones, lol) and compile them into an awesome and decorative album/scrap book. And, to top it off, the first and last page would have the scent of her favourite cologne of mine ;)

Guest's picture
Auriette

Look around the internet for sites like this and newspaper articles on inexpensive Valentine's ideas. A few years ago, I saw an article that mentioned a pizza joint that made heart-shaped pizzas at no additional charge. Most locally-run places will do it for you. I don't know about the chains.

This year, I'm recommending a play at the theatre where I work. General admission tickets are only $8 each, the show has a romantic theme, and it's something a little different. Check with your local community theatres to see if they have anything special going on.

Guest's picture
Sheri G.

I've entered quite a few contests this year in hopes of winning something great for my sweetie for Valentines Day. Someone has to win, may as well be me!

Guest's picture

I've come to realize my hubby isn't the best gift giver and that's ok - I still love him. What he does need is lots of definite hints about what to buy and how much to spend so we stay in budget. I cut out pics with prices and store names and/or email him wishlists with suggestions of what I would like. This way he doesn't waste money on something I may not like and he knows what kind of budget we are on.

Guest's picture
Amy Taylor

My husband and I will be working on our son's Eagle Scout Project...doing family activities and just spending quality time together is cheaper and much more meaningful!

Guest's picture
Suzanne Lewis

Make chocolate covered strawberries at home.

txhottie_86 at yahoo dot com

Guest's picture
Tara Hill

We get a family member to babysit and pack a nice picnic!

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Kyle F.

I've been dating my girlfriend for the past 10 months and a few months ago decided that I would start growing her favorite flowers for a V-Day gift. It was very cheap but actually quite a bit of work! But it will be so worth it when I can finally give them to her on the weekend. We're staying in and I'm making her our favorite dinner and watching a movie!

Guest's picture
S.H.

...or at least said!
No point in going out for some commercial created Holiday...
Cook at home,snuggle,make: cards,mix cd's,love-coupon books,cookies,chocoalates,cupcakes...
Give a real plant instead of flowers that just fade away.....
Text,Post-it Note,write it in lipstick on the mirror....
Fill balloons,cut out hearts, use glitter.....
Have a romantic bath....shower....walk.......

My Frugal Tip...
A little sprinkle of love goes a looooong way!!Don't forget to spice it up!

Great Blog....Awesome Giveaway!! Thanks!!

Guest's picture
Greg R

Nothing can beat expensive good food thats on sales most stores around here have lost leaders to get people in...grab some crab or hallibut at half price!

Guest's picture
Anonymous

Breakfast in bed is a fan favorite in my house. I cut the french toast into heart shapes with cookie cutters and garnish with strawberries, powdered sugar, and a few red sprinkles.

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dee parks

Slow dancing with your signifcant other after a nice home cooked meal..

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Robert R

During these economic hard times, its time to pull out the extra romantic thing...i'm cooking for my wife...not only do we save money, the thought comes from the heart (and hands)...it helps that she loves when i cook!

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Lisa K

I don't worry about it much, seems it's all about thekids and crushes more for the parents.

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Maria

You can make a home-made coupon book good for anything and everything. They could be for anything like a quiet day or night alone without the kids while your spouse takes the kids out or mowing the lawn or doing dishes. You can also throw some intimate things in there to spice it up, but lets be real. What woman doesn't want her husband to offer to do the dishes or laundry or babysit the kids once in a while.

Guest's picture
Carolyn Walsh

We stay home and cook a fancy dinner. Then we go out for a couple drinks and desert. By making dinner at home, it saves on leaving a tip and having to pay more money for dinner just because it's Valentine's Day. Usually the restaurants we go to jack up the prices for Valentine's Day.

Guest's picture

I made a custom t-shirt for my sweetie this year on vistaprint, all I had to pay for was shipping. :D I will be including a love poem I wrote for him as well, I'm very excited.

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melissa m

I love gifts that are personal. For a day like Valentine's Day I would say a romantic homemade dinner would be perfect and curling up to watch a movie afterward.

Guest's picture
Heather H.

I think a homemade card and a mixed cd is great.
I would love to win this giveaway.

Guest's picture
Danai

Spend your evening at home. Make dinner together and save on the high restaurant prices. You can also make sure that your meal will be exactly what you want.

Guest's picture
Cecelia

Simple: being single is by best way to have an inexpensive Valentine's Day. I might go out to dinner with friends but I don't have to worry about buying a present.

Guest's picture
Jenn

Here's my frugal Valentine's Day tip: never underestimate the bliss that is sleeping in! If you're a parent, you know all too well the drudgery of getting up early day after day with the kids. Last year my husband let me sleep in ALL day, and he took care of all kid and baby duty for the day.

Another tip? Skip the expensive presents and put $40 towards a cheap motel. Just having a night away from home and all of the obligations that goes with being AT home can really be a treat.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

And thanks for this great giveaway!

Guest's picture
Carol

My husband and I usually go out to dinner for Valentine's Day. We don't do the cards & flowers. I love going shopping the "day after" and getting lots of chocolate for 50 to 75 percent off :)

Guest's picture
Guest

Planning on making dinner at home followed by something from the romance/romantic-comedy genre. Anything to avoid hype and madness at the restaurants.

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Eboni

Collect your favorite movies and spend the day or evening on the couch cuddling. A very inexpensive romantic day.

Guest's picture

My favorite frugal V-Day tip idea is to make up three business size cards with the words "I will grant your wish" and put them in a Valentine envelope. Your husband/wife can use these cards when they want something special from you and you will grant their wish!

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R Hicks

My frugal tip is to avoid the flower shops and build your own. Walmart has nice pretty flowers and you can assemble your own bouquet on the cheap!

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jennifer gersch

get cnady the day after and celebrate then

Guest's picture
Guest

Dinner and a Movie

Guest's picture

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Guest's picture

10% off all Engagement Ring Settings (Up to $2,000), Free Shipping, Free Appraisal and Free Gift Wrapping on Low-Priced Diamond Jewelry and Engagement Rings from NetCarats! Use offer code: 66f62899-fb3.

Guest's picture
Geoff K

Being a student, I've had to find creative and inexpensive ways to celebrate Feb 14, and in the end I think that it's ended up even better than if I had shelled out a lot of money for an extravagant date. A lot of the most romantic gifts or activities are free or cheap -- for example, I once wrote a poem for my sweetheart and hid it under his plate to find when we cleared the dishes from the dinner I made. Another idea I like for new romances is to play a game in which we both write down intimate questions covering a broad range of topics, put them all in a bowl, and take turn answering questions that we draw (even if they're our own). Add to the list a themed movie mini-marathon, slow dancing to a pre-programmed ipod playlist, and the possibility of making your own chocolates (e.g., truffles) at a fraction of the cost of boxed candy, Valentine's Day can be special (and often even more special) on a budget.

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trudee carreiro

My husband before he was my husband sent me a dozen roses for valentines day they cost him close to $100.00 that was the last time he ever sent me any flowers I flipped out on him telling him in a few weeks I could get at least 5 dozen roses for that price

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Lisa Brown

A day of pampering for the honey-I make the meal and massage.

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Rose Fisher

My husband and I were married on Valentines Day 1995. This year I am planning on cooking our meal at home. Money is tight for us this year...well...every year it seems.

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Tiffany

My daughters like to make Valentine's for family members. They're cuter than store bought and frugal, too!

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D Johnson

Stay home

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Kate Rivas

Although Valentines Day is year round in our household, I try to make the day extra special for my husband. I handmake hear cutouts from magazine pages and I post them all over and I bake a special red-velvet cake with red food colored frosting. The main course is something he chooses.....

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julie eden

my daughter makes my husband a coupon book of things .....car wash etc.

Guest's picture

Instead of buying a valentine's day card and flowers, Mr. Savvy and I like to leave each other surprise notes around the house where we'll find them throughout the day. We write the notes on anything handy: scrap paper, the mini etch-a-sketch, in soap on the bathroom mirror, etc. It saves us money, and it's like receiving a card every time I find one.

Guest's picture
Guest

My tip for a Frugal Valentine's Day is to skip going out to a restaurant and prepare a romantic meal together. Having a nice conversation while preparing a meal provides a chance for team work and connection. My husband and I used to prepare meals together early in our marriage and we always looked forward to that part of the day - bringing back this ritual will be a nice gift for both of us.

Guest's picture
daswillie

Write a song or poem, cook a meal, and watch a movie. Simple, cheap, but by no means lacking effort.

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Rita G

We make a nice fire and I put out appetizers and a nice bottle of win. We put on music that played at our wedding and we dance and talk! No television and no expense!

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Jesssica L

To save money on Valentines Day I usually make a special dinner at home for my husband and I. After the kiddos go to bed we have it picnic style on the living room floor.

I also buy Valentines the year before when there are sales. I have quite a stock pile now and most of them weren't more than 25 cents a box. The kids and I also "paint" glazed sugar cookies to give out as treats to their classmates.

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kathy pease

making homemade cards can savelots of money and they are more special and come from the heart..you can also make your own candy :)~~

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Jody

I always buy my wife Valentines flowers in January, before the prices are jacked up!

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Lori C.

This year I'm writing a long heart-felt letter to my husband. I used to do that all the time when we were dating but then we got busy with work and kids. I know I treasure the letter I received and I hope he will enjoy this one.

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babyromance

This year we are going to San Diego to spend time with my bf's grandparents. They recently just arrived here to visit from the Philippines and they are celebrating the grandma's birthday on Valentine's Day. We are getting a hotel out there so later that night we will be able to spend some peace and quiet time together. =)

Guest's picture
CC

We're staying home that night, though we do plan to go to breakfast at a cheap cafe we both like. (We even have plans to shop at a nearby Goodwill afterward! How's that for frugal?)

We'll take a nice weekend trip later in the month when rates are lower. And we have plans to go out to dinner on a night when restaurants are less crowded and prices aren't hiked up. Just a simple date change saves a lot of money!

As hokey as it sounds, we celebrate each other often with little surprises on random days, so we don't need to spend lots of money on February 14th.

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Christy G.

My favorite is shop only when you're not hungry. Thanks for the giveaway!

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Andi

My frugal tip is to just stay home and enjoy each others company. Going out to eat is so overrated on days like this. We try and be each others Valentine all year long so Vday is like any other day to us. We do "splurge" and get each other a card. That's it and that is the way I like it! No expectations...no disappointments.

Guest's picture
Nikki Levene

For Valentine's Day every year, we try to spice it up and do different things. My husband has written me a song, dedicated a song to me onstage, redecorated a room. I have arranged to have him taken up on his very first flight (for free!). Showing your love to someone shouldn't wait for one day of the year, but it also doesn't have to cost anything. A picnic in the park, a candlelit dinner in your backyard, a show put on for him or her by your children.

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Linh H.

Even though women say they don't like flowers they do. You don't even need to get a huge bouquet or anything just one is enough with a card. What you write on the card should be very special so be thoughtful with the card. Making dinner is really cool too. She'll appreciate it.

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Lu Ann Mahan

For a great Valentine's Day gift make your boyfriend or husband a cd of songs that mean something to you both or just a collection of his favorite songs.

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Angela Palmer

My most frugal tip is that we make it ON A DIFFERENT DAY. My parents were married on Valentine's Day, so it is their day to go out, not to babysit our kids so we can. We love each other no matter what day it is, so it works for us.

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Elizabeth Ray

Snuggle up together on the couch with a romantic movie. (My cable company, Time-Warner, is having 1-cent movie rentals on On-Demand for Valentine's Day. How's that for frugal!)

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amy

The best way to show you love someone and it's free:
I put a little note in my sons' lunch box and in my husband's laptop bag.

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Julie

Dh and I make post-it not scavenger hunts for each other around the house. We put love quotes or nice thing we would like to say to the other person on the post-its and at the end there is a small treat. My husband loves chocolate, so I usually get a bar of his favorite for him. Cheap but very good memories.

Guest's picture
kc

My hubby creates a personal "LOVE" c.d for me every year.
He downloads my favorite, romantic and jazz music onto a
c.d.made just for us. Then, I make a special dinner served by
candlelight and listen to our Valentine music. I just love it.

Guest's picture
Casey

My husband once made me a picnic dinner for heart day. It was very sweet and he only had to pay for the groceries that weren't already in the house.

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Jennie

This year the kids and I made home made Valentines ( cheap yes but oh so adorable) and we will have dinner in!

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Guest

Walmart always has a good selection of flowers and chocolates, and a stay at home supper is always even if it is take out usually fits the occasion.

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judy chapman

We make our owm cards with our own sayings and thats so cool my kids are really into this also.

Guest's picture

I love homemade cards. They are cheap and so original! Thanks for a super giveaway.

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Veronica Garrett

We will rent a movie and have a nice romantic dinner at home instead of going out.

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Regina

Some alone time is important for us. Sometimes we celebrate a bit late (bargains to be had, and everything is not as crowded and way more intimate).

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Guest

We always have a Valentines day "date"..which usually consists of a walk in the park or even a blanket in the yard under the moon. Its not about how much money you spend..its about showing you rlove for one another.

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enms

Cut out tons of paper hearts and write the reasons you love your partner. Leave them all over the house.

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Hershey

Here is my tip but please rRemember that this is a corporate holiday, you can do this ANY DAY of the year for the one you love!

Here is how I have done it in the past. I told my bf (of 4 years) I had a date planned and to be ready in comfy clothes and to bring a sweatshirt/jacket. I had packed a blanket, candles, a towel, drinks, glasses, and his fav. dinner into a picnic basket. I picked him up and went to our favorite spot in the mountains right by a stream. I set up the blanket and we played in the stream a little(where the towel came in handy) and then just sat and talked, watched the stars and gave each other a massage in the brisk open air. After about an hour I took out the dinner picnic and lit the candles. He was very impressed (and he normally is the macho man type). After dinner he got in the mood of it all and found my fav song and put it on in the car and we danced under the stars. Even after we got home let's just say he showed his appreciation for all my efforts.

Find a spot that is just for the two of you, your company, laughter, and smiles are all you really need.

Have a great V-Day...from the Anti V-Day lady! =)

Guest's picture

My boyfriend's favorite guilty pleasure is chocolate covered oreos. Instead of buying the expensive ones from the nice chocolate chop from around here, I make them myself! Buy some easily meltable chocolate and some oreos and I am good to go! Plus, then I get to decorate them any way I want to!

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Kerry

I always make really pretty Valentine's Sugar cookies and package them in cello bags to give as gifts to teachers etc

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Nayeli

I really like the shower/massage idea for my husband. He works really hard, is a great provider, doesnt get much time to himself or anything like that. I think it would be a great gift.

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barbara wright

Have a baby on Valentines Day. Then you won't need to spend money on Valentines Day stuff because the holiday becomes all about the baby. Ask me how I know!

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Lefty Girl

In this new religion of 'green', I find it both good for Mother Earth and sentimental to find and regift old valentines from when I was a child and give them to my loved ones!

Have a happy Valentine's Day down memory lane.

Lefty Girl

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Guest

Always focus on the things you like about your partner. This will make them seem even more wonderful and the things you dislike less important. Happy Valentines Day!

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Peter

I make a BBQ for Valentine's Day. Dating was tough while I was at school and I shared a BBQ grill with a bunch of people. Putting together our sparse resources, my future wife purchased hot dogs and some fixings and I supplied the paper goods and did the grilling. The moral of all this is that things don't have to be expensive for romance. Small things back then have lasted throughout our over thirty years of marriage. Tip: be happy and enjoy life with the one you love.

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tanya

I bought a cake mold in the shape of lips, and I'll be making us a cake. Cheaper than a fancy dessert and means more.

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dave a

Scan long forgotten photos of our best memories and put them on our photo frame. Have some wine cheese and crackers and relive all the good times. thanks.

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intensev5

No matter how long you have been together take Valentines Day to tell your spouse how much you appreciate and love them. Do something together --- even if it is to stay how and cuddle up to a movie:)

Guest's picture
Michael

As this year's Valentines day falls on a Saturday, many couples can celebrate for the entire day. Weather permitting, visit a place that holds memories or special meaning in your relationship. To save money, give small personalized gifts or hand-written cards. Instead of going out, plan a romantic meal at home. Try cooking food that you can share and finish with a playful dessert.

Guest's picture
Rachel

We have a chocolate party! It's like a potluck, in which everyone brings their favorite chocolate to pass around while we watch a movie.

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Guest

My tip is to find a low maintenance significant other. Nothing is better than when she doesn't care much about Valentines.

Guest's picture

I don't celebrate V-day. It's a commercial holiday made up for retailers to sell junk. Yay. I'm such a buzz-kill, eh?

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Grace

Bake cupcakes, make homemade cards, and enjoy a nice movie at home :)

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eunice

while a thoughtful gift is always nice, i most enjoy spending time with a loved one. so, i would prefer to just have time carved out for me and a special time of doing something we both enjoy together... walking, cooking, running, snowboarding, watching television, reading out loud... as long as it's done together. cheap is fine as long as the person is 100% with me... phones, laptops and blackberries turned off!

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GT

I'm sure this is something tacky Anchorman Ron Burgundy would do on Valentine's Day, but my idea is to swing by a cemetery late in the afternoon on February 14th and pick up some free flowers right before picking up your Valentine for McDonalds. Can't beat free flowers on the most expensive flower buying day of the year. To top it off, secretly save the valentine's day card for NEXT year....IF there is a next year! hahhaa

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Renee Turner

My husband is an amazing guitar player. A few months back, I found out the first song that he was able to play on his guitar when he first started playing. I went on-line, found the 45, and had it framed. Cost under $20 and he was very impressed!

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Maja

Go to Dollar store to buy little things, like card, something cute and that should save a few bucks. Chocolates and flowers you can buy anywhere else.