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!) 

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

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
Miranda

My husband always hand writes me a love letter for V-day. This heartfelt gift means more to me than just about anything else. He usually accompanies it with a single red rose from the grocery store. The most inexpensive gifts are often the most valuable.

Guest's picture
Mary

Fortunately (for me) I have a completely frugal husband, who goes to the grocery store daily (after work) and finds mega deals. So, on Valentine's Day, if he finds a beef tenderloin, or even a lobster (to which at the end of that day, they are often 1/2 price) he will pick up a wonderful surprise and make an elegant surf and turf candlelit dinner.
I am grateful that knows the deals and it helps to have a good repoir with the store workers. When we go there together, you'd think he worked there!

Guest's picture
Leisl

handmade cards with personal sentiments are my favorite way to save. SO much more personal and keepsake-worthy

Guest's picture
Miles carter

A gift that costs alot of money is not a hartfelt gift.
Miles

Guest's picture

My traditional Valentine's Day gift for my husband is fortunately homemade. I make him a cherry tart (from frozen cherries, none in season so early; avoid the canned filling: awful) with a shortbread crust and put a cut-out shortbread heart in the middle of it. He loves it every year. And it's not too expensive or time consuming to make.

Please count me in for the drawing!

Guest's picture
Jacob

I try to come up with something different every year. This year, weather permitting, I will be building a large bon fire for my sweetie and I to roast marshmallows together and I'll give her a hand written letter I've composed for her.

Guest's picture
Lori

Starting this year, my husband and I are trying something new. Instead of going out to an overpriced restaraunt along with everyone else in the world, or buying flowers that will be dead in a day or two, or chocolate which I will end up wearing on my hips, we are getting together with some other couples and are having a soup and sandwich valentine's party. Each couple has signed up to bring something and we're going to play games. It's a Valentine date, but it's not going to cost us an arm and a leg.

Guest's picture
Susan

For our first anniversary my husband and I went out to a nice restaurant where we had creme brulee for dessert and it instantly became my new favorite. A few years later, he had gone back to school and money was tight. For Valentine's Day he surprised me by learning to make creme brulee himself and serving it for dessert. (He also made dinner.) I couldn't have been happier even if he had taken me out for an expensive dinner. And his creme brulee is much better than the restaurant versions.

Guest's picture

My wife and I are going out on a different day and having a "babysitting swap" with another couple to save money.

Guest's picture
Amber

We avoid all the horrific, crowded, overpriced Valentine's day "specials" at "romantic" restaurants and cook at home. We buy expensive ingredients we don't normally allow ourselves and cook and clean together. But sometimes the cleaning doesn't happen until much later...

Guest's picture
Sarah

Ridiculously elaborate homemade cards are my favorite (then again, I'm 19 and my parents still have tons of paper doilies, glitter, and the like at home for free).

Guest's picture
Guest

if you're single just stay in. that's the most frugal tip i can give. don't be desperate for a date, it is just one day of the year full of exaggerations and unnecessary splurging.

Guest's picture
Kristin

I love these give aways :)

I also love at-home romantic dinners. Deck out the house with candles, dance in your living room; no need for reservations or overpriced wine.

Guest's picture
Ben

Handmade cards are always the best. They're much more meaningful than a Hallmark card. They're from the heart. They're more personal. And best of all, they're ridiculously cheap in comparison to Hallmark.

Guest's picture
Jon

I've taken to writing love notes as an alternative to spending money. I find that spending some time in a heart-felt note, expressing reasons and examples of my devotion, is much more meaningful than flowers or even (gasp!) chocolate as a v-day gift.

Guest's picture
dawn nobles

V-day isn't only for couples but for children of all ages.during this time of hardships its nice to let our loved ones know just how special they are. Write little notes and stick them in their backpacks.also leave them little riddles they have to figure out before they get home from school and then have their favorite snack made for them. It not only makes them feel special but it makes you happy as well.

Guest's picture
Barbara

We have 2 young children and we'll be making heart shaped cookies for special people on Valentine's day.

Guest's picture

Homemade gifts are always the best. I do a lot of different crafts, so a valentine's gift might be a scarf or a hat (after all, it's winter!), a handmade plushy, a beaded necklace or bracelet (for my mom, not my bf!), a handmade card or mini scrapbook. I also love to bake and make candy, so Valentie's Day is my second big baking holiday after Christmas! I make cookies and use red and pink sprinkles on sugar cookies, and pink and red m&ms for chocolate chips!

Guest's picture
Linden

Love notes every day starting the first of February, and home made, heart shaped chocolate chip cookies on the holiday itself.

Guest's picture
Laura

I don't know if this really counts as a V-Day tip, but it has saved us money.... My husband and I decided when we first got married that it was more important to us to celebrate our anniversary than Valentine's Day. It seemed silly for us to have two romantic holidays a year, so we chose to celebrate the one that was more meaningful for us. An added benefit is that flowers are affordable and it's much easier to find dinner reservations if you aren't celebrating at the same time as everyone else!

Guest's picture
michelle

I am planning to make some valentine's day coupons for my hubby...everything from making his favorite peach pie to chores, and more romantic stuff. :)

Guest's picture
Guest

We always attend a free wine tasting so that we are able to enjoy different wines and not spend a dime. If that tasting also has nibblers, then that's an added bonus.

I have to say that the best V-day I ever had was when we stayed home in our bathrobes, watched a movie and ordered pizza. High romance, low cost!!

Guest's picture
Rhonda

Ooooh, Ipod ... daydreaming. We have definitely gone frugal with Valentines gifts. We usually keep it very casual. My husband loves beer and I seldom buy it (he does buy it himself), so I treat him to a 6-pack of something local. He usually gets me something small and chocolate, and we're both happy!

Guest's picture
Dianna

one year i made an elaborate dinner of all supposed aphrodisiacs, including dessert of handmade chocolates topped by edible flowers. just looking up the aphrodisiacs and deciding what to make was fun all by itself ... there are some crazy ones!

Guest's picture
Wise

Wait Till the next weekend, then buy gifts

Guest's picture
Mari

My husband and I are newlyweds, and this is our first valentine's day as married folks. My tip for this year is to talk about our goals - dream and let ourselves think about all the ways NOT spending money on a big NYC dinner will allow us to fund our future (even a little bit). You don't need money to dream.

Guest's picture
Wes Medlin

The best things in life are free. Write a poem. Take a moonlit walk together. Watch an old movie on DVD. Or better yet, do all three.

Guest's picture
FMB

My husband and I celebrate V-day a week or so later - that way, the restaurants are all not booked, places are not crowded and we get to have our own special day. We used to go out to eat, but with a baby now, it gets harder. So we cook dinner together and watch a movie at home snuggled in the couch (with or without a wine) and talk about our dating days and pre-marriage/pre-baby fun days.

Guest's picture
Lara Neel

I like to make heart-shaped pancakes. If you don't have pancake molds, you can use a cookie cutter to "carve" hearts out of regular pancakes (and eat the evidence). This is a great brunch.

Guest's picture
wenat

My birthday is a week after V-Day, so we usually skip Feb 14 and celebrate both on Feb 21.

My other cheap tip: buy V-day chocolates on sale the next day. :-)

Guest's picture
Kate

My husband is a great amateur photographer, and this year for Valentine's Day, I'm giving him a private photo shoot. I'll set up a background and good lighting, assemble some fun props (a feather boa, for instance) and let him take some silly but sexy boudoir pictures of me. It's nothing kinky -- I promise -- but something fun we did when we first got together that I know he'll love trying out again. No one else will ever see the photos, of course. But instead of a trinket to put in a drawer or flowers that will wilt, we create a great experience together, a bonding moment both of us will remember for a long time. Cost: $0.

Guest's picture
Tim

There is no substitute for something made by your own hands. Dinner, Woodworking, Massages, chores etc. My wife will take any of the above!

Guest's picture
Jessica

Since we both enjoy cooking together, we splurge on some good-quality seafood or meat and cook a really nice meal for ourselves, and then enjoy dinner together. We've been considering dry-aged steaks... total dinner cost would be $30 for two of us, at most.

Guest's picture
Greg

How about a coupon to your spouse for your spouse to enjoy a day off. Essentially you would agree to tend to the children and to the chores on a day of your spouses choosing so that your spouse could do whether she/he wishes.

Guest's picture
Meredith

I'm going to make my boyfriend a homemade valentine, red construction paper, lace, magic markers and all! :)

Guest's picture

We like to create a romantic setting, candles, fine china, etc. And then have a very filling helping of a local fast food joint. This year we are leaning towards Jimmy John's or Arbys.

We've tried doing the nice restaurant thing, but with how busy they are we're better off at home.

Mike

Guest's picture
Lucy

Great post and comments - I think that men don't realize how very important this day is to women (and even women don't like to think it is) But, a man can really damage a relationship by ignoring that day or letting it slide by a bit.

Guest's picture
Angela

The easiest and cheapest thing to do on V-day is buy a carton of strawberries, melt some chocolate, and dunk away. Feed each other and let the fun begin! ;)

Guest's picture
Chelsey Jorgensen

Write a love poem for your spouse with dry erase marker on bathroom mirror. That's sure to put a smile on his/her face! If you don't want to come up with your own, try Pablo Neruda's 100 Love Sonnets.

Guest's picture
Sarah

my dad does this for my mom and it might just be cheap- but I find it romantic...
Every year he gives her the same card with a new note on it. I'm not sure how many years he's been doing it, but the card is pretty full and each new note is unique. It saves money and also is a reminder of all the years of love.

Guest's picture
JenF

I like to make a really nice dinner at home and have a bottle of wine that we've bought and save for a special time. Also, I make dessert. Last year I made chocolate lava cakes.
More fun and cheaper than going out.

Guest's picture
Liz N.

I've never been really into Valentines day, and I hate all the money wasted on flowers, chocolate, dinners, etc (I know, I'm such the romantic). So, a few years ago, I told my boyfriend that I didn't want anything, but if he had to buy me something, all I wanted was some of those candy conversation hearts.

Well, he took me up on it. He came home from work, tossed a big bag of candy hearts at me, and we had a nice dinner, but nothing special.

That's when I realized that I did want some romance. A bottle of wine and some flowers might not be practical, but it's nice to splurge on things once in a while!

Luckily, my boyfriend knew me better than I knew myself. Later on that night, he proposed.

So I got a bulk bag of candy and a diamond ring in one night.

Guest's picture
Jenny(usagi)

My tip - celebrate more than just "romantic" couple hood love. I'm having a board game party with friends to celebrate platonic love. So instead of going out some place with too much food, that's too expensive, with too much of a crowd, I'll be at home with my loved ones playing games and enjoying a potluck meal.

Guest's picture
Lizzy

If you are going out to eat on Valentine's Day, go for a nice breakfast or lunch - it's often much cheaper than dinner!

Another thing I like to do on Valentine's Day is to make breakfast in bed for my fiance and me... then we can snuggle and eat pancakes :)

Guest's picture
femmeknitzi

So, I'm not a big fan of most types of candy and I don't care for chocolate. The one type of candy I enjoy is only available at Valentines. Yes, I love those chalky, cheesy Sweetheart candies with the love messages.

And what's really strange is that I like them best when they're just a little stale.

When we first started dating, my (now) fiance worked at pharmacy. The pharmacy always carried those individual boxes of Sweethearts.

A few weeks after Valentines Day, he'd show up with an entire display box full of Sweethearts! Once the holiday was past, he would save the entire stock from being tossed in the garbage.

And they're stale...just like I like them! There's probably not many girls out there who'd be happy with free, stale candy for Valentine's Day. :)

Guest's picture
brenna

Making a special dinner together and homemade cards and notes are the way to go

Guest's picture
Barbara

If you're looking for handmade but are all thumbs, there's always etsy.com- not everything is inexpensive, but there are bargains to be had. I just turned down diamonds in favor of a handmade piece of jewelry for about $20. Unique and cheap!

Guest's picture
gil

Valentine's is the day my husband and I got engaged, so when we had money we would spend it getting a nice room out by Point Reyes (where we were engaged). Even then we always brought our own homemade meal and dessert. So to continue in the tradition, but make it even more frugally we could go just for a day trip. This also means we can bring our two daughters (which saves on babysitting) and we can all play at the beach or go for a hike. It can still be romantic and make for a great family memory. Plus, there are never crowds at the park on Valentines. (Just remember to bundle up a bit.)

Guest's picture
Nancy

Make a card, make a nice dinner, stay home and snuggle.
Really, do you need all the comercial stuff?

Guest's picture
Teresa

I've taken a photo with my 2 year old and put it in a pretty heart-shaped ornament...that's what my husband is getting this year for Valentine's Day. I will make him dinner and dessert, too, of course. This is a very frugal and sweet way to say I love you!

Guest's picture
Raj

Valentines day is really important to me. As it is one of my favorite holiday's, I tend to go all out. However since there is an economic crunch and I don't think it would be smart to spend 200+ this valentines day. I've found that If I cook dinner at home *candle lit of course* and pick flowers out of my own garden. The thought and work that went into the whole ordeal makes it that more special. No matter how much money you spend will never replace what YOU do for him/her.

Guest's picture
Jamie

If we have a gift card to a decent restaurant (we usually do from Christmas), we go out. If not, we make dinner at home and might pick up dessert.

When we go out, we tend to go out on a day other than the 14th - dinner prices seem higher on Valentine's Day and many restaurants seem focused on getting you in and out.

Guest's picture
Kristina

Last year, I went to the meat counter at the local gourmet market and purchased a cooked crab (one is plenty for two adults), and had the butcher crack it for us. I made baked potatoes and a nice salad and splurged on a nice bottle of wine. I set the table with our wedding china and pretty flowers and candles. The best part is that my "accomplices" were our two tween-age daughters, who were our waiters for the evening. They thought it was a hoot, and it is nice for them to know that Mom and Dad really are still in love (OK, maybe just a little gross, too, which is also hilarious). Then, after the dishes were cleared, they set out an ice cream sundae bar with all the fancy toppings we never buy, and we all sat down together for dessert.

Guest's picture
Matt

Make her favorite dish, pack it up and have a late night picnic at any local park. Champagne is a must!!!

Guest's picture
K.Michika

My hubby LOVES anything I bake so this year I'll be making him some heart shaped cookies and his fav. banana bread to take in his lunches ;) i love that he's so easy to please!

Guest's picture
JR

My valentine plans a little trip to a special place- our favorite place to take walks, a trip to the zoo, a picnic in a local park, a play at the local community theater. The memories of these times together mean much more to me than some trinket would. Some times its free, some times it costs a little, but it's always very sweet and thoughtful. And I think it's even more romantic because it doesn't put us in debt!

Guest's picture
Vicki-Lou

My birthday is only 9 days away from Valentine's, so I'd like to skip it all together. My husband is opposed to that, he likes spoiling me too much. This year I have to work on Valentine's day (I work fast food), so all I want is for him to cook dinner, and a nice long bubble bath. A massage would be nice, too.
Other ideas would be to watch a DVD while sipping hot cocoa, playing board and or card games, or (one of my hubby's favorites) playing computer games together. As long as you are spending quality time together, doing something you both enjoy, and keeping the passion going, there will be no need for the fancy stuffs. You can't put a price tag on love.

Guest's picture
meechleigh

While on a tight budget, what I recommend for all those lads out there is to hit Krogers a bout 2 days before V-Day and look in their discounted flower section. You can pick up quite a few deals on a variety of different beauties. The last time I hit their discount buckets, I came away with 2 dozen spray roses for $2.99 a dozen; 12 long stem roses for 50 cents a piece, and a nice plethora of floral mixes for under $3.00. I took them home, properly cut them and arranged them in my fancy vases. However, I had so much leftover, I used my recycled glass jars and made beautiful mini bouquets to put all around the house. Talk about brighten a lass' day when she walks in and you have 5 to 6 different arrangements throughout the house! And all for under $20. Good luck lads!

Guest's picture
Mike C

Go to the place you had your first date. Which was inexpensive even for college kids (and would seem that much more affordable now). (This is a tip for old married people like me.)

Guest's picture
Guest

My dad has sometimes forgotten to buy a card and has, on a few occasions, given my mom last year's valentine card that she saved. However, to make up for his mistake, every year he'll decorate the whole house with all of the v-day cards from their 30 years of marriage and add one new one. The stack of cards is pretty thick now, and it is a reminder of how love grows over time.

Guest's picture
Mary in CO

Heart-shaped chocolate-chip cookies (nuttin' sez luv lahk chockolit), and lots of shaving cream hearts on the bathroom mirrors!

Guest's picture
Marlana

My dear husband does this for me since I'm a frugalholic. He buys flowers for me at a discount florist and then brings them home and adds to them with different exotic things growing around the area. He uses one of the vases I find too pretty to discard.
For dinner: he buys some prime steaks, potatoes, salad and a veggie. He serves us drinks and we grill while the potatoes are cooking. The veggie is easy to grill right along side the steaks and the salad easy to prep ~ more together time. Makes for a very romantic evening.

Guest's picture
TDB

V-day will be just another day for me. I intend to curl up on the sofa with some hot apple cider and watch a nice horror movie or two. Family and friends are welcome to join if they can stomach it.

Bwhahahaha!

Guest's picture
Dyann

We keep costs down on V-day by not celebrating it! (My hubby usually sends me a card anyway, though. :)

Guest's picture
Melanie

We don't really celebrate it all that much--we just send each other e-cards (free) and watch a netflix movie.

Guest's picture
Jeff C.

I think the most important thing is to make whatever you do meaningful to that person. If you do that, you will get more bang for your buck no matter what.

Guest's picture
Looby

We don't really exchange gifts, although I always get my partner some of his favourite chocolate- I always wait till it's on sale though so he is getting a white chocolate reindeer (he had halloween truffles at Christmas and will get the Valentines chocolates for his birthday at the end of March)
Thankfully he doesn't care about the wrappings on his candy!
Aside from this we stay in and make one of our favourite meals together and watch a movie from our collection.
As it falls on a weekend this year we might get the bus out of the city and go for a hike as well. Mostly we view it as a reminder to squeeze a few extra cuddles and "we time" into our day.

Guest's picture
Kate

Years ago I mailed letters and cards to Valentine, NE for a postmark. I think it gives the letter and card just that something extra special.

These days, there's a whole list of places. From http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Teach_Kids_Postmark/:

"To get a postmark, simply enclose a pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelope and mail it in a large stamped envelope to:

Postmaster
(Town Name) Valentine Re-mailing
City, State ZIP Code

Here are some popular choices:

Bliss, NY 14024
Heart Butte, MT 59448
Juliette, GA 31046
Loveland, CO 80538
Loveville, MD 20656
Loving, NM 88256
Romance, AR 72136
Romeo, MI 48065
Sugar City, CO 81076
Valentine, NE 69201
Valentine, TX 79854
Valentines, VA 23887"

Guest's picture
Lisa

The kids and I make sugar cookies cut out with heart cookie cutters and ice them with pink icing. We also make homemade cards. I made my husband his favorite gingerbread cake but bake it in small heart shaped pans.

It is not the gift that counts, it is the thought.

Guest's picture
Sandy

My husband loves chocolate covered pretzels, but instead of buying them this year, I'm going to make some for him.

Guest's picture
Courtney

mY FRUGAL IDEA

Newspaper roses.
Great for having the kids help too.
Can't remember where I found the idea- but I can't claim it as my own. Anyway:

Cut newspaper sheet into a circle.
Fold in half.
Roll into a cone shape.
Twist pointed end.
Open up wide end to look like a rose.
Twist a green 'pipe cleaner' for the stem, around the twisted end.
Go nuts with red or whatever paint...
Let dry, and surprise your valentine....

Very cheap, doesn't die, and recyclable...

Do I win?

Guest's picture
Luofei

Buy her a ring, but wrap it in tin foil and use an index card instead of hallmark. You may not save on the ring, but you do on the other stuff. Plus it's a nice touch.

Guest's picture
huntermike

Instead of getting flower petals to sprinkle all over, I cut out flower petal shapes from construction paper, and wrote reasons I love my wife on them.

Guest's picture
amy

When my Mom was still alive, she and my Dad would go to the
local CVS or card store and read all the different cards.
They'd laugh and share cards and pick their favorites.....
before they left they would always pick the one they would
buy for each other ..if they had the money. Living on a tight
budget on their social security, it wasn't often that they
splurged on cards but they still had fun together. This is one
of my favorite memories of them.

Guest's picture
rbee

The power of words, when you can speak/act upon each others love language. My husbands is quality time and mine is acts of service and when either of us is triggered in these areas we affirm the other. Valentines day is nice, but its something we try to manifest on a regular basis.

Guest's picture

Not sure if this was mentioned, but the most frugal V-day gift is winning an iPod Touch and loading it up with 10 free songs as a mix-tape for your honey. Of course if I won it, I would just let her listen to it through headphones while I keep the iPod :)

Guest's picture
Emily

It's important not to get too hung up on the idea of "stuff" and what you're "supposed" to do.

We like to get each other the goofiest cards we can find--something totally ridiculous and cheesy. We often have friends over for dinner on Valentine's Day--last year we had our friend whose partner was out of town over, and we had my (divorced) mother over. We made a fancier-than-usual dinner and got to treat two of our favorite people to it, who would have been alone otherwise. That was one of my favorite Valentine's Days.

If we do go out to celebrate, it's usually on a different night around the 14th, not on it. Who wants to join in that big cattle call of people, when all the restaurants are too busy and rushed anyway?

Guest's picture
Tabsmom

Best way to be frugal about V-Day? Don't celebrate it at all. Every day is a good day for showing your love. Why save the good heart-deeds for just one day? Making dinner for your honey every night, sharing a glass of wine over your favorite show, cuddling up at the end of a long day - perfect for every day of the year!

Guest's picture
martha in mobile

Go to a good bakery and get a nice dessert to split. Have a simple meal at home, eat your dessert and say (if you are a man) "Honey, let me do the dishes/put the kids to bed (or whatever your S.O. does each and every night)." You just relax."

Because as the saying goes, "There comes a time in every relationship when a man doing housework is a legitimate form of foreplay."

Guest's picture
shauna

cook pizza or dinner at home, and then watch an old favorite movie! split dessert, or make rules that you can only spend $10 on gifts for each other- and leave the price tags on. cards and wrapping paper count towards the total- it'll make you be creative and thoughtful :)

Guest's picture
Miss Anne

In our house we *love* Thanksgiving food. We do the Thanksgiving thing every November, but then the weekend closest to Valentine's Day we do it all over again - turkey, sides, pie, everything (it's on the weekend because we don't have the time to cook that huge of a meal during the week). It all makes sense, at least to us, because we are so thankful to have each other through the good times and the bad that in a way the meaning behind Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving aren't all that different. So we spend a day cooking together and laughing together, and then we end up with a great meal (and a ton of leftovers) that we can enjoy together. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

P.S. We keep it thrifty by buying an extra turkey when they are on sale right after Thanksgiving, and then storing it in the chest freezer until February - this year I paid $6 for a 20# turkey.

Guest's picture
amanda

we cook a very fancy dinner but it still costs MUCH less than going out and we have WAY more food :) then we go out for dessert.

Guest's picture
Therese

I hand-make a card and we cook a special meal together.

Guest's picture
Ruth Ann

Why not pick another day that's not Valentine's to celebrate your love for your special someone. Even just a week earlier (or better yet, later) and you're not fighting everyone for restaurant reservations, flowers and chocolate are cheaper (especially the chocolate if you can get it 50% off the day after) and it can be no less special.

Guest's picture
Guest

The best thing I ever did was to let go of my expectations for what my dh and I "should" do for Valentine's Day--or any holiday, for that matter. Therefore, nothing we do is "wrong," from utterly no celebrations, to wild extravagances, to cuddling on the futon with a rented movie. If you haven't figured out how you feel about each other by now, no holiday will prove or disprove your level of commitment to each other.

Guest's picture
Will

I like #3 on Xin Liu's post: Cook a favorite meal at home. Sharing a meal is such an intimate practice, especially if you're conscious of it. And when you put your own effort into it, it's even more special.

Guest's picture
Will

That's Xin Lu. Sorry.

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JessicaD

We have never really gone whole hog with the Valentine's celebration thing, but it is a nice opportunity to cook a lovely dinner together. We try to create a theme - my favorite over the past 10 years has been "Places I Have Visited." So there were some crazy culinary matches, but all of the food was wonderful -- and what doesn't go with champagne?!

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Guest

My boyfriend and I are both broke grad students, but we still want to have our special celebrations when we can. So this year instead of a big night out with 3 courses, wine, and all the works, I decided to make a reservation at a really fancy steak house in town - for lunch! The menu is almost identical to its dinner menu, but at a fraction of the price. We're just excited to finally go to this nice restaurant together and not break the bank - and this way, we can grab a bottle of wine and a DVD and just have a relaxing, low-key, low-cost night together at home while still having a full-out special day for ourselves.

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Kristen

We're hitting the fanciest restaurant in town--the day before Valentines, during the early bird special. Fantastic food, beautiful atmosphere--but no long lines or Valentines Day crowds.

I like to do something special for my hubby at work, too--bring him a single rose or some cupcakes. Something that makes the other folks at work jealous that he's married to such a cool wife. ;)

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JD

My frugal tip for Valentine's Day would be to have a Valentine's Day event the day before like a 'picnic' work lunch, so you surprise them and save some money and avoid all the other couples trying to do generic Valentine's Day things like having dinner at an expensive restaurant.

Surprise your significant other at work since February 13 is a Friday with a nice brown bag lunch you packed filled with heart shaped sandwiches (use a heart shaped cookie cutter), heart shaped cookies, some sparkling grape juice in place of champagne (and grape juice is definitely ok for work environment, alcohol may not be). Bring a nice little paper tablecloth from the dollar store, buy two plastic champagne glasses, have a little toast and talk about how much you mean to each other.

They're sure to be surprised and this is a gift from the heart -- which never costs much, but will mean a lot, and they'll always remember. :-) Happy Valentine's Day

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Guest

Last year for Valentine's Day, I made my husband a booklet of dates - 52 different ideas for dates that I wrote on nice cardstock and bound together. The idea was that he could pick one of the dates each week. The ideas included a picnic in the park, or a visit to a local museum, or going to a movie, or just staying in.

He loved it and it was very fun to put together.

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Guest

First I hit up Trader Joe's for some awesome, well priced roses on my way home from work. Then I swing home, will clean the house up and light some candles. Next, we have already talked about staying in and making a very simple and light meal. Chicken picatta and angel hair pasta. Then we will take a nice bubble bath. Even though it seems like the night is laid out, it moves seemlessly when you are in love ;o)

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Karen C

Lipstick on the mirror. Candles. Foot massage. (Billie Holiday optional)

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Joyce

Great ideas everyone...we give homemade cards with original poems and artwork. Takes a little thought and means the most.

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Andrew

A picnic in your own living room (or hers).

Light a candle. Turn off all electronics, sit and talk face to face for an hour. What else do you need?

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Liz P

I didn't have a chance to read everyone else's so I hope it hasn't been said already...

I think this is a nice thing to do in a park, but its always cold around here in February so we do it inside.

Instead of going to one of those "Paint your own pottery" places that cost a bunch of money I like to get 2 small canvases and one big one and some paint supplies from the craft store.

You can start with each person painting their favorite memory, or what you love about the other person or where you see the couple in the future on the little canvases without the other person seeing what you paint.

Then you two get together and paint something on the larger canvas together.

When you're done painting you can exchange the smaller paintings as gifts to each other and hang the larger one somewhere you'll both see it.

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Carolyn

We usually get takeout from one of our favorite restaurants (with a coupon if possible) and I make a decadent dessert of his choice.
The candy comes the day after when it's marked down!

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Jaime

We love cooking a nice dinner together, but my favorite thing is to dig out the fondue pot I was given years ago, melt some chocolate, and dip strawberries (or other fruit -whatever isn't too expensive). pair that up with my favorite $6 champagne and we're good.

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Liza

How about a homemade card, home-cooked meal, and a Netflix on the TV? The Perfect Valentine's Day for me and mine.