Valentine's Day on a Budget
Looking for ways to honor your partner and your financial goals at the same time? Don't want to be a dud this Valentine's Day, but don't have fifty to a hundred bucks to drop on cheap candy or overpriced flowers? Here are ten stylish ideas that won't break the bank.
Tea in the tub.
It's hard to find time to relax when our lives get busy. If your tub's big enough for two, enjoy a bubbly one together. If not, use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your adoration by giving your special someone a bath and pedicure while they relax with a hot soothing beverage. If you'd like to try something special, I recently had the opportunity to try a sample of Kusmi's “sweet love” variety. My opinion? This is a seriously sexy tea. It's loose, so you'll have to strain or press it. But really, that just adds to the ceremony and romance. The color and texture variation in this blend is gorgeous and the flavor is truly unique. Enjoy a cup with bubbles and candlelight while you unwind with your significant other.
A sexy voice mail.
Leave it in the morning when your bedroom voice is the strongest. Rock his socks off with some seriously steamy love talk. He'll hear it when he gets to work and be crazy all day with anticipation to get home to you.
I did this our first Valentine's Day together after we were married. I gathered all the cards, photos and letters to put into a giant scrapbook with notations, captions and stickers to “amp it up”. My husband loved it. Now that we are going more digital, I may have to try my hand at a slide show / video compilation with music. I've seen some done over the years that were quite powerfully put together.
The power of a single rose.
Less can be more in many ways. Pick out a single perfect rose to tickle your lover awake with, and then bring them breakfast and more in bed.
Skip the traditional roses and go for a dramatic bouquet of alternative mixed blooms. Incorporate some pearl strands or glittery wired ribbon. Andrea has some excellent suggestions on the subject. Guys? If you think this is a woman you're going to keep around permanently, I'd like to make a couple of additional suggestions. Incorporate them only if you're planning on popping the question.
If you have a special family vase that's been around for a few generations, use that. We have one that was my mom's great grandmother's. Even if you've been married for a few years, this might be a nice gesture. Another great idea is a tussy mussy. These come in all shapes and sizes. I still have the one that came with my bouquet from Denmark (our first of three wedding ceremonies – long story). It's the simple cone shaped variety, and I love it because it was the one he picked out for me. I recently discovered that you can order these things with stands or choose a stand alone variety completely. I recommend that if you can do it. It'll get use time and again. They're surprisingly affordable, as decent ones can be purchased for under twenty bucks. If you give her a bouquet of wildflowers in one of these and say that you'd like her to carry her bouquet down the aisle in it as you slip a vintage family ring on her finger, you'll get major fiancé brownie points on a budget, believe me. Bonus? She'll have something gorgeous to set flowers in for the rest of your lives together.
Well thought out love coupons.
Choose coupon benefits you will follow through on, or your lover will feel let down. Keep your partner's likes and wishes in mind. A night off from trash detail, cleaning the car for them, one secret fantasy fulfilled, their favorite dish made whenever they want or a foot rub on demand are all great ideas to honor the efforts and needs of the one you're with. They also won't run your monthly budget into the ditch. Here's a link to several different coupons you can send electronically. (I like the one for a simple dinner on the grill.) If you like the idea of a coupon book slid into a homemade card, this link has some you can print off a page at a time using colored paper.
Celebrate your artistic side.
If you are great at sketching, do a tasteful black and white nude of your lover to frame for your bedroom. Or capture your special someone in laughter, prayer or contemplation. It's an intimate gift that can't be replicated or purchased.
A really hot photo of yourself.
Put it in a nice frame and pair it with the steamiest letter you've ever written. Of course, if you want to go for something more conservative, present one he can put on his desk at work. Still include the steamy letter, though.
Compile a CD.
Out of all the wedding presents we received, this was our favorite. If you're going to incorporate it into your Valentine's program however, I recommend having it playing in the background and giving it to your loved one later.
A little atmosphere goes a long way.
Whether you are in extreme northern climes and going for a romantic candlelight breakfast, or implementing a simple seafood dinner of seared scallops and shucked oysters ( London Lennies restaurant has instructional videos on both here ), you can make the most of the experience using things you already have around the house. A pressed tablecloth, intricately folded napkins, candles galore, wine and water goblets, a specially printed menu and some specially created background music will make whatever you serve seem exceptional.
So go for it! Don't let a small budget get in the way of celebrating the day in grand fashion, if that's what you want to do. Make your own card, bake a heart shaped cake, make a simple multi-course dinner, do something simple together or try some of the romantic free ideas our Will Chen has to offer. In the end though, don't be a cheapskate with your affections. Honor the day in some way with your special someone, even if you just turn off the phone and hold on tight. Happy Valentine's Day everyone.