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Valentine's Day Romance on a Budget

by Sara Noel

Valentine's Day is often synonymous with lush velvety looking red roses and spending big bucks on your sweetie. You're blinded by advertisements
touting the latest luxury jewelry, over-priced flowers, and exquisite five star dining. You can sometimes feel such pressure from this single day that is supposed to symbolize the joy of love.

Although the words 'frugal + abundance' may sound like they can't go together, that's not at all the case! Even if money is tight, don't skip Valentine's Day. Instead, turn off those cell phones and just focus on spending some quality time together.

Here are some traditional ideas that are touted as necessary for Valentine's Day and then I add some alternative frugal tips for inexpensive and thoughtful ways to express that you care without
completely emptying your wallet.

 

Romantic movies

Movies are popular on Valentine's Day. There isn't any doubt that this idea rates highly on the snuggle meter. If you both enjoy a good romantic comedy, go for this traditional option, but certainly don't feel like you can't instead watch a horror or drama if that is what you both most enjoy. Just be sure that the movie is not depressing or sad. The key here is SNUGGLING TIME.

Traditional: Big night out at the theater with the works. Cha-ching

Creatively Frugal: Select a nice romantic comedy for your sweetie or another type of movie if you know it will enjoyed by both of you. Pop some popcorn, pour your favorite beverage of choice, and light a fire if you're able to even some candles. It's all about the ambience. You both can cuddle up on the couch or have blankets and pillows out on the floor.

 

Confectionary Treats

Hard to imagine Valentine's Day without candy. The holiday is notorious for chocolates. They're definitely decadent and these treats have been acclaimed to have an aphrodisiac effect. It's difficult to pass up this heart day suggestion.

Traditional: Godiva chocolates or satin and velvet heart shaped box of chocolates. Oohlala.

Creatively Frugal: Bulk candy or homemade candy, baked goods, or just coffee and a dessert at a quiet cafe.

 

Beautiful Bouquets

Saying "I love you" with flowers is a no-fail gift. Very safe.

Traditional: A dozen roses with a short lifespan and hefty price. You think you're smart when you select multi-colored or any color besides red roses, but oops what about all those rose flower meanings? Are you accurately describing your feelings? Ah, just kidding, don't worry about it!

Creatively Frugal: How about a potted plant that will flower in Spring, bringing with it the implication of something longer term if this is your first Valentine's Day together. Another option is a single flower with the recipient's favorite hot beverage in the morning. This will show your forethought.

 

Festive Feast

A romantic night out can be lovely. You can have reservations made in advance and can get gussied up for an enjoyable evening. Planning the perfect setting complete with candles, wine, and excellent service is so romantic.

Traditional: Expensive restaurant out on the town. The problem is that everyone else has the same idea. You'll often run into staff that is rushed or crowded parking lots and restaurants. This suggestion has the best of intentions but lacks privacy and could easily prove to be the least romantic.

Creatively Frugal: Valentine's Day breakfast versus dinner out or breakfast in bed. So many small details can be created with serving a meal at home, and it provides the feeling of appreciation. You can light small candles, use favorite glasses, play soft music, and use cloth napkins. The meal itself doesn't need to be fancy. Use your creativity. If you don't have a tray, use a folded tablecloth or a nice basket. And, Guys, by all means don't forget to clean up! Trust me, she'll appreciate the clean up as much as the breakfast itself.

 

Penned Sentiments

Greeting cards are an excellent choice to show you care. There are endless varieties of romance cards.

Traditional: The perfect card for your valentine. You look through aisles and rows of costly greeting cards and spend hours trying to find the perfect one. Valentine's Day is the second largest card-giving holiday and that is reflected in the stores. In the mad rush to grab a card and get it delivered, you just sign it "with love".

Creatively frugal: Try love coupons, homemade card, or a handwritten love letter on pretty stationary. It's so much more sincere in your own words from your heart.

 

Delightful Pampering

Cupid's arrow is sure to hit when you give your love a day of overindulgence. Being carefree is so appealing.

Traditional: Spending a ton of cash on a spa day gift certificate for your sweetie.

Creatively Frugal: Make a comfort box. In the box add a CD, scented lotions, bubblebath, hairbrush, candles, tea, cocoa, coffee, book, bookmark, and give a massage from you - naked!

 

As you can see, creating loving and memorable moments doesn't have to carry a big price tag. Focus on how to express your love and appreciation. Traditional romance can be nice, but it is often overrated. Being creatively frugal is a gift of the heart. Give your loved one the gift of your time and thoughtfulness.

One final thought...If you're desperate and reading this the day before Valentine's Day, I'll leave you with a small list of last minute ideas:

  • Dance to a slow song.
  • Take a walk and hold hands.
  • Take a fun drive and tell your feelings from your heart.
  • Go to a local playground and play on the swings.
  • Read to your sweetie or recite a romantic song.
  • Add red to the day with red cookies, clothing, candles, lipstick, red fruit, etc.
  • Sit and talk and reminisce about your dreams together.
  • Play a board game or assemble a puzzle together.
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset together.
  • Find a trophy at the thrift store to give and then give it a romantic and/or funny tag.
  • Place notes in hidden places in the house for them to find. It's extra special when they don't find them all and come across them after the holiday is over.
  • Frame a picture of the two of you or a place you both have enjoyed together, or make a collage of sentimental tokens collected during your relationship.
  • Balloons are a fun and festive gift using red, pink, and white colors. Keep in mind that you can tuck a note inside a latex balloon before filling it or attach an item to a balloon.

Happy Valentine's Day and here's wishing that love fills the air as you celebrate with your dearest!

* * * * * * * *

Sara Noel is a freelance writer who likes to write about getting back to basics through frugality, gardening, lost arts, simplicity, homesteading, and natural family living.

 

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