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Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and it’s just around the corner. My partner and I have been celebrating “Valentine’s Day on a budget” for five years now. Here are our secret tips and tricks to show your significant other that you care, without having to really spend a lot of money. Whether or not you have already made your Valentine’s Day plans, you may pick up some new budget-friendly ideas.

Tip #1: Pick a different date

Businesses usually raise the prices around Valentine’s Day. Instead of competing with the rest of the world and paying top dollar, consider celebrating Valentine’s Day a couple days later. For my partner and me, picking a different date means that we are celebrating it because we think it is important to recognize our love and appreciate one another but don’t want to buy into the consumerist culture around us. By picking a different date, you can make this commercial holiday truly yours and create your own memories around it.

Tip #2: Make your own meal

On Valentine’s Day, eating out is expensive. Sometime restaurants charge almost double their normal prices. Alternatively, you can make a lovely dinner at home. The second year we were dating, I challenged my partner to make a meal at home instead of simply buying it. Little did I know that he would pull out all the stops and make a  three course meal that I still remember to this day…cream of mushroom soup, lemon and dill salmon with veggies, and banoffee pie, all from scratch! The effort and love that he put into the meal touched my heart. You don’t have to be a budding chef like my partner, just check out this website for easy recipes: http://allrecipes.com/. You can make the evening more special by choosing a different spot, for example you could setup a picnic blanket, some candles and some cushions in the living room to set the mood.

Tip #3: Give I.O.U. coupons

This may sound cheesy, but it’s a great way to give gifts that are more meaningful and personal than something store bought. For example, if there is a chore you usually avoid because you don’t like to do it, like vacuuming, give an IOU coupon for this so your partner gets a break from it.  The other person will recognize that even though that may not be your strength, you are trying and are willing to do it. Or you could get a little more romantic with your IOUs and give a candlelight dinner, a massage, an evening out dancing, etc . If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, you can find templates online, such as: http://parenting.leehansen.com/Printables/love-coupons.htm.

Tip #4: Save on flowers

If you celebrate Valentine’s Day a couple days later, flowers can cost 50% less. Alternatively, you could make your own flowers that last forever. One year my partner made me origami flowers using step-by-step instructions from a library book and various websites. After 5 years, I still cherish these flowers, I often admire the folding and learning that went into making these striking flowers. If you don’t have the time to make your own flowers, pick some up from a grocery store. Pick ones in the fridge that still have closed buds—in a few hours at room temperature they will bloom and look like a $80 bouquet when you only paid $25. Roses are an expensive flower and even more expensive on Valentine’s Day. Instead of buying your partner roses, find out what other flowers they like and buy those. And remember, quantity doesn’t matter, it’s the thought that counts.
Valentine’s Day is all about expressing your love for one another and making the person in your life feel special. These are only a handful of cost effective ways you can express your love to your significant other. With a little imagination and planning, it is easy to celebrate and enjoy this proclamation of love on a budget. Try one of these ideas and let me know how it went.

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