Ah, Valentine’s Day. The epitome of romance. The perfect day for couples.
Or is it?
Often now, Valentine’s Day means a long wait at a crowded restaurant with poor service because the server is running ragged. And then there’s the pressure to give the perfect gift. Jewelry stores ramp up diamond commercials because if the man in her life loves her, he will buy jewelry, right? Don’t forget to also add in the flowers and chocolate. If you’re not careful, Valentine’s Day can cost you several hundred dollars, if not more.
Giving in to the pressure to create the perfect Valentine’s Day is fine if that’s what you truly want to do and you have the cash to pay for an expensive gift. However, the marketer’s dream of the perfect Valentine’s Day is not the way it has to be.
You can create a frugal, meaningful Valentine’s Day that can be just as special to those you love AND can keep you on budget.
Show Your Love with Food
One of the easiest ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day is with food. In the morning, make pancakes in the shape of a heart on the griddle. Top with strawberry syrup.
Make a heart shaped cake for dessert after dinner. Simply cook the cake in one square pan and one round pan. Turn the square cake so it’s like a diamond and then cut the round cake in half. Put each side of the half on the angle of the diamond, and voila, you’ve formed a heart shaped cake. (Here’s a tutorial if you need to visually see this.)
Thanks to Pinterest, you can search and find literally hundreds of special foods for Valentine’s Day from desserts to fruits to eggs and toast. The possibilities are endless.
Plan a Special Day
If you have kids, you can plan a special day for them. If you want to give them some candy treats, why not make them search for it? Plan a scavenger hunt and plant clues all through the house.
Another option could be showing your kids pictures from when they were babies and sharing some of your favorite stories about them. Kids love to hear about themselves and the cute things they did when they were little.
If you’d like a special day with your significant other, why not see if grandma can take the kids for the night. You could prepare a special meal at home and spend the evening together. Watch a favorite movie or reminisce about your life together as a couple and when you first met.
Create Your Own Cards
There are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest for creating your own Valentine’s Day card with materials you already have on hand. Why pay $5 for a card? Amy Dacyczyn, author of the popular 1990s The Tightwad Gazette showed her husband how much she cared by stomping out a heart shape in the snow in their backyard. She didn’t spend any money, but she spent something more precious, her time, showing she was thinking of her husband.
This sounds cheesy, but making coupons for your significant other or spouse is a great way to make sure you spend quality time together outside of Valentine’s Day. Think about it. Why only spend quality time together showing how much we care for one another on this one day a year?
Create a coupon book for the kids that include activities like “one movie outing with mom and dad” or “your favorite meal for dinner.” The kids can redeem these coupons whenever they would like, and you spread the expense, if there is one, across the months of the year instead of just on Valentine’s Day.
For your significant other, the coupons could be more adult-themed such as “one free back massage”. You could also make these humorous–“total control of the remote for one night” or “watch a movie of your choice.”
Valentine’s Day is a marketer’s dream, but you don’t have to play by their rules. You can show those in your life just how much they mean to you without spending a fortune.
What’s your favorite frugal way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?