Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. You can run but you can’t hide…Or can you?
I’m pretty indifferent about Valentine’s Day because I think it’s important to stop and acknowledge your loved ones and show them how much you care, but at the same time, I don’t think that involves purchasing tons of expensive candy, cards, and standing in a long line to wait for dinner at a restaurant.
I absolutely can’t stand going to restaurants or dinner on Valentine’s Day because everybody does it and you’re screwed if you are actually hungry because there’s almost always a wait. This is why my husband and I will be going to breakfast or eating at home this year.
It’s important to determine how important or necessary holiday spending is to you to ensure that you are managing your money wisely. In 2014, a survey indicated people spend an average of $133.91 on Valentine’s Day shenanigans like dinner gifts, etc.
If you still want to acknowledge Valentine’s Day for because you like the holiday and general and want to spend more time with your significant other, here are some frugal ways to escape the crowds, save money, and spend time quality time with your partner or loved one.
Ride Bikes Together (weather permitting)
Shockingly enough, the weather has been pretty mind in the Chicago area, but most people will probably not be out riding bikes together in February unless they’re in one of those dedicated biking groups 🙂 However, if the weather is manageable in your area, you could go on a nice relaxing bike ride together through a scenic trail while enjoying some good conversation and a refreshing workout.
Head to the Library
You can read books of course, but I was thinking something more along the lines of using their secluded space to have a private painting date with your significant other. See if your library will let you reserve one of their private study rooms, a craft room or a different secluded area so you can have a BYOP (bring your own paint) date.
As long as you create something small and are neat, it shouldn’t be a problem. You can pick up items for your painting project at a craft store like Michael’s or even stores like Target or Walmart. I personally love paint by numbers because it’s cheap, non-messy and easy for people who don’t normally create art.
Stay in for the Day
If all you need is each other, why go out on the town for the entire day? You can sleep in, eat breakfast in bed, watch movies, play games, tell stories, or whatever floats your boat. For dinner, you can cook a unique meal together and utilize YouTube tutorials to host your own in-house cooking class. Or you can invite friends over for a potluck.
Game nights are famous at my house. We have a ton of classic board games I’ve picked up from thrift stores over the years and we have an original Nintendo 64 along with an original PlayStation system.
Our favorite board games to play are Sorry, Monopoly, and LIFE.
Game nights are a great way for us to put down our phones and engage in each other while embracing our competitive sides as well.
Cook Together and Check Out a New T.V. Series
How often do you cook alongside your significant other? If the answer is next to never, this is yet another romantic way to spend time together and create something new. Find an easy but delicious meal to cook then consider adding a tasty dessert.
You can literally prepare yourself a 3-4 course meal and spend way less than you would at a restaurant. I always wonder why people don’t cook at home all the time.
Then, head to Netflix or Hulu and find a good show you both can get into. I love starting new series with my husband and binge watching most of the episodes. We’ve found some great shows on both Netflix and Hulu but if you can’t find that you’re looking for, you can always head to your local library to check out their selection as well.
Brunch at a Local Café
If you still want to venture out and share a meal together on Valentine’s Day and not have to cook it yourselves, there’s nothing wrong with that. I would opt for a super early breakfast or a brunch right before lunchtime since crowds of people usually come out around the evening.
Breakfast food is generally less expensive than lunch or dinner food so this can be a double win.
Affordable Gift Ideas
If you plan on exchanging token gifts this year, here’s a list of a few affordable gift ideas that are sure to impress.
Handwritten Love Note
Skip the generic cards and write about how you really feel this year. Last year I simply wrote my husband a nice letter in my own words and it’s still hung up in the house to this day. Before that, I sent him an email listing 10 reasons why I knew we would marry each other (cheese I know, but we got married last year!). A letter from your own words and perspective may be more meaningful to the recipient.
Custom CD or Playlist
If you both like music, create a custom CD or playlist by gathering songs on your computer. This can be a clutter-free and long-lasting gift he or she will enjoy.
Acts of Service
Sometimes it’s not all about material items, especially if your household doesn’t need anymore stuff. If there is a chore or task that you can perform for someone to make their day and life easier, do it without hesitation. Who knows, your act of service may speak louder than a physical gift if it saves someone time, money, and energy.
Something I saw on television a few weeks ago that was pretty thoughtful was a DIY favor coupon book. Basically, it’s a small book you create for your partner that includes ‘coupons’ with special favors or chores listed on them that you can do when your partner wants to redeem them.
It’s a cute way of saying you’ll do the dishes, fold the laundry or make dinner for your significant other when they are feeling too tired or busy to take on the task.
If you’re looking for additional ways to make Valentine’s Day more affordable, an archived episode of the Financial Conversation podcast. The ladies and I are discussing our love and dislike for the popular holiday, determining your love language, and how to make your relationship about more than just money.
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