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Doing Valentine’s Day on a Budget | Don't Ever Look Back

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Doing Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Doing Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Valentine’s Day is on Monday and for those of us in relationships, it’s a day that can easily ruin your entire February budget. In fact, for many people it’s the most expensive day of the year as they express their love for their significant other by spending big dollars.

Dollar Heart

Valentine's Day isn't all about spending money!

But that’s not what Frugal February is all about! We’re trying to save money, not spend it! So with that in mind, we asked our readers via Twitter and Facebook for their favorite ways to save money on Valentine’s Day and here are a couple of the best responses:

From Lindsay (@_TheTraveller_): “About 10-15 of my friends and I get together and cook up a feast and have drinks every year. Couples or single, it’s so much fun! No stupid Valentine’s Day pressure.”

From Jackie (@letssitoutside): “Kisses, lots of kisses. :)”

From @BackpackerBoy (after initially suggesting that the two of us should break up in order to save money on Valentine’s Day!): “Ok ok, how about a romantic picnic (won’t work in the rainy UK though!) – see, I do have a heart, honest!”

Food seemed to be a common theme among all the responses and if we followed all the advice we received, we’d probably need to spend extra time at the gym before traveling! After a lot of online research, we’ve come up with the best 5 ideas for having a frugal Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day MealMake a home-cooked meal

Following up from Lindsay’s tip, our number one suggestion for a frugal Valentine’s Day is to prepare a romantic dinner from two at home. You’re saving money, you’re avoiding the crazy Valentine’s Day crowds and most importantly you get to enjoy each other’s company and create a lovely meal together. Win-win-win!

Valentine's Day CardMake your own Valentine’s Day card

A handmade Valentine’s Day card is much more romantic than buying one of those mass-produced and overpriced greeting cards. If you’re not artistic, a printable Valentine’s Day card is another option and sites such as this one allow you to choose your design and personalize the text. Take it a step further and put ‘love coupons’ inside the card redeemable for hugs, shoulder rubs, movie nights or whatever your imagination can think of

Handmade Gift BoxBuy a thoughtful gift

If your loved one MUST receive a gift, avoid the typical presents such as jewelry and come up with something much more meaningful. Buy a pretty box and fill it with your partner’s favorite things – chocolate, DVDs/CDs, books, wine, candles, etc. Not only will they love your gift, you would have also made a decent saving!

Holding HandsSpend time with each other!

We’re all travelers and know that the value of experiences far outweighs the value of material possessions. It doesn’t matter what you do, just spend some quality alone time with each other and be sure to find time for plenty of cuddles and kisses (as Jackie suggested!). If you want to take it a step further, take a day off from work and really make the most of your 24 hours together!

Ignore Valentine’s Day!

If you’re a Valentine’s Day Grinch and think of it as over-commercialized nonsense, then just ignore it and look forward to the year ahead instead – you’ll save plenty! Just make sure your partner is in agreement otherwise you could be in for a long night and not in a good way!

Do you have any suggestions on how to have a frugal Valentine’s Day? What will you be doing on Monday? Leave it in the comments!

Flickr Photos: Elin B, Marc Amos, riptheskull, Aimee Wheaton


  1. Posted February 12, 2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    Excellent tips guys! I’m all about the “ignoring Valentine’s” and if that doesn’t work I’m down for the home cooked meals!

    • Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      That’s probably the option that saves the most money since you don’t spend any extra. Some hugs and kisses goes a long way!

  2. Posted February 12, 2011 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    We never ‘celebrate’ valentine’s day. Never have. Saves a ton of $$!!
    Gillian@OneGiantStep recently posted..WanderLust

    • Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      It’s usually the men who don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day so it’s great to see a female with the same point of view! Do you ever feel like you’re missing out though?

  3. Posted February 12, 2011 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    If your plan is to save money for your long term trip, then probably the best idea would be to spend as little as possible during Valentine’s Day – dinner at home or a handmade gift card is just fine, as you said before.

    On the other hand, if you are already on your trip around the world and Valentine’s Day finds you in a romantic city, I think it will be a bit hard not to take this opportunity to take your partner to a restaurant, for example – after all, it’s just one night, and your travel budget will not suffer too much (that’s, of course, if you are into celebrating Valentine’s Day).

    Anyway, I’m into Frugal February too, so I say we should spend our money wisely if we decide to celebrate next monday!
    Mary @ Travel To Sun recently posted..Valentine’s Day In Rome

    • Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      That’s a great point you make Mary – if you’re somewhere like Paris or NYC then you should definitely take the opportunity to make it the best Valentine’s Day of a lifetime. It’s something that you’ll never forget! As we said, experiences mean so much more than possessions and this would be an amazing experience.

  4. Posted February 12, 2011 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    We’ll stick with a fancy meal at home this month. Another trick Ashley lets me get away with is to purchase her chocolate on the 15th when it’s half the price.
    Mike Lenzen recently posted..Scolded by the Fortune Cookie

    • Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Very nice! That was one of the other points we were going to make but couldn’t squeeze it in – celebrate it on the 15th! Not only will you save money on chocolate, you’ll find it MUCH easier to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant!

  5. Posted February 12, 2011 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Well, we’ll be ‘celebrating’ our Valentine’s day weekend in a cabin in Tahoe with 20 strangers — the only common thing between us? We love skiing and I guess we don’ t mind spending Vday weekend with a houseful of strangers. Love it!
    Jill recently posted..Monastery in Meteora- Greece — Foto Friday

    • Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Sounds like fun! Hopefully the fact that you’re celebrating it with 20 others means that it will be a frugal experience. 🙂

  6. Posted February 12, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    wicked…i just wrote the same stuff…
    flip recently posted..Cheap Travel Gears at Cash &amp Carry

  7. Posted February 12, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    wicked…posted an article of similar topic for this valentine’s season.. looks like everyone’s trying to save 🙂
    flip recently posted..Cheap Travel Gears at Cash &amp Carry

    • Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      It definitely is a time of the year that’s easy to go overboard. Great advice on your post too – the only other one we could add is “spend a night singing karaoke duets together”… haha, I love how much the Filipinos are into their karaoke!

  8. Posted February 12, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I hate the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day, but I am also a hopeless romantic.

    I see Valentine’s day as a reminder to tell my partner how much I treasure him. It is all too easy to take each other for granted when daily life gets in the way and not tell your other half how much you appreciate them.

    So I see Valentine’s Day as an occasion to make that clear. I do not see it as a reason to spend a fortune on flowers and chocolates!
    Liv recently posted..Visit the Heart of England- The pub

    • Posted February 12, 2011 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      That’s where it gets tough – but a thoughtful romantic gesture means so much more than buying something expensive! It’s unfortunate that a lot of people see spending lots of money on Valentine’s Day as a necessity.

  9. Posted February 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Both me and my husband ignore Valentines day and instead we take our anniversary seriously. The anniversary has more meaning for us. I suppose if you are dating , then valentines day is good but we both feel it has become over hyped and don’t see the point of spending that money.
    Natalie recently posted..Photo Essay – The Killer Lure of Turgutreis

  10. Posted February 13, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I know it’s a Hallmark Holiday but, I can’t help it, I love Valentine’s Day. Brian and I are going hiking tomorrow to celebrate. Hiking is free and it makes us happy so it’s a great way to celebrate any occassion without digging in to our RTW budget!
    Kim recently posted..The Best Beer in Portland

  11. Posted February 14, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    We totally forget that it’s going to be Valentine’s day soon (well, today), and we didn’t have anything particular in mind. We are leaving in about a week to Puerto Rico. We don’t need flowers, don’t want to gain extra weight in chocolate, we don’t need presents because we are focusing on trimming down our possession. I think we will just enjoy some double date dinner with Ryan’s parents 🙂 Unless if whatever restaurant they have booked rejects 2 additional people in the party (they booked for 2 originally).
    Dina recently posted..The Count of Monte Cristo- or How We Escaped from Angry Seagulls

  12. Posted February 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    These are great suggestions and honestly they are all so much more meaningful than gifts. I know people like to say they hate Valentines Day but it’s always nice to have a special day (even though it should be everyday!).

    Unfortunately, this year my boyfriend came down with some kind of stomach issue and we were stuck in bed all day! So my Valentines gift was gatorade, medicine and crackers 😉 We saved money on dinner! haha.
    Annie recently posted..Romance without Romeo

  13. Posted May 18, 2011 at 2:02 am | Permalink

    This is really a great post! Valentines day is indeed a very special occasion and now that i have read this article it makes me realize that being special doesn’t mean expensive. It could also mean something cheap but sweet.
    drew recently posted..Dating Tips for Single Parents

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