It’s that time of the year again and we’re being bombarded with advertisements on flower specials, diamond necklaces, chocolates, and whatever else you can think of. But what should you do if you’re trying to be frugal and not waste money this Valentines Day? Below, I’ve put together a list of 14 frugal Valentine’s Day ideas for you to consider. You’ll find you can do most everything I’ve listed below for $20 or less.
- Cook up a special candlelight dinner and grab a cheap bottle of wine, stay in and watch a movie. A cool site with tons of recipes for $5 Dinners can get your meal planning started.
- Plan a short day trip to a special place in your past. Pack a lunch, spend some quality time reminiscing of the days of your past. Write your love a short poem, be a dork.
- Check out your local Art or History Museum or botanical garden, and set off to explore the road less traveled together. Make a day of it!
- Take a romantic stroll in one of your state parks. Look up your state conservation department for information about where your state parks are located. In the St. Louis Missouri region there are so many state parks you couldn’t possibly visit them all in a year, or even several years. Check out your conservation departments website.
- Get up early and cook a special breakfast for your lover and deliver to them in the bed. Try and make something different, like banana pancakes, mmmm.
- Go on a date to a local historical attraction, pack a lunch for the trip.
- Invite another couple to come over and hang-out and play games or cards. Have a double date and split the costs of making a great home cooked meal with another couple. It’s really about spending time together and having fun, that doesn’t mean you have to spend it alone together. See how your lover feels first.
- Check your paper for free local concerts. Have a couple of drinks prior to your arrival so you only need to buy a drink or two.
- Take a free winery or brewery tour. In St. Louis we’re fortunate to have Anheuser Busch, and several wineries within 30 minutes with free wine tasting. But don’t forget about your local microbreweries. With wineries, most of those places allow you to pack your own fruit and cheese and crackers and bring it along. Bottles of wine at these wineries can be had for under $10.
- Give your lover a break for a few hours from the kids. It’s not always about doing something together, especially if you already are together everyday – it’s about doing something special for them, taking the time to show them you care. Even if you don’t have kids, allowing your lover space can do a relationship good. Let them get some free time to run around and do what they want to do. Have a meal ready for their return.
- Write your lover a list of all the reasons you love and care for them. Hallmark cards are mindless and worn out. Something from the heart would mean the world to your lover. Take the time to write a letter or a list, and make a meal for them and give it to them.
- Clean your home when your spouse or significant other is gone. Yeah, it sucks, but they will love you so much when they see you put the effort in to making the home clean and helping out.
- Make your lover a special picture frame or scarf or similar. Here’s a cool site with plenty of cheap Valentines Day Do-it-yourself craft gift ideas.
- Call some friends and get out of town. Why not consider calling old friends and reconnecting for a night out at their house. Spend the night at their house and make it a party. Obviously your friends need to consent, and you don’t want to invite yourself. But bargain with them, host me this time – and we’ll host you next time. Make it a no obligation call – tell them you don’t care if they already have something planned and won’t hurt your feelings if they say no – tell them you have a bunch of other ideas, so a no really isn’t a big deal. If Valentines Day falls on Sunday like this year, just do it on Saturday night.
You can clearly see above that my ideas are all based around experiences, rather than material items. Experiences turn into lifetime memories, unlike most material items. The times I remember the most are often the cheapest, spending time with my kids at the park, going on a road trip with my wife, spending time with friends cooking BBQ. You get the point, now have fun, and don’t forget to tell your love how special they are to you and how much you love them!