I used to love Valentine’s Day, as most kids do. It starts in elementary school when you get to decorate old shoe boxes with tin foil, glitter, and heart stickers to collect cartoon character Valentines from your classmates.
Then it slowly progresses to buying carnations in middle school to teddy bears in high school. You wonder who secretly admires you, and you feel slighted if you don’t receive anything on that special day of love.
Once I became an adult, I became disenchanted with Valentine’s Day. Who says we have to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy date night, perfume, and flowers, just to show our favorite people that we love them on one specific day?
Personally, I don’t associate the amount of money my husband spends on me with how much he loves me. They just don’t correlate!
Have a Frugal Valentine’s Day Instead
We all know that Valentine’s Day is a huge sales boon for card, flower, and candy companies, and the marketing they throw at us only encourages us to spend more money on stuff we don’t really want. (A stuffed monkey holding a pink heart? No thanks.)
But just because this Hallmark holiday is around the corner doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of dough to celebrate your love.
Here are 9 frugal Valentine’s Day ideas to help you celebrate without breaking the bank.
1. Go On a Date… At Home
A few years ago, I went out to eat on Valentine’s Day without even realizing what day it was. My husband was out of town, and my mom came in for the weekend to visit with me and my toddler.
We decided to go out to eat at a local restaurant in my small town, thinking it wouldn’t be crowded since we weren’t heading downtown. Boy were we wrong.
The place was having a special Valentine’s Day dinner, with a wait that was out the door. You can imagine how romantic it was for those couples when I came in with my mom and toddler in tow. I laugh at it now, but I really don’t know what we were thinking!
Don’t make my mistake. Restaurants are always crowded on Valentine’s Day. You will have to wait forever for a table, for over-priced food that you can make better at home.
This year, cook a fancy dinner at home for just the two of you. Put out a tablecloth, light some candles, dim the lights, and cook together. It’ll be much more memorable (and affordable).
2. Have a Movie Night
Whether you have someone to celebrate with or not, have a romantic comedy movie marathon on the couch.
Drink some cheap wine, nosh on some heart-shaped chocolates, and make fun of all the cheesy romance lines in the movies you watch.
3. Give a Massage
I don’t know many people out there who don’t appreciate a nice massage, so treat your significant other to one given by you.
Nothing says love like taking the time to give someone a massage to release their stress and help them relax.
4. Leave Hidden Notes Everywhere
One of my husband’s favorite things to do is to leave me hidden notes to find around the house (and not just on Valentine’s Day, but throughout the year as well).
They only need a line or two (such as “I love you”), and you can make as many of them as you want written on little bits of paper.
As the recipient of these unexpected surprises, I can attest that it’s a lot of fun to find them. As the giver of these notes, it’s fun to think of all the different (but ordinary) places you can plant them.
The key is to put them in places or things that are used daily: in shoes, next to the shampoo bottle, in a wallet, next to the milk jug, in a makeup drawer, or even in the cap of a hairspray bottle.
When you start to look for places to hide your notes, it can be a little exciting to think about how to creatively hide some of them so that they are found throughout the day.There's no reason to spend a ton of #money on #ValentinesDay. Use these 9 #frugal ideas instead! Click To Tweet
5. Have a Fondue Date
How about having your own fondue party at home? With a few ingredients from the store, you can have a fancy fondue meal without the expensive price tag to go with it.
If you want to keep it simple, just go with dessert. All you need is caramel and/or chocolate dip, strawberries, cookies, marshmallows, rice krispie treats, bananas, pretzels, pound cake, or whatever else suits your fancy.
6. Write Love Letters To Each Other
Write your spouse a love note, just like you would’ve done in high school. Write about how you felt when you first met, or how nervous you were on your first date, and then read it to each other.
If it feels a little cheesy, then you’re doing it right. That’s part of the fun!
7. Plan a Scavenger Hunt
Why not plan a scavenger hunt for each other? It’s free, and what makes it really special is that it takes time and effort to plan.
You could incorporate this into the hidden notes idea above, too.
8. Spend It With Someone Who’s Lonely
This idea is my favorite one. If you really want to make the most of your time this Valentine’s Day, why not spend the evening with someone who’s lonely?
With all of the Valentine’s Day marketing that’s in your face this month, it can make some people feel even worse if they have been widowed, so make them feel loved by surprising them with your time.
Bake some cookies and take them to share with an elderly neighbor or the widow down the street who might not have someone to spend time with this Valentine’s Day. The time spent together will make you both feel loved.
You can also spend the day with a friend who’s in need of some extra happiness and laughter.
9. Opt Out
Instead of celebrating just because you’re supposed to, how about opting out of Valentine’s Day altogether? It doesn’t make you any less of a couple if you do.
My husband and I haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day for a few years now, and we feel no less love because of it.
While I will never complain if he buys me a small bag of chocolate, I simply don’t feel the need to pressure him to shell out a hundred bucks for a fancy vase of flowers. (In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d be mad if he did that. What a waste of a hundred bucks!)
You Don’t Need to Spend a Dime
The truth is, your significant other doesn’t need you to spend money on them to prove that you love them. Love doesn’t work that way.
We should show our love every day in little ways instead, like by saying I love you, giving hugs, and snuggling. Those things are all free and worth way more than cheap perfume and a silly pink teddy bear.
What about you? How will you spend Valentine’s Day this year? Do you feel pressure to spend a certain amount of money each year on your loved ones?