Valentine’s Day-The Fun & Frugal Way

heartsDon’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post about creating some love/sex coupon booklet for your partner, when we all know it’s just a cutesy idea and no one ever redeems those things. Cute for kids for Mothers’ & Fathers’ Days when it’s for hugs and chores, not so cute adult to adult-just corny.

Valentine’s Day is coming up, are you ready? Sure, it’s a Hallmark holiday, with real historic origins but embellished by modern media to get you to spend money. But honestly, I like it. Is it so bad to take one day a year to consciously remind myself about celebrating love? We all get so caught up in the day to day stuff, what’s wrong with kicking back for a day and doing something nice together as a couple or as a family?

But celebrating doesn’t have to bust the budget; there are smarter spending options-ways to get more for your money. It is possible to give cheap Valentine’s Day gifts, without looking cheap! We have some of the best Valentine’s Day gift ideas here.

1. Keep your eyes peeled over the next several days for good Groupon or LivingSocial deals to restaurants and when you see one you like, get it. Or, check your stash of previously purchased ones and see if one is appropriate. Some restaurants do not honor coupons or special offers for holidays like Valentine’s Day,  check first. Or celebrate on a different day. It falls on a Tuesday this year, so another day might be a better option for you anyway.

Do you purchase those big Entertainment coupon books? Then get it out and look through it.

2. BYO! The markup on alcohol at restaurants is phenomenal. So try to find a nice BYO restaurant and take along a nice bottle of sparkling wine. Designated driver, please!

3. When it falls on a week day, consider going out over the weekend instead. Cooperate with a family that you’re friendly with, and do exchange sleepovers with the kiddos, at no charge of course. You both get a free night to yourselves and it’s much cheaper than a babysitter.

4. While I’m not a fan of making up a cheesy booklet of “love coupons” for your spouse, I am a huge fan of make-your-own gift baskets & bags. There are printables out right now for KY Couples stuff and other ahem, fun adult items.

5. I’ve read several money-saving articles that claim greeting cards are a waste of money. I disagree. While I will agree that $8 greeting cards are a waste of money, the ones in the $0.50-$3 range are quite nice and make nice keepsakes. I have every greeting card that my husband and I have ever exchanged in a big keepsake box. I think it will be nice for my kids to have that some day.

6. Stay in! Do the sleepover exchange as mentioned in #3, and stay home. Get some nice food to cook, some nice wine or sparkling wine, fancy beer, and stay home. If you have kids, when was the last time you had the house to yourself with just your spouse, for any extended period of time?

7. Considering a bigger gift? Negotiate! The media would like us to think so, but not everyone is unemployed and not everyone is struggling paycheck to paycheck (though I wholeheartedly acknowledge & sympathize with those who are). Maybe you do want to treat your spouse to an expensive gift such as jewelry. Go to the store and negotiate. Retail is still down and jewelers want to make the sale, so haggle on the price. If you go to the florist and see a lovely arrangement you’d like to purchase but it’s too much, ask if they’ll take less. The worst that can happen is they say no.

8. Celebrating as a family? All of the ideas I’ve listed above can be modified to accommodate a family outing. Except the KY Couples stuff in the gift basket, don’t give that to your kids. People will talk.

This post was originally published on 2/8/11. Updating and reposting.


  1. This gave me a good laugh:) And some good ideas, too!


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