Romance on a budget

Valentine’s Day is often synonymous with lush velvety looking red roses and spending big bucks on your sweetie. You’re blinded by advertisements touting the latest luxury jewelry, over-priced flowers, and exquisite five star dining. You can sometimes feel pressure from this single day that is supposed to symbolize and convey your emotion of love to your sweetheart. Expressing your love can be shown with frugal abundance and still create heartfelt memories.

You may not do anything at all because you feel that you can’t afford it. Don’t skip the holiday completely. The following are some traditional ideas and then some frugal alternative tips for inexpensive and thoughtful ways to express that you care without completely emptying your wallet.

Romantic movies

Movies are popular on Valentine’s Day. There isn’t any doubt that this idea rates highly on the snuggle meter.
The following are some movie suggestions:

  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Message in a Bottle
  • Bridges of Madison County
  • City of Angels
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Somewhere in Time
  • As Good As IT Gets
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Something’s Gotta Give
  • Amelie

Traditional: Big night out at the theater with the works. Cha-ching

Creatively Frugal: Select a nice romantic comedy for your sweetie. Pop some popcorn, pour your favorite beverage of choice, and light a fire if you’re able to or at least some candles. It’s all about the ambience. You both can cuddle up on the couch or have blankets and pillows out on the floor.

Confectionary Treats

Hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without candy. The holiday is notorious for chocolates. They’re definitely decadent and these treats have been acclaimed to have an aphrodisiac effect. It’s difficult to pass up this romantic suggestion.

Traditional: Godiva chocolates or satin and velvet heart shaped box of chocolates. Oohlala.

Creatively Frugal: Bulk candy or homemade candy, baked goods, or just coffee and a dessert at a quiet cafe.
Here are two great chocolate creations to make yourself.

Chocolate Pretzels

Chocolate Popcorn

Beautiful Bouquets

Saying “I love you” with flowers can make a lasting impression.

Traditional: A dozen roses with a short lifespan and hefty price. You think you’re smart when you select multi-colored or any color besides red roses, but oops what about all those rose flower meanings? Are you accurately describing your feelings?

Creatively Frugal: Try a single bulb to force such as an amaryllis or tulip, a collection of seed packets for spring planting, or one single flower with the recipient’s favorite hot beverage in the morning.

Festive Feast

A romantic night out can be lovely. You can have reservations made in advance and can get gussied up for an enjoyable evening. Planning the perfect setting complete with candles, wine, and excellent service is so romantic.

Traditional: Expensive restaurant out on the town. The problem is that everyone else has the same idea. You’ll often run into staff that is rushed or crowded parking lots and restaurants. This suggestion has the best of intentions, but lacks privacy and could easily prove to be the least romantic.

Creatively Frugal: Valentine’s Day breakfast versus dinner out or breakfast in bed. So many small details can be created with serving a meal at home. It provides the feeling of appreciation.

You can light small votive candles, use favorite glasses, play soft music, and use cloth napkins. The meal itself doesn’t need to be fancy. Use your creativity. If you don’t have a tray, use a folded tablecloth or a nice basket. By all means, don’t forget to clean up!

Penned Sentiments

Greeting cards are an excellent choice to show you care. There are endless varieties of romance cards. A card is well-received.

Traditional: The perfect card for your valentine. You look through aisles and rows of costly greeting cards and spend hours trying to find the perfect one. Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-giving holiday and that is reflected in the stores. In the mad rush to grab a card and get it delivered, you just sign it “with love”.

Creatively Frugal: Try love coupons, homemade card, handwritten letter, or cut out cartoons from newspaper and add a few words to it. It’s so much more sincere in your own words from your heart. It’s all about the presentation. Don’t just toss your handwritten sentiment at your love.

Delightful Pampering

Cupid’s arrow is sure to hit when you give your love a day of overindulgence. Being carefree is so appealing.

Traditional: Spending a ton of cash on a spa day gift certificate for your sweetie.

Creatively Frugal: Make a comfort box. In the box add a cd, scented lotions, bubble bath, hairbrush, candles, tea, cocoa, coffee, book, bookmark, and give a massage from you.

As you can see, creating loving and memorable moments doesn’t have to carry exorbitant prices. It’s a day of expressing your affection and doesn’t have to break the bank. Traditional romance can be nice, but it is often overrated. Being creatively frugal is a gift of the heart. Give your loved one the gift of your time and thoughtfulness.

If you’re desperate and reading this, I’ll leave you with a small list of last minute ideas:

  • Dance to a slow song.
  • Take a walk and hold hands.
  • Take a drive and tell your love your feelings from your heart.
  • Go to a local playground and play on the swings.
  • Read to your sweetie or recite a romantic song.
  • Add red to the day with red cookies, clothing, candles, lipstick, red fruit, etc.
  • Sit and talk and reminisce and talk about your dreams together.
  • Play a board game or assemble a puzzle together.
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset together.
  • Find a trophy at the thrift store to give.
  • Place notes in hidden places in the house for them to find. It’s extra special when they don’t find them all and come across them after the holiday is over.
  • Frame a picture of the two of you or a place you both have enjoyed together, or make a collage of sentimental tokens collected during your relationship.
  • Balloons are nice gift. Keep in mind that you can tuck a note inside a latex balloon before filling it or attach an item to a balloon.

Happy Valentine’s Day and here’s wishing that love fills the air as you celebrate with your dearest.

Article by:

Sara Noel is a freelance writer and the Editor/Publisher of Frugal Village and Homestead Garden Visit both these sites for information on getting back to basics through frugality, gardening, lost arts, simplicity, homesteading, and natural family living.

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