Save Valentine’s Day and Your Budget

Alright men, next Sunday is when restaurants, card makers, jewelers, flower growers, etc. expect you to save them from a struggling economy and spend your past month’s worth of income on your girlfriend/spouse/date… This may sound like an overwhelming task, but you may be able to earn a few brownie points from the lady with some creative yet low cost ideas. Here are some ideas provided by women I asked about surviving Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank. Feel free to share your own creative ideas in the comments below.

Make the Card Personal

It’s easy to go pick up a cute card at Target with some sweet phrases on it, but why spend $5.00 on some corporate parchment. Be a little crafty and throw together your own card. Write your own personal comments reminding her of some of your best memories then throw on some hearts or flowers or whatever she likes. If you want to be brave, set up some clues that lead her to flowers or dinner. Just remember, it’s the thought that counts and if you really do “put your heart into it” she’ll notice.

Take Action

Remember all those times your woman nags you for not doing something. Well, now’s your chance to cash in. Surprise her by cleaning up for once, washing her car, or doing something else she would appreciate. This is cheap but shows a lot of “love”. If you want to take it a step further, throw in a “free massage” coupon in the card you made for her (to keep it cheap you can provide the massage).

Flower(s)

A few good options here. If you’re sticking with the traditional bouquet, find a local farmers market or something similar that is cheaper than a florist while still maintaining the freshness. Surprise her on Friday with free delivery by you during lunch, or sneak them to her some time on Sunday.

One recommendation I got is to keep it simple with one nice flower. You probably need to surround this with other creative ideas to make it work (like a fun card or dessert).

A Dinner to Remember

Forgot to make a reservation or think it’s overpriced? Consider cooking yourself. Think back to a meal she likes and prepare well ahead of time. Top it off with some romantic candles and nice music. If you don’t have a jazzy music collection try setting up Pandora on your computer or iPhone to provide a romantic mood.

If she wants to go out to eat but doesn’t really care if it’s super romantic, you can also go with another couple to avoid waiting for a table. I once took my wife (girlfriend at the time) to a restaurant with another couple and got sat immediately because a table for six wasn’t being used. Just be cautious and make sure you know this won’t upset your date.

Finish Strong

Now chocolate/dessert may be the way to cap off a nice date, but don’t skimp for that overpriced box of goodies. If you figured out something to cook for dinner, consider rolling out and picking up a nice dessert. If you ate out, do the opposite and have something waiting for you two afterwards. Hopefully you know what she likes, but if not, dial up one of her friends real quick and find out.

Other Links

In the end, this may sound a little cheesy, but is the status quo “break the bank” mentality worth it or even meaningful to her? Let Valentine’s Day simply be a reminder to do something for her and not a reason to redo your budget.

Check out more inexpensive Valentine’s ideas at OneMoneyDesign.com including

  • Dance Lessons
  • Cooking Lessons
  • Ice Skating

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