For many people Valentine’s Day is a chance to spoil their partner. But they often spend more money on gifts and dinner than they should. This holiday why not try to celebrate without blowing your budget? There are a variety of inexpensive and free entertainment options, along with heartfelt, creative gift ideas that will cost you a lot less and still make the day memorable. Here are some tips:
Make Your Own Valentine’s Day Meal
Instead of taking out your valentine for an expensive dinner, try making dinner. You’ll put more effort into it and it will cost a lot less. Make your sweetheart’s favorite meal (with dessert, of course) and serve it by candlelight. Don’t forget the wine. You can pick up a bottle for $10 or less at grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. If you aren’t good at cooking, put together a platter of cheeses and charcuterie with bread, olive oil and fruits. Don’t underestimate the comfort of your own home. Dinner alone with your loved one in a warm surrounding is a lot more romantic than dining out at a crowded restaurant.
Make Your Own Card
Don’t be afraid to make your own Valentine’s Day card. Creating it yourself makes it more meaningful and personal than a store bought card, and it will cost you less. Try taking the best photo of you and your significant other, and use it as the front of a black card. Inside, you can write about how much the moment captured in the photo means to you. Another idea is to cut out phrases or words from Valentine’s inspired stories in magazines and attach them to a black card.
Create a Gift by Hand
Making something for your love by hand shows the kind of thoughtfulness and effort that a store bought box of chocolates does not. You don’t have to be the most creative person on Earth to make a great gift. Print out photos and create a photo album, collage or scrapbook. Go fancy and make a Memory Box –
find a wooden box and put in items that remind you of experiences you’ve shared or remembrances of places you’ve visited together.
Purchase Secondhand Jewelry
During the holiday many stores mark up their jewelry prices in anticipation of the increase in customer activity. But you can avoid these inflated costs by purchasing estate jewelry, which is the industry’s term for used jewelry found in antique stores. Go for style over authentic gems when perusing secondhand shops. You are guaranteed to find something unique.
Create a Custom Playlist
Go classic and create an album of songs that make you think about your loved one, especially songs you love together. Burn a CD or create a digital playlist and artwork and upload them to a flash drive to give as a gift. There are a variety of flash drives out there that feature cool patterns or fictional characters. Get one that your significant other will enjoy. Make sure to create a custom cover for it by finding a romantic image or creating one yourself from photos.
Enjoy Some Inexpensive Entertainment
You don’t have to leave your place on Valentine’s Day if you don’t want to. Save money by staying in and watching cheesy, romantic movies on Netflix. If you do want to hit the town, you don’t have to see a Broadway musical or a big concert and spend hundreds of dollars. There are a variety of fun spots to go that cost less or are free. Places like museums, art galleries, cultural centers, improv clubs, small theater companies and coffee houses are great options.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day Early
Why not celebrate Valentine’s Day a week early? Flowers will be a lot cheaper and you’ll have a better selection to choose from. Celebrating on an earlier date will also make for a great surprise; something your sweetheart will not expect.