Valentine’s Day for the Frugal

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Valentine's Day for me conjures up images of Valentine's cards with Thomas the Tank Engine and “I Choo-Choo-Choose you”.  Now as an adult, it seems like another marketing ploy to encourage consumerism in the form of chocolates, jewelery, and flowers.

Having been in a stable relationship for the past five and a half years, I have come to view Valentine's Day as a day that we can show appreciation for each other, but not necessarily in the form of chocolates, jewelery and flowers.  Maybe it's just me.

Boyfriend bought me a bunch of tulips for $2.99 last year and thought they were roses.  I never forget to remind him of that, and enjoy teasing him mercilessly for his innocence (or perhaps it was feigned innocence and he knew they weren't roses all along….!  I was duped!).

Instead of jewelery, I would much rather prefer to have my boyfriend prepare a home-cooked dinner for me.  Having him take the time out and do something that he normally wouldn't do, and put effort into it would be meaningful for me.  As cliche as it sounds, it really is the thought that counts.  Are you reading this, honey? 😉

Here are some Valentines Day tips for those who want to do this day on the cheap:

  • love day Pictures, Images and PhotosCook a meal– Nothing says “romance” more than EFFORT taken by one partner to create a meal at home.  Beats spending $100+ on possibly slow service at a restaurant and not having enough time to make reservations for two.  Saving money on tip and taxes also makes having a home cooked meal much more worthwhile.  Add some candles (tea light candles will do) and voila- you've got dinner for two!
  • Make a card– a hand made card with heart felt words that tell your significant other how much he or she means to you doesn't scream “CHEAP”, I think it yells meaningful (at least for me it does!).  Taking the time out to express your thoughts and your appreciation for your partner beats a necklace or bracelet any day (some other people may beg to differ… though!)
  • Plan a Date– Planning a special day that doesn't necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg can be meaningful.  If she has always wanted to go ice skating and you haven't gone together, hit up the community centre or outdoor skating rink.  Make a day out of it and surprise her with your plans.  If he has always asked you to come watch UFC with him and you would prefer to go to the dentist and have an injection into your gumline rather than see two men in tight pants pummel the crap out of each other, surprise him next time at the local pub to watch UFC with him (these examples might be kind of silly, but they might be applicable!).

Or, if all else fails, you could always go and buy a bunch of tulips for $2.99 and say you thought they were roses.  And smile.

And if your significant other would much rather you spend a gazillion dollars on him or her to show how much you care (and you would much rather not partake in this consumerist frenzy), then perhaps he or she isn't the right one for you.  Just sayin'.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Readers, what are you planning to do for your significant other this year?  What have you done in the past that didn't cost much money and meant a lot for your partner?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

6 Comments

  1. Echo on February 14, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I’ll definitely do the home cooked meal thing tonight, and then we have dinner plans on Saturday for a birthday/valentine’s day date (want to baby-sit?).

    Good call on the tulips, but I think you were the one who was duped 🙂



  2. SavingMentor on February 14, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Good luck on getting your home cooked dinner tonight!

    I have done home cooked meals in the past but this year I do have a nice dinner out planned. I won’t be saving a lot of money, that’s for sure, but I’m still really looking forward to it and I think it is going to be really nice.

    I save money so I can spend it on more enjoyable things after all and this is one of those things.



  3. young on February 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    @Echo- hehe I would love to babysit, you’ll just have to pay for my flight to Alberta. I hear Westjet has a sale going on 😉

    I think I was duped too. I just sent him a text message asking him where my tulips are.



  4. young on February 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    @SavingMentor- I think the probability of me getting a home cooked dinner tonight is 0.1% 😉 We are going out tomorrow and using a $25 off $50 at a local seafood restaurant 🙂 Good for you for switching it up a bit! I’m sure she will appreciate a nice dinner out more than home cooked meals, if that’s what you have been doing in the past. I guess the key is to be different from the usual.



  5. Money Reasons on February 16, 2011 at 9:04 am

    All I got for my wife this Valentine’s day is a book I bought from ebay.

    I think it cost me $7.50 (that includes shipping). Not too bad 🙂

    A decent home cooked meal sounds pretty good too!



  6. young on February 17, 2011 at 12:16 am

    @Money Reasons- That is really good! A gift full of sentiment AND cheap- win-win situation!



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