Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and this year, my husband and I will be celebrating the holiday at home. In the past, we normally would have gone out to a fancy steak dinner (a bad habit we are trying to kick), but we realized how expensive this was and instead have set a goal to cook most meals at home this year. It has been an adjustment so far (goodbye eating out 3-4 nights a week and daily Starbucks), but the money we can save in the long run will be worth it. Surprisingly, I’ve been enjoying finding lower cost alternatives to my usual lifestyle, and it has brought out my creative side for this coming Valentine’s Day. Here are some ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget, without feeling like you are missing out:
Prepare a Special Dinner at Home
My husband and I love going out for steak dinners (and at one point did this as a monthly tradition), but hate the high prices most restaurants charge. We discovered it’s easy to make a great steak at home for the fraction of the cost of eating out, and it tastes just as delicious! Plus, trying out new recipes and cooking together is half of the fun. To make the meal even more special, try preparing an appetizer and dessert along with the main course.
Opt for a Valentine’s Day Breakfast or Lunch
If you have your heart set on going out for Valentine’s Day, try planning a breakfast or lunch date when meals tend to be priced lower than dinner. Before picking a place, check out deal sites such as Groupon or LivingSocial to see if there are any coupons for restaurants in your area.
Go on a Free Day Date
Two years ago, my husband and I spent Valentine’s Day sightseeing and visiting local spots I’d never been to. We started the morning at Snoqualmie Falls, went on a scenic mountain drive, and finished the day watching the sunset on the beach in West Seattle. It was fun to visit new places together and take advantage of the free local scenery.
Skip Flower Delivery Services
Avoid ordering flowers online or paying for any flower delivery services. They are overpriced, never look like the pictures, and are not very personal. Instead, visit your local flower stand for fresh flowers at low costs. We have a flower stand at the gas station near my home that sells the best flowers bouquets around for only $20 (pictured below)!
Make a Non-Flower Bouquet
Get creative and make your own “bouquet” out of anything other than just flowers. In the past, my husband made me a “candy bouquet” by taping candy to wooden skewers and mixing them in with a bouquet of flowers. You could also skip flowers entirely, and just fill a vase with the candy “flowers”.
Alternatively, create a manly bouquet of bacon “roses” using bacon and fake flower stems. For the roses, roll the bacon so it forms into a rose shape, secure with a toothpick, place each “rose” in a muffin tin, and bake until crisp. For stems, I purchased fake silk flowers at the dollar store and removed the flower buds. Once the bacon roses are cooled, slide the roses onto the stems and place them into a vase. For an added treat, I added M&M’s as “rocks” to hold the flowers.
Design a Custom Card
I’m a huge fan of making my own cards and cutesy gifts. There’s something so fun about getting out the art supplies and crafting a card that says exactly what you want it to say (and not some cheesy written card note). Also, the time put into the card is always really appreciated by the recipient.
Craft a Personalized Gift
Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday for a DIY gift that is personalized specifically for your significant other. Some ideas include making a coupon book with “coupons” your loved one can cash out over time (breakfast in bed, massage, control of the remote for a week), creating a scrapbook of your relationship, or my personal favorite, a deck of cards containing “52 Reasons I Love You”. I made the deck of cards gift for my husband in the past and included pictures along with the text to make it even more special.