Valentine’s Day can turn out to be a pricey proposition. Card: $5. Candy: $25. Flowers: $50. Dinner: $75. Gift: $100. Total: $255. And we’re being modest here. Whew! There must be a less expensive way to say “I Love You” without looking cheap. Try the thoughtful, romantic approach, instead.
The card: Instead of a gaudy Valentine’s card (OK, you might not get away with this one), try one of those cute little Valentines intended for school exchanges. It’ll bring back memories and make him/her laugh! Or go with an eCard from one of the many sites that offer free ones. They’re often cute and you can send it to your sweetie via iPhone or email. Try Hallmark or GreetingsExpert or just Google “electronic greeting cards” and find the one that suits you.
The candy: It doesn’t have to be a giant box of designer chocolates. A carefully chosen truffle or two from the local chocolate shop will be pricey per pound, but much less than the boxed bounty from some brand-name candy-maker. Select your sweetie’s favorite sweet: hazelnut or mint, for example. The shop will put it in pretty little box or other container for you, usually at no (or not much) extra cost. Or maybe chocolates aren’t even a favorite. A giant, heart-shaped lollypop would be cute. (Tuck it in with her flowers, see below.)
The flowers: Enough with the overblown armful of roses already! A single perfect rose in some unusual color or style (we like peach or fire-and-ice) tucked into florist’s paper with a sprig of baby’s breath is so much daintier and just as impressive. If she’s a gardener, get her something she can plant in the spring, to perpetuate the thought. A violet or orchid is an unusual gift and both can live for years with proper care. Way cheaper than a bounty of blooms and they’ll last longer, too.
Dinner: Yes, it’s nice to go to the trendiest or fanciest place in town. But it’ll be packed and, if you haven’t already made a reservation, you’re probably out of luck anyway. Where did you have your first date? Most likely, it was not at a high-end place. Maybe a little Italian place, a Chinese restaurant, even a chain restaurant. Tell her you want to recapture that first date – it’s romantic, silly! If you’re really strapped for cash, how about a heart-shaped pizza (several places do them this time of year), with just the perfect toppings? Add an inexpensive bottle of Chianti and a candle and you’re all set.
Gift: After all that, who would expect a gift? But if you think it’s a good idea, how about a small book of romantic poetry? A Valentine charm for her bracelet (if she has one)? A pretty scarf from a vintage shop? Some quirky thing from an antique store (maybe something reminiscent of childhood)? Get creative. If the gift is thoughtful, the price doesn’t matter.