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.
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!
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.
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. You could download a template here. Or maybe chocolates aren’t even a favorite. A giant, heart-shaped lollypop would be cute. (Tuck it in with her flowers, see below.)
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 (or he’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.
February is the perfect time to start a few bulbs for early blooms. You can set bulbs on a tray of glass beads, cover the beads with water, and wait. The whole family will enjoy watching the progress from bulb to bloom.
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 (or him) 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). Add an inexpensive bottle of Chianti and a candle and you’re all set. Create a picnic scene in your living room by laying out a blanket and packing a picnic basket.
After all that, who would expect a gift? If the gift is thoughtful, the price doesn’t matter. Love isn’t measured in dollars, and expressing your love doesn’t have to upset the budget boat. 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:
Go to the local art museum. Many art museums offer free admission either all week or on certain days, while others charge a small fee.
Rent a romantic movie. Stay in and rent a movie through Redbox or Netflix. Your local library might have a movie section as well.
Play a game together. Pull out the cribbage board, or even that old Twister game! Change those rules to a romantic theme, offer “prizes” for winning games, and have fun with each other.
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