Valentine's Day on a Budget

“Roses are red, Violets are blue, Holy cow that’s how much?”

Valentine's Day - The day you really, truly care about impressing your significant other with whatever amazing gift you decide to bestow upon them. The only problem is that the sales industry knows this, and pulls and preys on your little, sentimental heartstrings. They take advantage of the fact that you want to impress your boyfriend or girlfriend by hiking up their prices, making it seem impossible not to spend a significant amount of money on Valentine's Day. But cupid has spared us this year and told me the secrets to having an amazing Valentine's Day without having to empty your wallet.

Despite the romantic value, a huge romantic gesture on Valentine's Day is not as necessary as some think. A single red rose as opposed to a bouquet is a great way to express how you feel about someone. Follow it up with a heartfelt card and you have achieved Valentine's Day perfection - simplistic, yet meaningful.

Another typical Valentine's Day gift is chocolate, but who says a girl needs a giant box to know her man cares? Get a cherry or strawberry flavored chocolate bar, which is much less expensive than a box; add some vanilla ice cream; rent a romantic comedy; and voila, you’ve won the battle against the budget.

Now it’s easy to simply buy something for someone, but to put a little extra effort in is even more meaningful. The socially accepted idea of Valentine's Day is that you have to buy a gift for your other half, but that is just speculation. In reality, some of the best gifts are not bought, but made and, the best part, are easy to make.

Decorate a jar with hearts or pictures of you two together, put little notes of things you admire about that person in it and present it to them. They will love being able to read over and over why you adore them.

Another easy project is a photo album. It may seem overdone, but if you haven’t given each other one before, it is a great way to re-live memories and remember why you care about each other so much.

With those ideas in mind here’s a quick list of some other easy and cheap ways to show you care on Valentine's Day:

  • Give each other massages
  • Make a homemade dinner of all their favorite foods
  • Breakfast in bed
  • Leave little love notes around the house (or the office, their car, etc.)
  • Burn a CD for them of their favorite music
  • Go hiking to a great view and watch the sun set
  • Make a coupon book for them
  • Write “I love you because…” notes, put them in balloons and have them pop the balloons 
  • Make them chocolate-covered strawberries (It's easy, we promise)
  • Take a drive together while listening to that CD you made them of their fave music (Make it even more interesting by going to a surprise destination)
  • Take a one-time dance class together (lots of places have Valentine's Day specials)
  • Have a picnic in your living room, of course, because who's going to enjoy a snowtopped sandwich? 

There are unlimited options. Good luck! Don’t forget, it really is the thought that your Valentine will remember, not the price.