Budget Boosters - Valentines Day for Less

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and we are here to provide, once again, some quick last minute tips that won't break your bank.

Take time off. If you both have some vacation time built up, put in for a day off and spend it together. Do some simple and purely fun things that you wouldn't ordinarily get to do. Cuddle together for a big chunk of the day and just enjoy each other instead of stressing out at work.

Make an elegant home cooked meal instead of hitting the town. Put in the time and make a wonderful meal at home. Put out a nice tablecloth, use a few candles, and make it a romantic evening at home instead of fighting the Valentine's Day crowds out and about.

If you're going out, do something unexpected. Lots of places will be crowded on that night, so do something unusual if you're going out on the town. Don't go to the high-dollar place – instead, ask around for something quiet and secluded and undiscovered. Not only will the meal be cheaper, it will also be more memorable and distinctive.

Try going somewhere low key that you both enjoy. Enjoy the quiet and comfort of your favorite bookstore. Find a couch in the back and sit together to catch up on some reading or find something you can read together. Try a book of love sonnets to take advantage of the spirit of the holiday. Maybe enjoy a coffee and share a snack as distress while other couples are fighting the busy crowds at the restaurants.

Flowers are always very popular on Valentine's Day, especially roses. You can save yourself some money by choosing to go with a flower besides roses. Red and White carnations are a beautiful substitute, as are daisies. You may even be better off by going with a houseplant. Maybe she will appreciate the fact that you bought her something different as opposed to everyone else in the office with their overpriced roses. Here's a quick idea for flowers. Buy half a dozen and leave a single flower for your valentine in various places. You can start with one to greet them in the morning while they are getting ready for the day. You can put one on the dash of the car or sneak one into their office.
Give a thoughtful gift. It's easy to just buy jewelry or chocolates for Valentine's Day, but it means more (and is less expensive) if you find a gift that truly has the recipient in mind. A gift from the heart will be long remembered after the flowers have died and the chocolates have been ate.

Write a note expressing how you feel to go with that gift. A little sentimental note means a lot more than some extravagance. Spend some time and try to express – in your own handwriting – how you actually feel about your partner and why that person is so important to you. No matter the gift, that note will be the part that is meaningful.

Look for free concerts. Many communities have free Valentine's Day concerts by municipal groups that don't get widely publicized. Take a look at your community calendar and see what's out there to do for free on that day.
If you don't have money to go out, have a picnic on the floor at home. Use some candles and lay a soft blanket on the floor. Put on some soft music and have a romantic Valentine's dinner on the floor. Use some white Christmas lights for additional romantic lighting!

Make a treasure hunt for your loved one. Start by mailing or e-mailing them the first clue. Then leave clues all over the house, yard, car or his office telling them where to find the next clue. End the hunt by making a picnic in the back yard or a park. Use your imagination and have fun. The simple things are the ones people remember.

Don't forget to stock up on Valentine's cards and other things for next year on February 15 when they're all marked down.

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It is our policy at Pioneer Credit Counseling not only to help people get out of debt, but also educate in sound budgeting practices.

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