Valentines Day - Feb 2011

Cupid's holiday is just a couple weeks away and there are plenty of ways to celebrate love without spending a small fortune. Here are some ideas dedicated to our frugal couples out there that not only work for the 14th, but all year round.

Dinner at a fancy restaurant is always a popular choice on Valentine's Day and also one of the more expensive parts of the date. Why not forgo the busy crowds and spend an evening at home and cook a nice candlelit dinner instead. Plan ahead and find a babysitter to take care of the kids for a few hours and put on some nice clothes and music and have a 4-course meal. You will have the ambience of a night out without having to leave a big tip.

If you must get out of the house for a dinner date opt for lunch instead. It won't be as busy and generally lunch menus are less expensive than dinner. You can then spend the rest of the day and evening together doing whatever you please.

Plan ahead and find events or activities that are free or little cost. There may be a band playing or an art show that you can attend together. If you are fortunate enough to have good weather on the 14th then you may want to plan a picnic or a walk through the park. Check out some local coffee shops or college campuses, which often feature acoustic music or poetry readings.

As far as gifts go you don't need to be intimidated by jewelry commercials that show that the only way to truly show your love is with a diamond. Gifts from the heart count for more and can save you a lot.

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.

Instead of having the flowers delivered by an expensive flower company, purchase the flowers yourself and deliver them to your valentine's workplace yourself during lunch. The extra effort will save you some money and earn you a little more admiration.

Homemade gifts can be fun to make and come right from the heart. You would be surprised what you can do with a little construction paper, scissors, and glue. You can make a collage with pictures from the previous year and make a big Valentine's Day card.

Valentine's Day coupons are also a big hit with couples. Make and decorate coupons that contain special requests that they can redeem. They can be for chores that they don't like to do or a request for them to get to pick the movie one night, or a coupon for their favorite meal. There are really endless ideas that you can put on your own personalized coupons. Put them in an envelope and decorate it. Ladies can put on some dark red lipstick and kiss the envelope and guys can spray their ladies favorite smelling cologne on it.

In the past we have advised that you save all year for the Christmas season. This works equally well with Valentine's Day. If you want to have an extravagant evening then why not save up for it instead of swiping the plastic. If you've had your eye on a stunning gift put a little away each month and buy it with cash. By planning ahead you will be able to really enjoy yourself instead of feeling guilty for spending so much on the gift and dinner.

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