Ladies and gentlemen, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have been stuck inside your house due to some polar vortex, you’ve surely seen the aisles at every store from Safeway to Target looking like Cupid attacked with all shades of red and pink.
It’s one of my favorite holidays. I love all the heart-shaped things, and let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day has the best candy. (Coming in at a very close second is Easter Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs, anyone?) But since it’s a holiday pretty much invented by the greeting card industry, there’s a big emphasis on consumerism.
You definitely do not need to spend a bunch of money to buy out-of-season roses or the biggest teddy bear you can find. In fact, if you treat this day as a day to show your love, you can get rid of the pressure, and make it fun without breaking the bank. Here are 14 frugal ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day to get you started.
14 Frugal Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day 1 of 15
On a tight budget? You don't have to break the bank to celebrate Valentine's Day. Here are 14 ways to do it!
1. Make a heart-shaped breakfast 2 of 15
Pancakes, waffles, toast — all can be heart-shaped and fun. Surprise everyone and start the day off right with the help of a cookie cutter. Take it to the extreme! Get heart-shaped plates, make heart-shaped butter, swirl the foamed milk in a heart pattern in the coffee. Get cheesy! It's a work/school day, but that doesn't mean you can't start it off with everyone smiling.
Image by kakisky
2. Do the dishes 3 of 15
Do you usually rush out the door with dishes in the sink from last night or this morning? Take the extra five minutes and clean up. That way, your future self (the one who comes home exhausted on a Friday night) will come home to a clean kitchen.
Image by sauceman
3. Write a love letter 4 of 15
Here, simplicity works well. Be sincere. Tell your beloved how much you appreciate him or her.
The basic syntax goes a little something like this:
I'm so glad we met.
I can't believe it's been so long/I can't believe it's only been __ months.
The days have gone by so quickly/it feels like I've known you forever.
Today marks our __th/first Valentine's Day, and although I don't always express it, I'm glad you're my valentine.
4. Write a poem 5 of 15
Not a poet? Don't worry — your recipient will feel touched by your effort. Try a spin on the "roses are red" poem. There was a really funny one I saw at a restaurant drive-through: "Roses are red, so is ketchup. Buy a corndog." If that can get a laugh, I guarantee you that something you write will be well received.
Image by Grafixar
5. Print a picture 6 of 15
How many pictures of the two of you exist? No, no, stop checking through your phone. Go print a 5x7 of a picture of you two and frame it. You can find all kinds of frames at your local thrift shop.
Image by calgrin
6. Hide something in the glove compartment 7 of 15
The glove compartment is one of those places that simply doesn't get opened … unless something bad is happening. Think about it. What if you hid something silly (like red and white Runts) in there? That will bring a smile to the recipient's face, even if he is searching for his license and registration.
Image by hyperlux
7. Make little love notes to deliver anonymously 8 of 15
Do you live in a dry climate? Write notes on hearts cut out of construction paper and put them on cars, tape them to trash cans, hide them in plain sight. You'll get a kick out of this adventure, and trust me, people will be thrilled to see a note on their cars (instead of a parking ticket).
Image by JessaIrene
8. Watch a romantic comedy and discuss the characters 9 of 15
9. Buy candy the day after 10 of 15
We've already mentioned that Valentine's Day has the best candy. It seems like everyone knows this, because when the candy goes on sale on February 15th, drugstores and grocery stores look like tornadoes came through and took all the 50% off rack. Get there early.
Image by cohdra
10. Make a plan to go away together, and start saving up for it 11 of 15
You need a weekend away, I just know it. And weekends away don't have to be so expensive. Find a Groupon, pick a date, and start saving. Drive a few hours (don't drive more than three hours for an overnight trip) and leave your phones off. Relax. Come back home rejuvenated.
Image by xandert
11. Write a list of all the things he does to make your life better 12 of 15
This is as much a tip for you to remember how great your partner is as it is a written record he can refer to when he needs a pick-me-up. Everything from taking the garbage out without asking to rearranging his schedule so you could make time at the gym — write it all down. Present it in a goofy manner (maybe a scroll?) and read it together.
Image by jdurham
12. Involve your children and make them feel special 13 of 15
My mom was the absolute best at Valentine's Day, especially when it mattered most. She knew how hard being a curly-haired hormonal teenager I was, and she always (ALWAYS) went out of her way to make a big deal out of the holiday. She knew what it was like to be dorky and uncool, and she never wanted me to feel sad on Valentine's Day. She's gone now, but I know that one of the ways I'll celebrate her life is to wrap a present for the females in my life who might be feeling left out. If you're a mom, make sure you do what you can to make the day happy for your teen, not sad.
Image by NinoAndonis
13. Wash the car 14 of 15
It's winter. The car is muddy. Drive it through a carwash, and if you're feeling especially generous, take it to one of those places with a vacuum and give it a once-over.
Image by xenia
14. Make cookies for the elderly or the homeless 15 of 15
The lonely people in our society need a sweet gesture this time of year. Make cookies and distribute them. You'll feel good, they'll feel good — what more could you want?
Image by Ladyheart