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Does Valentine’s Day Have to Cost a Fortune?

By Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger
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Diamonds, roses, chocolates, oh my! If you celebrate Valentine’s Day the way retailers suggest, you could spend a fortune in just one day.

With spending messages everywhere, it’s easy to think you need to buy something extravagant to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Shrinking household incomes, for example, are taking a lot of people back to basics for many things, including special occasions.

Can you celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget? Absolutely. The point of the day is to express love and affection for those you care about, not racking up large bills to prove your love. Here are some low or no cost ideas to ponder. Also, add your own low-cost gift ideas in the comments section.

Visit a natural place you love-

Perhaps there’s a special place you find comforting, restful or beautiful. Simply being there makes you feel good. You could go there and take a walk by yourself, savoring the atmosphere. Or, share it with a loved one by asking them to go you to learn why you enjoy it so much.

Relax in a bath full of bubbles-

Many of us are so busy we’ve forgotten how luxurious and relaxing a bubble bath can be. If you have fancy products to use, great, but if you don't most bath wash products can be used to make a bubble bath and even dish soap will do if there’s nothing else. The pleasure isn’t in the products, it’s in enjoying and relaxing in a warm tub to give your body and mind a nice break from daily stress and aggravation. (No, you don’t have to just do this alone.)

Have a romantic movie night…at home-

For some, escalating costs have attached a high price tag to a simple night at the movies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a romantic movie night. Many public libraries have great classic movies available at no charge. DVD kiosks in many communities offer rentals for as little as one dollar a night. Your own movie collection likely has some favorites worth seeing again, or perhaps some friends would enjoy sharing or swapping some favorites for the occasion.

Use the food in your fridge…in a new way-

Not interested in spending a fortune on one dinner? Look for creative ways to use items already on hand.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I too agree with less on Valentine's Day. Most people are still trying to recover from Christmas! We like to plan a little outing or event, someplace we've always gone past or talked about, but never actually went. Like everyone else, just "us" time.

February 14, 2010 - 4:32pm

Diane, I couldn't agree with you more about retail being 24/7/365. I work part time at Bed, Bath, and Beyond-- if you are customer, you know that it is extremely customer service oriented. But this year it seems that so many other stores are following that "customer service" mentality and I can't help but feel that is due to our economy and the ultimate fight to "get" the customer. We don't carry Valentine's Day merchandise-- thank god!! Because, like you said, it would've been up in December. Everything all of a sudden seems so fast-paced, needs to get done NOW and do it right the first time sort of mentality in management--almost that of desperation. It is very unfortunate because jobs are getting cut, the workload for those left is increasing and someone has to get it done.

Sorry Pat, I did not mean to "hijack" your thread. I still think your Valentine's day ideas are great for those of us not looking to spend a fortune ;)

February 11, 2010 - 2:21pm

I agree with Rosa, Pat -- great post with wonderful suggestions.

My husband and I are not a big fan of Valentine's Day either. We give cards, sometimes a little something more. But we'd rather save the celebrations for dates that mean something special to us: our anniversary, for instance, and birthdays.

I was amazed this year to walk into my grocery store on maybe December 29 and see all the Valentine's Day stuff going up!! The Christmas merchandise had barely made it out to the 50% table before hearts and balloons and a million red and pink cards were taking over the store! We now live in a 24/7/365 retail world; as soon as one holiday comes down, the other goes up, even if no one is thinking about it.

Of course, I still remember elementary school, where the popular kids got tons and tons of valentines and the "nerdy" kids (of which I definitely was one) got fewer and wondered what was wrong with us. So part of my aversion may be left over from that early exercise of measuring self-worth by the number of small envelopes in the Valentine's boxes we made in art class. (Though I do know that my box was always one of the coolest!)

February 11, 2010 - 8:21am

Thank you, Pat. I don't agree on spending a fortune on Valentine's day. It is just one of those holidays that I tend to "ignore". Not that I have anything against it, but I love my husband every day, not one more than the other. Since we will be in NY this year for V-day, maybe I can get away with some nice homemade "coupons" when we come back. My husband is a big lover of massages and being pampered-- so coupons are the way to go!

February 10, 2010 - 6:29am
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