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How cheapskates do Valentine's Day

Say 'I Love You' with a YouTube video, a collection of Post-its or -- yes, guys -- a mushy card.

By Teresa Mears Feb 12, 2010 3:35PM

The cheapskates are in charge this Valentine’s Day.


A new Zogby poll found that two-thirds of Americans plan to spend less than $50 this Valentine’s Day, and a quarter plan to spend nothing. We think that’s as it should be.


It’s great to remind the people we love how much we care, but it doesn’t take a lot of money to do so. Spending money you don’t have is one of the greatest stressors in any relationship. And you don’t need a blog to tell you that some of the most romantic love activities are free.


It’s hard to beat dinner and a movie at home, especially if you add candles, romantic music and a chocolate dessert.


Even if you’re single, dinner at home, a movie and a chocolate dessert are a nice way to spend the evening. Invite some single friends and make it an impromptu potluck party.

For those who are still looking for a frugal way to share Valentine’s Day love, we found some great suggestions in the frugal living blogosphere.

  • Give coupons for services, such as a massage, cooking a meal, doing the other’s chores, baby-sitting, washing dishes, washing the car, etc.
  • Make what we used to call a “mix tape,” a CD or MP3 playlist of music that reminds you of times you spent together. If you’re good with computers, you can add photos and make a DVD album with music.
  • Save the money you would have spent on a Valentine’s Day gift for something the two of you really want, such as a nice vacation. We know a couple who did this on all gift-giving occasions.
  • Create an unusual greeting card. A reader named Lynn at MommySavers loved this gift, one of many frugal Valentine’s Day gift suggestions. She wrote: "My husband did this for me and it was inexpensive, but thoughtful and romantic. He framed our bathroom mirror with hot pink Post-it notes as a Valentine’s morning surprise. All of the Post-its had one loving or encouraging word written on them, i.e., beautiful, charming, disciplined, loving, caring."
  • Make a YouTube video telling your significant other how much you love him or her, suggests Louise Sacco at Frugal Yankee in a post on quirky frugal Valentine’s Day gifts. Or, how about one perfect red nose? (That's not a typo.)
  • For family fun, cook up heart-shaped pancakes, sandwiches or other foods. Help your kids learn about love by having them make Valentine’s Day cards for elderly neighbors, relatives or others who might be forgotten, suggests Jennifer Bruce at Amy’s Finer Things. Jennifer, who runs Saving and Giving, has a whole list of frugal Valentine’s Day ideas for families.
  • If your wife really expects jewelry and flowers, check for roses at Costco and consider sterling silver rather than gold, suggests Kyle of Rather-Be-Shopping at Being Frugal. Kyle also provides some coupon codes for traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. But, he reminds us, don’t underestimate the power of a card:
Also, I have found that by doing something she does not expect really makes her day. If you are not the type of guy who gives notes or cards to your sweetheart, suck it up and give it a try. Almost any grocery store or drug store has the 99-cent cards. Express your love in writing and I guarantee you will have a great Valentine’s Day.

What are your favorite frugal ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day? What’s the best Valentine’s Day gift you ever received?


Related reading:

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