Given our previous articles on days like Black Friday and Christmas, you can probably guess what our viewpoints are about Valentine’s Day. But if you can’t, I’ll go ahead and let you know, we find “holidays” like this to be a little silly. It is a consumer’s holiday. Marketing and society have lead us to believe that we need to partake in this event, to make our significant other feel loved (more so than any other day of the year?). Which leads to these questions… Do you love your significant other more on these days? Does spending copious amounts of money signify your love? Sure I can understand being reminded of love a little more on Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show affection or love less any other day of the year. But, how should you show your love without breaking the bank, or adding more junk to your already overflowing life?
I used to work at a jewelry store in college, and one of the busiest times was right before Valentine’s Day. Men and women would spend hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars on jewelry, that’s not to mention the money they would then go and spend on chocolates and flowers. At the time, it seemed normal, but now that notion is mind boggling to us.
Literally, the day after Christmas I went to Walmart and they had cleared the store of Christmas products, just to be replaced with Valentine’s chocolates and trinkets. If my math is correct, that’s fifty days before the actual day. A little over 7 weeks to plant that seed in your brain and make you think you have to buy into the nonsense and spend ridiculous amounts of money. It really blew my mind how easily and quickly they can shift their products to the next
money making scheme, I mean occasion. Just wait, the day after Valentine’s, they’ll have all of the Easter stuff perfectly placed on the shelf just waiting for the next sucker to come grab it.
Now I’m not saying you don’t have to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I’m saying to not buy into all the hype and marketing that you’ll see EVERYWHERE you go. James and I still celebrate it, just not the way we used to and definitely not the way society tells us to. Here are some “do’s and don’t’s” that you can utilitze that will not only show that you put thought into this, but also that you actively trying to save money, which is sexy right?
- Don’t go to that fancy restaurant.
- If you’re insistent on going out-to-eat, get one those restaurant gift cards, like you would find at Costco, where you can purchase gift cards for 75% or 80% of the price. Or, do like our friend, Cody over at Fly to FI, and his girlfriend. They go and split an appetizer if they want the experience of going somewhere together and then they go home and have a main course.
- Do make a thoughtful home-cooked meal.
- James and I almost always eat home cooked meals, but sometimes on special occasions, we like to do something a little different. Homemade pizza is always a go-to for us on special occasions because it’s not only cheap, but it’s also one of our favorite foods.
- Do pack a picnic.
- Sometimes it is nice to get out of the house, and if you feel that need to go somewhere for your date, go on a picnic. It would be fun to prepare your food and pack a basket. Hopefully the weather is nice, but if not (be it rain or the cold) clear a space in your vehicle for a little picnic in your car somewhere. Explore some places you have never been before or go to a park and make the most of it by bringing your meal along with you.
- Don’t go to a bar or restaurant for drinks.
- I would say you could go to happy hour, but if you do that, the bill really adds up. It’s easy to get carried away with drinking, talking, and those happy hour food specials. So just don’t do it.
- Do have drinks at home.
- Drinks at home can be made a hell of a lot cheaper than out at a restaurant or a bar. We are all about some $3 Aldi wine. We don’t normally buy higher priced wine, but on occasions like Valentine’s Day or our anniversary, we might consider getting a little crazy and splurging on a $5-$8 bottle of wine. Really though, buying a bottle of wine, rum, or whatever tickles your fancy, and making your own drink at home will not only save money on the drinks, but you’ll also save money on the Lyft home and potentially even more on food when you get the drunk munchies.
- Do try out that dessert recipe you’ve had in your sights.
- Even better if it’s homemade. I am all about trying out new recipes. Last year for Valentine’s Day, I made homemade peanut butter chocolate bars, like with peanut butter on the bottom and a homemade chocolate on top. It was delicious because it not only made with love, but it was healthier than most desserts and I knew exactly what ingredients went into it. Hell, you could even make a dessert with your significant other; you would not only get to spend quality time with them, but you can also have fun while doing it.
- Don’t go to the movie theatre.
- Movie tickets are ridiculously over-priced, not mention the arm and leg you’ll pay for the snacks, popcorn, or coke. I don’t suggest going to the movies, but once again, if there is a movie you really want to see, try to find movie tickets from a store like Costco or if you frequent the movies often enough, get a movie club membership where you can get movie tickets and discounted concession fees. Or watch it illegally at home, ya know, which ever.
- Do watch a movie at home.
- As much fun as going out to eat and going to the movies can be, it doesn’t sound that appealing to me. Because you can’t wear your comfy PJs, you can’t curl up on the couch with your significant other and fur baby, you can’t pause the movie whenever you want, and you can’t really talk to each like you can at home. So, find a good movie on Netflix, rent one out from your local library, or borrow one from a friend. You can even pop your own popcorn and have your own drinks for a fraction of the price.
- Don’t buy flowers.
- There are so many options where it comes to flowers, from dozens of roses in various colors to the bouquet of flowers that your spouse might not even like…or be allergic to. To top that off, those beauties won’t even last more than a few days. Again, if you decide to forego my advice and waste some money, jus get a single rose or a chocolate rose. Same thought, just less wasteful.
- Do take a hike…or walk.
- Exercise does the body good, especially when it’s outside. Plan a hike at a local trail, or mosey over to a greenway or walkway. Take your Valentine outside and spend some quality time together, and bring that fur baby too. Sometimes James and I have the best conversations when we go on walks with RRjR. It’s a good way to not only get some exercise, but also gives you a chance to talk to each other…without your phones and social media.
- Do celebrate a day late.
- If you’re insistent on getting chocolates or heart shaped items, get them the day after Valentine’s Day, that way they will be marked down and on sale. It can kind of be like a game or an adventure to see what kind of deals you find or just how little you can spend on the same thing that other people purchased at full price just the day before. Maybe your plans cause you to not be able to celebrate the day of or you’re planning to celebrate on the weekend; take advantage of that…be patient and wait to be able to find the best deals.
- Don’t buy the expensive jewelry.
- Instead, get the vending machine jewelry…ok I’m joking on that one. I’m a huge fan of jewelry, but as the years go on, I find myself only wearing certain things. Now if James would get me jewelry, I would probably just smack him upside the head, because while I’m sure I would love it, that would be a bit hit to our finances that would affect us both. Not to mention it would add to my ever growing list of possessions, that I’m trying to minimize. If you’re insistent on getting jewelry, find a modest, budget-friendly option on Etsy, or get something through a company that supports a good cause, like 4Ocean or Pura Vida.
If you had asked me 3 or 4 years ago what I wanted to do for Valentine’s Day, I probably would have mentioned most of the ‘Don’ts’ on this list. Now, most the ‘Do’s’ make up my dream Valentine’s date night. Homemade pizza, wine, dessert and a movie. But for all of the over-the-top, expensive things, there always a frugal (sexy?) way to show someone that you love and care about them. You can follow these ‘Do’s’ and save yourself the time, the money, and the headache of dealing with traffic and crowds of people. As easy as it can be, don’t buy into the marketing and ways of society.
So tell me, what are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Are you going out and blowing money to try to prove how much you love each other? Or are you going to be like us and take advantage of the opportunity to spend quality time with each other while saving money?