Frugal Valentine's Day Ideas

by Amy Allen Clark


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What is not to love about Valentine's Day? It is a time to show the people in our lives how much we love them by throwing expensive gifts at them and demonstrating this by the amount of money we spend. Or is it? The card companies would like us to believe that this is what makes the holiday special.

This holiday can be a tightwad's worst nightmare, but it doesn't have to be. For those of us who are tight on money, it is a great way to show how creative we can be when giving gifts and it is a wonderful time to display all of our talents. Here are a few creative and budget-friendly ideas for making this holiday special for that certain someone in your life.

Table for Two

The Valentine's Day that I loved the most was the year that we couldn't get a babysitter for our son. We were broke and could not afford a dinner out, let alone the price of getting someone to babysit. That year, I was able to really let my creativity shine through.

I got a folding table and chairs out and covered the table with a long tablecloth (you could also use a sheet). I put a candle in the center and made a steak dinner and bought a bottle of inexpensive wine.

When my husband got home, I surprised him at the door and told him that I was able to get reservations at our favorite place and showed him our table. After our son went to bed, we had the best dinner and enjoyed some wonderful conversation together. The food was superb and the price tag was just right!

The Written Word

There is nothing more powerful than the written word. I have saved many notes that my husband has written me over the years. When we were younger, we would write top ten lists of why that person was special to us. Writing a list of reasons why you love someone makes them feel much more special than an expensive gift could.

Take lipstick and write a special note to your spouse on the mirror. You could also tuck a note in their briefcase or in their lunch to surprise them and tell them how much they mean to you.

One year, my husband saved all of the red Hershey Kisses from a bag of Christmas candies that we had and made a trail of them up to our room. He made a giant heart out of them and in the center was a note about how much I meant to him and to our family. That gift stands out to me more than a bouquet of roses could because it was a powerful statement of how much he appreciated me. Those are the kinds of gifts that create lasting memories.

Coupons and Chores

What could say more to someone than you actually doing something for him or her? Give your spouse the day off and pick up the slack of the chores for them. Take the dog for a walk, take out the trash, wash the car, get their oil changed. Do anything that they would do that day so that they can sit and relax.

A more creative way of doing the same thing would be to create coupons for your spouse. Include items on it that you know they would hate doing and write them up on construction paper. An envelope of coupons shows how much you appreciate them, and as long as they don't use the coupons up all once, it is a gift that you can give throughout the year.

Monthly Clubs

Give your spouse something and then offer them the opportunity to receive it monthly. It can be something inexpensive like a batch of their favorite cookies or a date night to the dollar movie each month. Just give something that you can afford to do monthly and that will show how much you appreciate and love them.

Heartfelt Lunches

Cooking for someone is one of the greatest acts of love. Maybe you don't think of it because you do it all of the time, but each dish you make is filled with love and care for someone else. Make your spouse a lunch filled with heart shaped sandwiches or use the theme of the color red throughout all of the dishes. You could also surprise your spouse at work and bring them their lunch filled with heartfelt goodies in person. Sharing food with them in a creative way shows how much you really care for them.

I Heart You

Show your love by making them a good old-fashioned Valentine. Use red construction paper, lace doilies, and crayons and cut out paper hearts just like you did when you were little. No one can resist a homemade Valentine, not even when you are an adult!

However you decide to show your affection to that special someone in your life, know that some of the best ways to express this are free or cheap. Make this a Valentine's Day to remember without the expense and may you enjoy many happy days with your sweetheart!


Amy Allen Clark is a stay-at-home mother of two wonderful children. She is founder and creator of MomAdvice.com. Her website is geared towards mothers who are seeking advice on staying organized, living on a budget, and those seeking work-at-home employments. The author resides in Granger, Indiana with her high school sweetheart who has enjoyed many inexpensive and fun dates with his wife.

Take the Next Step:

  • Some of the best ways to show affection are free or cheap. Use one of the above ideas or come up with something on your own and make this a Valentine's Day to remember.
  • For more ideas on how to make Valentine's Day special without breaking the bank, please visit The Dollar Stretcher archives.

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