That's Amore! Valentine Ideas
Special, Frugal Valentine's Day
I would like to know if anyone has any suggestions as to how to make Valentine's day a special, fun, yet inexpensive day. Any Valentine recipe, decoration or activity ideas would be greatly appreciated. I want to do something special for my sweetheart, but we are on a limited budget.
Breakfast of Lovers
For the last couple of years I've made heart-shaped pancakes for breakfasts for my kids. I found a whole set of heart-shaped cookie cutters a while back, including a big one. I lay it down on the griddle and pour the pancake batter inside it. As soon as the pancake starts to set I take the cookie cutter off and make another one. The kids think they're great. I use the same cookie cutter and make their sandwiches heart-shaped for lunch.
EF in Pleasanton, CA
One of my most romantic Valentines Day events was a moonlight picnic. I made heart-shaped butter cookies with strawberry jam middles. My Valentine made a simple pasta dinner, baked a slice of brie, and brought fresh strawberries for dessert. We packed it all in a basket....our first choice was a picnic on the roof, but we couldn't get up there. So a picnic at your local park, beach, or some other safe outdoor place is just as romantic. Drinking in public parks is illegal, so just bring a bottle of sparkling apple cider, which just costs about $3.
Here are some inexpensive idea's for Valentines Day. Construction Paper, crayons, markers : with these tools you can make your own decorations, Cards, etc. If you cut out small hearts out of the construction (or any paper for that matter), write sayings on them. Poems, lyrics to love songs, little IOU's for your significant other (like doing the dishes, making there favorite dinner, good for ?????.) Take these hearts, fold them in half. Buy a bag of balloons, blow up the balloons, and place a heart in each balloon. Place these balloons in a room with the door closed, in a car at work, or while they are sleeping. Make a card, string a needle on thread, or string. Tape the string to the card. Tell the person in the card that they have to pop the balloons to get goodies inside.
A bottle of red finger paint provided a Valentines Day for my sweetheart that will not be forgotten! I took a sponge and the red finger paint, and went to his place of employment. I painted red hearts all over the windows and windshield of his car, making sure to leave it so he could see out to drive home. He loved it!
Magical Mystery Tour
My best valentines day was spent in the Singapore Botanical gardens after a mystery bus ride..with a picnic basket (inexpensive food & fruits) ended with a reading of "100 reasons why I love you"
For Valentine's Day dinner, we always have foods that are either red, white, pink, or heartshaped. Past menues have included heartshaped pizza (homemade, of course), heartshaped meatloaf, red jello, pink milk or pink lemonade, sliced beets cut with a heart cookie cutter, pink mashed potatoes, heartshaped cookies, etc. A few drops of food color, and you're on your way. It is fun to involve the children in the preparing...we usually end up with construction paper placemats, too.
Now, for showing your love to others... I recommend a Heart Attack. Again, involve the kids in cutting out dozens of red, white and pink construction paper hearts, about cookie cutter size. You may want to scrawl messages on some of them. Late the night before Valentines Day, or during the day if you know they are not home, sneak over and tape the hearts all over the front door, or the car, or wherever seems best. We often leave a plate of cookies by the door, too.These are fun to make, easy to clean up, and send an unmistakeable message!
What I do for this and other holidays is think about your most treasured memory involving this person. Then, I try to think of some trinket that will remind him/her of that time. For example, my favorite memory of my dad is once when he rescued some baby rabbits from a fire. For Christmas, I bought him a ceramic bunny ($3) and wrote a letter to him telling him how proud I was to be his daughter. I find this is an inexpensive and more meaningful way to celebrate special days.
Amy in Murray, KY
What She Wanted...
MR stated that they were on a tight budget. So are we! A few years ago, my boyfriend picked me up after work, took me home and told me to dress warm cause we were going out. Little did I know that during the day while I was at work he took my Ice Skates and his and had them sharpened! After I was dressed to go he took me skating on the Ottawa Canal. It was the most Romantic Valentine's I've ever had. We spent a couple of dollars on hot Chocolate to warm up a litlle, you could even bring some from home in a Thermos if you wanted to, but we skated for free. I hope that this will help MR with some ideas.
Last year my husband gave me the best Valentine's gift ever! Unbeknownst to me, he took the day off work, stayed home, and cleaned up the entire house! That way, I had the entire weekend with no housecleaning or laundry to do! I should mention that he already does quite a bit of housework. But, this was special because it gave me the gift of free time.
For the person who wanted to do something special for their sweetheart on Valentine's Day, this is what I suggest: the gift of time. 2-years-ago, I did this for my fiance', and he STILL uses the cards! What I did is create about 15 individualized "love" tokens for him to cash in whenever he wanted--one was good for a night-on-the-town; one was good for a home-cooked meal; one was good for kisses from head-to-toe; one was good for massage/backrub; etc. I made them out of cardboard, cut into heart shapes, and then drew little illustrations/messages on each, front and back. I'm not very artistic, but he got the idea. The nice part of this is that it will (1) guarantee you and your sweetie some special time throughout the year, not just at Valentine's Day, and (2) it makes them feel very special because it's a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gift. If he/she forgets to use them after a month or so, REMIND them to use them--you spent the time thinking this through--they should acknowledge it and use it!
Another idea is to "house/apartment swap" with another couple. If you have a friend that lives in another town (ideally the person with the sunken jacuzzi tub, but that's probably pushing it!), you could trade residences for an evening/weekend. I did this with a friend a few years ago, and it worked great. Sometimes a new environment is all you need, even if it's not exotic or "all inclusive."
Margie N. in Minneapolis, MN
Through this Door
Here is an idea that I have actually used and that went over big with my husband. Make a "bead" curtain for a doorway, but instead of beads, you use paper hearts about 2"-3" across. You will need:
colored paper (shades of red, pink, and purple) for the hearts
Thread or some sort of lightweight ribbon (or even long strip of paper) to fasten the hearts to.
- Cut out your hearts (draw around a heart-shaped object of the right size or fold the paper in half and cut).
- Write little sayings on the hearts, like on those little candy hearts. Use your pet names for each other, lines from your favorite songs, quotes from your favorite movies, whatever you find romantic.
- Tape the hearts to your thread, ribbon, or paper strips, then attach the string of hearts to the top of the doorway. I used thread, but it tangles! To avoid this problem, use ribbon or paper, or if you must use thread, tape it to the top of the doorway first, and then tape the hearts to it. Saves lots of aggravation.
That's it! It's charming and romantic.
A 25 Cent Day
My very favorite Valentines Day was when we were the "brokest". We went to the mall and tried to spot couples who had been together as long a as we had.(17 years) We stopped at the Halmark shop and picked out the card we would give eachother if we were buying. We spent 2 hours sharing cards that day! We bought a a $.25 box of "conversation hearts", then went home and took clues from what the hearts said, "kiss me, be mine" etc.
One time I took a huge piece of poster board, made up a poem to my husband, and set it in the front yard for the whole world to see as they came by. Boy was he surprised when he came home from work!
Another time I took inexpensive candies and put them together to form a poem of sorts. Like - some people may (snicker), but you are my (sweetheart), etc.
In reply to the Valentine's day dilema, buy some inexpensive candles, dim the lights, cook a nice dinner for her, and set romance a blaze. After dinner, enjoy a warm bubble bath. Then wisk her to the bedroom where the massage oil is waiting for an intense rub down, and the rest is up to you. This is very inexpensive and worth every cent.
Stephanie in TX
Take the Next Step
- Find more Valentine's Day ideas, in the TDS library.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!
More Money-Saving Tips for Families
- Snap up these 9 deals in August
- 5 big bills you can cut fast
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- 4 steps to a simpler (and more frugal) life
- Choosing a guardian for your child
- 3 fun party ideas your nearly teen will love
- How much do kids need to know about the family budget?
- This week's Readers' Tips