A Frugal Find – Valentine’s Day on the Cheap

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Valentine’s Day is a time that challenges even the most frugal. Luckily my wife & I both know it is not a day that deserves the accolades the world thrusts upon it, therefore we try not to hold it in higher esteem than we ought.  Instead we work on loving & cherishing each other every day of the year.  Fortunately, God blessed me with a wife who values being financially responsible over blowing huge amounts of money on temporal frivolities – one of the many reasons I fell in love with her.  As true as this may be, my wife is still a woman and very much loves to be pampered and held as precious.  To achieve a balance, we want to show special attention to each other all while working to remind ourselves and others that you don’t have to spend a lot of dough to prove your love to one another.

And so…over the course of the past few weeks we’ve been contemplating how we could do “Valentine’s Day on the Cheap” (or as she jokingly calls it…”Valentime’s Day”).  Though we’ve been lethargically tossing ideas around, we never seriously sat down to solidify any plans…until tonight.  We both knew we wanted to do something out of the ordinary; something new and uncommon to us, not just the boring & ever-so-typical fancy expensive dinner followed by a fancy expensive show.  To come up with some ideas I began to scour the Internet.  I was immediately presented with a few articles from some of my favorite blogs including Nine Tactics for a Frugal Valentine’s Day & My Frugal Valentine: Cheap Ways to Say I Love YouHowever, after reading these articles, I was still left wanting, and so decided to write a related post of my own.

Though some of the ideas presented in the previously mentioned articles were solid and well delivered, Mrs. Jabs & I needed ideas with a focus on creativity and excitement.  After the Internet searches left us unsatisfied she grabbed our local city visitor guide and we began pouring over it.  We were immediately presented with many creative, fun, and most importantly affordable ideas for our Saturday night excursion.

Here are a few of the ideas we kicked around:

  1. A lesser known play – performed by lesser known actors – at a lesser know venue. In our local visitors guide we ended up finding four theaters in our area (apart from the two well known, more expensive ones) that we never knew about!  They all presented live shows for $10 – $15 a person.
  2. A split meal at one of your favorite LOCAL (not chain) restaurants. This is us following through with one of our core principles of frugality…when you do eat out…split meals!  Most restaurants give you WAY too much food.
  3. A trip to the local planetarium. We have been wanting to visit it for years and just have not gotten around to it.
  4. Cross country skiing or ice skating (both of which are cheap and are provided by local parks).  If you live in a warm climate go in-line skating, disc golfing, kayaking, canoeing, mountain biking or hiking and have a picnic when you reach a romantic, secluded spot.
  5. A few hours visiting one of your local historic museums or art galleries. Follow this up by getting some walk-about comfort food (hot dogs & fries from a street vendor) then some ice cream cones.
  6. Dress semi-formal, use semi-formal dinnerware and cook a romantic dinner together. I actually saw this idea mentioned around the web and agreed with it.  However my wife gets annoyed quickly and is all business when in the kitchen so it would not bode well for us as a romantic experience.  🙂
  7. Go sledding then go get some hot soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, & hot cocoa. Sledding is usually free and soup & grilled cheese will set you back $25 at most.
  8. Mutual romantic, candle-light, oil massages.  Truly pamper each other by reciprocating a nice sensual massage with some great scented oils.
  9. Go to a comedy club. Most decent sized towns will have a comedy club.  Our local club has a Valentine’s Day special that includes food, drinks, & the show for a really good price.  I always have more fun at these shows than I anticipate.

After careful consideration my wife & I decided to go with not one but several of these options.  Early on Saturday we intend to either go sledding, ice skating, or cross country skiing.  Then we’ll head home for some hot cocoa & a little lovey-dovey time. Then it’s off to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, where we will split a meal.  The restaurant we chose is locally owned and uses all local & fresh organic ingredients.  (We are big fans of promoting the concept of locally produced items and love to support our local businesses).  After dinner we will head to the Abrams Planetarium on the campus of Michigan State University for a cool, relaxing, and romantic night under a starry sky!  The whole day will not cost us more than $40…and that to us is Valentine’s Day on the Cheap!

I hope you will be able to use a few of these ideas and are blessed with a frugal yet romantic evening with your significant other!  And lastly, I’ll leave you with a little history on the subject of Valentine’s Day.  Enjoy…

*Valentine’s Day or Saint Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14 by many people throughout the world. In the West, it is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerous Early Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

An alternative theory from Belarus states that the holiday originates from the story of Saint Valentine, who upon rejection by his mistress was so heartbroken that he took a knife to his chest and sent her his still-beating heart as a token of his undying love for her. Hence, heart-shaped cards are now sent as a tribute to his overwhelming passion and suffering.

*Source: Wikipedia


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1 Ray@creative valentine ideas

Couldn’t agree more than you do not have to spend a bundle of cash to celebrate this coming Valentine’s Day. Your concept is probably even more apt this Valentine’s Day than last as the economy has continued to worsen.

Expressing love never has to be an expensive event. Many things done without spending money provide a more true indication of how much you do care for the other person.

2 Dr. Russ Buss

Hey Matt, what a great post. You not only demonstrate a frugal approach, but demonstrate that you and your wife can communicate effectively over what is often a sensitive topic that can break down into accusing and blaming such as: “You’re not meeting or thinking of my needs unless you do x,y, and z.” You and your wife were able to sit down and have a collaborative and mutually satisfying discussion leading to effective problem solving ~ a real sign of an “OPTIMISTIC RELATIONSHIP.”

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