A Guest Post from Andrea Woroch –
Though every year consumers blow billions of dollars on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t mean you have to follow suit and empty your bank account just to show that special someone you care. On the other hand, showing up empty-handed in the name of frugality isn’t a smart move, either. There are plenty of low-cost gifts and even free date ideas for celebrating the official day of love.
Consider these frugal yet totally romantic gift to woo your loved one for less.
Opt for Budget-friendly Bouquets
The majority of the estimated $1.9 billion to be spent on flowers this Valentine’s Day will be on roses, which are marked up heavily this time of year. Skip this pricey stem in favor of more affordable flowers that are just as pretty and romantic, such as, Gerbera Daisy and Tulips, as recommended by DexKnows. Pick up a bouquet at your local grocer and select a classic vase from the dollar store. Then, present it to that special someone yourself for an extra-special touch that will also save on delivery costs.
Prepare Homemade Goodies
If your loved one loves your culinary skills, whip up a batch of his or her favorite homemade treat and package them simply in cellophane and ribbon. If cooking isn’t your thing, you’ll score extra brownie points (pun intended) for going out of your comfort zone to make something special. Even if the end result isn’t perfect, your honey will appreciate the effort.
Give a Gift Card
Gift cards are the preferred gift for people who seem to have everything, and 15 percent of Valentine’s Day shoppers plan to give one this year. You can find gift cards to retailers, restaurants and movie theatres for less using Gift Card Granny, the “Google of gift cards” offering discounts of up to 30 percent. They even have a helpful guide of the best gift cards to give your wife, husband, mom or teenage daughter if you find yourself stumped.
Offer Breakfast in Bed
Breakfast in bed may require you to wake up earlier than usual, but it’s worth it for your Valentine. Since the gesture is more important than the menu, you can opt for simplicity with their favorite bowl of cereal and freshly-brewed coffee. If you’ve got the skills, kick it up a notch with fresh strawberries and heart-shaped pancakes drizzled in maple syrup. Regardless of your selection, breakfast in bed is a romantic way to start the day.
Leave a Love Note
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and yet there’s nothing more romantic than a thoughtful note from your sweetie. Make it unique by leaving it in a surprising spot — like the driver’s seat of her car — and include a single rose. If poetry or writing isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it; the note need only include a simple sentiment. When in doubt, jot down a special memory you both shared for extra smiles and butterflies.
Channel Your Inner Child
Going out to dinner or catching the latest chick flick are popular Valentine’s Day activities, but they can get tiresome and eat into your budget. Skip the grown-up happy hour for kid-like fun, including a friendly competition on the swing set, bike ride around your neighborhood or explore a scenic drive. Consult Mr Free Stuff’s list of 60 free date ideas for more inspiration, and remember the simplest activity can be the most memorable.
Create a Spa Sanctuary
Surprise your special someone with a relaxing spa at home. Prepare a bath with sweet-smelling bath salts and rose petals for an added touch. Light several candles, pour a glass of bubbly, have plush bath towels within reach and tune your iPod or radio to favorite love songs. Since you may not have these bath essentials on hand, pick them up for less than $10 at discount retailers like TJMaxx.
DIY Gift Basket
Gift baskets represent an easy way to give small, inexpensive gifts in a beautiful package. World Market sells gift basket sets complete with basket, cellophane and packing material for less than $5. Hold off until the day before Valentine’s Day to find seasonal chocolates on sale at the drugstore. Candles, hand lotion and a framed photo of a favorite memory are all thoughtful additions.