Valentine’s Day Shopping On A Budget Comments55 Comments

With Valentine’s Day coming up soon, I’m sure a lot of the guys out there are checking their bank accounts and figuring out how they are going to afford to spoil their special someone this year. Maybe that sounds a bit sexist, but let’s face it, this holiday is about the ladies.

Last year I wrote about Valentine’s Day flower coupons. While flowers are fairly safe, it’s also a little boring. If you want it to be a really ‘special’ night, you might want to step up your game a bit. Besides we all know that florists take advantage of this time of year and bump up their prices.

Now I can’t get into the details of my plans for my girlfriend since she’ll most definitely read this post when she sees the title. Sorry sweetie, no Tiffany’s jewelry or anything fancy this year. Because we’re looking at buying a home later this year, I think she understands the need to be a little extra frugal this year. I hope so anyway.

The thing is, a Valentine’s Day present doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. It’s more about just making your loved one feel special. There are all kinds of ways you can show that you care without breaking the bank.

First, think of something that will remind her about a memorable time. It could be when you first met, your first date, your wedding, honeymoon, etc. There are bound to be various inexpensive gifts that will get her thinking of that special occasion and let her know that you have fond memories of it too. And no that doesn’t mean she’ll be happy with a keychain or other super cheap memento related to one of those events.

If that angle doesn’t work, instead think of everything she truly loves. Sometimes just by showing that you’ve been paying attention to her passions, you can score some points. Don’t dare just get her something practical unless you’re absolutely sure she won’t be offended. Valentine’s is supposed to about romance, not practicality.

You actually don’t have to get her a gift just for her. Things that can create memories are often some of the better gifts you can give. Just by planning a creative, fun date, you can win her heart. Ideally that planned date is for on Valentine’s, but if you’re late on planning, you could have a nice dinner and surprise her with a future date too. It could be something like tickets to some kind of event, a gourmet cooking class, couple spa session, a short vacation to somewhere nearby or whatever you think she would really appreciate.

Of course, saving money on a holiday like this isn’t just about choosing a less expensive gift. How you buy any gift is important too. If you’re shopping online, be sure to watch for sites that ask for coupons at checkout. That can add significant savings. Just by shopping early, you might be able to take advantage of sales.

Regardless of what you plan, make sure you keep in mind what’s important. It’s easy to be skeptical about holidays as a big gimmick for card companies and commercialism. That’s only true if you give in to those pressures. Focus on your loved one’s happiness, and she likely won’t even notice if you didn’t spend a ton.

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This entry was posted in Financial Advice, Giveaways, and tagged , Comments55 Comments
By : Jeremy Biberdorf | 4 Feb 2013
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55 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Shopping On A Budget

  1. Listen Money Matters

    You know, I’m terrible at remembering to plan for Valentines Day (still haven’t made a reservation)! I’m actually going to go book something now and I’m a bit nervous cause it’s impossible to book anything for Valentines Day in NYC :/

    Hope you and your special one have a great Valentines Day Jeremy!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Good luck finding a good reservation. Leaving that kind of thing too late in a big city can be a bit of a problem. I’m sure NYC has plenty of great restaurants though.

      Reply
  2. Rhea P

    Breakfast/Brunch dates can be romantic and less stressful than getting reservations for dinner, and they cost less, too (and it’s easier to get a babysitter, if you have kids). I’d also suggest making a card with an original poem (it doesn’t have to be good! women like the gesture)

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Great idea Rhea. Unfortunately it’s a little tricky to pull off something like that when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday. Making a card definitely gets brownie points as I’ve done that for other occasions for my girlfriend.

      Reply
  3. Jamie Dickinson @ YourSavingAngels

    My wife and usually don’t make a big fuss for valentine’s day, mostly becuase we try to treat each other radndomly throughout the year. However this year I’ve decided to treat her… because, well, she’s super awesome. Whether you believe in it or not, as blokes we should take the time to show our other halves how special they are, it’s about them, not the holiday.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I’m sure your wife appreciates you treating her well year round. Since you usually don’t do much for Valentine’s she’ll probably really like a change this year.

      Reply
  4. John S @ Frugal Rules

    We don’t make a big deal about Valentines’ Day, as we tend to focus more on our anniversary. That said, I do still like to get something nice for my wife and usually try to buy something that I know she’s been wanting as opposed to buying the usual stuff.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Your anniversary is definitely more important to make a big deal about since it’s a day that is just special between you. Men just have to remember that you’ll want your girlfriend or wife to be proud when she talks to her friends or family about what she did for Valentine’s Day.

      Reply
  5. Jason @ WorkSaveLive

    My wife and I really have never done much for Valentine’s day. She did surprise me a little this year: it’s a long story but we’re going to eat a meal that’s rather meaningful to use…Pasta Roni. lol.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      lol sounds like a fancy meal, but as long as it has special meaning to you two. It’s funny that 10 days ahead and you’ve already got that all planned.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Really a nice home cooked meal has the potential to be a lot more romantic as you’re not in some restaurant with 30 other couples. Getting all dressed up once in a while is nice, but it’s a little weird when everyone there is all doing the same thing.

      Reply
  6. Grayson @ Debt RoundUp

    I plan on a low key V day this year. It is kind of hard to work something up when you have a one month old. I will most likely cook for my wife and give her something she would enjoy. Most likely will not purchase flowers.

    Reply
  7. TB at BlueCollarWorkman

    Usually I buy her chocolate in the heart box. I know it’s overdone, but my wife loves it! I’ll take her out to dinner sometimes and get a babysitter for the girls. That goes over pretty well too. I think doing something original is cool, but sometimes the classics work great too. A simple dinner with just the two of you. Some chocolate. With my wife, it seems like just showing that I care and remember is what’s important, not so much what it is that I actually do/get for her.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Sounds like a good plan to me. It’s all about what she likes and what will make her happy. You obviously know your wife best and should be able to tell whether your efforts meet her expectations. Sometimes going above and beyond is worthwhile though.

      Reply
  8. Edward Antrobus

    ” Valentine’s is supposed to about romance, not practicality.” Nothing says that somebody cares about me more than buying me something I really need. The best Christmas present I’ve received as an adult is my vacuum cleaner. Best birthday present: a mortar and pestle.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I was pretty happy with the more practical gifts I got at Christmas last year, but I think Valentine’s is a little different. I couldn’t see most women being very happy with a very practical gift for that holiday. Every woman is different though.

      Reply
  9. Girl Meets Debt

    Awww Jeremy, who knew you were such a romantic ;)

    You nailed it when you said it’s all about making your loved one feel special!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Some women are actually quite happy with the more basic plan, but others would be disappointed. So it’s important to know what will make your girlfriend/wife happy. Hope you’ve got something good planned for your girlfriend John.

      Reply
  10. Darnell Jackson

    Good one Jeremy,

    I think the best thing to do is make the people you love stuff.

    Dead broke? Can’t afford $100 flowers this year?

    Bake her a cake and buy a rose bush from home depot for $10 .and plant it in the back yard.

    The goal is to care more spend time not money.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That kind of stuff is definitely appreciated, provided you’re not totally clueless. Like if you know for a fact that you’re horrible at baking, the thought might not count for much. The rose bush is a pretty good idea. That way she can have flowers throughout the year.

      Reply
  11. Jordann @ My Alternate Life

    Good suggestion, I think I’m going to be spending a fair chunk of cash on Valentine’s day this year, but that’s mostly because my fiance proposed to me around Valetine’s last year and I want to show him how happy that made me.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That’s cool that you will be showing him some extra appreciation. I think most guys would really like that once in a while since it would be so unexpected. Just remember it’s not just about how much you spend.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That’s especially true if you make the destination a surprise. When she realizes where you’re taking her, it’s sure to bring a smile to her face.

      Reply
  12. Chis@StumbleForward

    I’m keeping Valentines Day on a very tight budget this year, simply because I’m not a big believer of Hallmark Holidays. I’d rather just surprise my wife with something out of the blue on some odd day out of the year. Personally I think she’ll like that more than just getting the same old card V-Day card and flowers. Just my thoughts anyways.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That approach is good as long as she realizes that. If you pulled that without her knowing that’s how you felt she might be a bit bummed. I could see her really liking a random surprised when she’s not expecting it though.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Yep, those experiences can create memories to last a lifetime. Meanwhile any physical gifts are often quickly forgotten about as the item goes out of style or becomes outdated.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Somehow I expected that with all of the tasty recipes you post on your blog. I am surprised that you both make each other cards though. Usually it’s just one person in the couple doing the arts and crafts thing. I admit I’m that person in my relationship.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I can see why some people wouldn’t like it. It makes the whole thing feel a bit forced. Then again some couples probably need that extra kick in the pants to spark some romance in their relationship.

      Reply
  13. Vinish Parikh

    As far as i am concerned my idea of celebrating valentine day is simple. A flower in the morning and a romantic movie in the evening followed by a candle light dinner at home. It is my inexpensive way of celebrating this day

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      That would keep the price down while still making it a special day. I don’t think I would want to follow the same plan each year though. I like to surprise my girlfriend somehow.

      Reply
  14. Audra

    I have planned to get him a red rose and wallet for my hubby. @Vinish, I love to have candle light dinner but it’s out of my budget now. Will try for next year.

    Reply
  15. Jose

    I always budget some money for V day. It’s really about showing appreciation for your better half. this is especially true if she (or he) waits patiently and without fuss when you spend countless hours working on your blog! As far as going out to dinner? Definitely, we just don’t do it on Valentines day. Within a day or two in wither direction works for us and we avoid the kissy kissy crowds!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Good idea to go out on a different day. It probably makes it a lot less awkward without the couple exclusive crowds. I can relate to needing to put in a bit of extra effort to make up for all the time I spend on my blog. I feel pretty guilty when I’m typing away on my computer and she is waiting to spend some time with me.

      Reply
  16. Alex

    My wife and I tend to skip celebrating valentine’s day on the actual day. We both find it crazy how flowers magically get cheaper the day after, and restaurants get a lot less crowded. We often go out on the 15th to celebrate instead just for those reasons.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      I think I might have to talk to my girlfriend about going that route next year. It would be nice to get cheaper flowers, easier dinner reservations and less crowds. I’d suggest doing the same for Christmas, but I can’t deal with the Boxing Day shopping crowds.

      Reply
  17. David

    We all have to give love on Valentine’s Day. However, It is just right to be budget conscious. We can give treats to our loved ones and yet remain practical. You are really right, Jeremy. You gave the right pointers.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy

      Unfortunately some people do get caught up with how much gifts cost. If a gift is from the heart, it shouldn’t matter if it is lower priced.

      Reply

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