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 like things to make her life easier. 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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