My husband and I used to try to skip celebrating Valentine’s Day. There just seemed to be so much pressure to come up with the perfect gift. Or plan the ideal date. Or send the most beautiful bouquet or heartfelt card. It got to be a little exhausting.
But then one year, we had a moment of clarity and reminded each other that Valentine’s Day is really just about love. Spending a lot of money shouldn’t have to be a part of the equation at all.
Fortunately, there are lots and lots of way to show someone you love them without having to invest a lot of money or time. After all, most people just want a little romance and that can be done for almost no money at all.
Check out these great ideas (many of which I’ve done myself!):
• Skip the $5 card that plays music and put that money towards a nice bottle of wine instead. (Cards usually end up in the trash anyway.)
• Scale back — buy 3 roses instead of 12 or a nice lunch at a favorite restaurant instead of dinner at the most expensive place in town!
• Get creative with a homemade card or CD mix of romantic songs.
• Rent a movie, make a fire and turn off your cell phones. See what happens!
• Cook a great dinner at home and get dressed up as if you were going someplace fancy.
• Go on a hike at a special place.
• Write your spouse a love letter. Emails don’t count!
• Create coupons for a foot massage, a week of dishwashing, a back rub, or offering to do a dreaded chore.
• Make a little photo album of your recent vacation together or go through photos of the two of you from years past and create a fun, memory-filled album.
• Turn the lights down, the music up and dance!
• Farm your kids out to a relative so the two of you can have an entire night by yourselves.
• Go outside and look at the stars. Take a blanket and snuggle up.
• Plan a picnic if the weather is nice. Make a song playlist to set the mood.
• Send your significant other a card at his or her office.
• Repeat what you did or where you went on your first date (my favorite idea!).
• Go ahead and go to that expensive restaurant, but just get coffee and dessert.
Don’t get caught up in the Valentine’s Day marketing machine. Yes, it’s a big day for many retailers — flowers, candy, lingerie, etc. — but don’t let those ads make you buy things you can’t afford.
Forget the diamonds, the trip to Tahiti and a $200 dinner. Just say, “I love you.”