Romance for Less

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Men, Valentines is fast approaching, an often costly calendar date. Be creative, romantic, and frugal this Valentines. Keep the cliché It's the thought that counts in mind when planning this day.

Hold the Flowers

Flowers, especially roses, are always a thoughtful and well-received gift. However, at Valentine's Day the cost of a bouquet of roses can increase by 50-60% and even more in some stores. A less expensive flower may do the trick; opt for daisies, carnations, or something more exotic. These options may still be a pricey investment for something that lasts a week.

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Hold the flowers for now, and surprise her with flowers at another time. Flowers are expected this time of year, but the surprise of a bouquet delivered to work or placed on the Tuesday dinner table might be better. Save your money on the Valentine's flowers and spread it throughout the year for multiple floral surprises for the same price.

Dining

Reservations are a must on a night like Valentines, yet many family restaurants don't offer reservations. To guarantee a seat without the wait, chances are you're dining at a higher priced restaurant. The restaurant will be crowded, reservations may still require a short wait, and the option of lingering after dinner for conversation will be limited.

Opt for dining in, regardless of your cooking ability. Many grocery stores offer fully cooked dinners available for order much like a deli tray. Restaurants also offer take-out; call ahead to order from a select menu and pick up the dinner from the parking lot.

If going out is a must, plan to celebrate another day when restaurants might be less crowded or make it a lunch date instead of a dinner date.

The Show

Dinner and a show is a nice plan for the evening, but plan the show ahead of time. If a movie is what you have in mind, order tickets on-line ahead of time. Many theaters offer the option of ordering the tickets on-line for a minimal charge; tickets can be picked up at a will-call kiosk at the theater without waiting in line. Get there early for a good seat. Save by complimenting your lunch date with a matinee movie.

Movies are still expensive, and watching a video at home with your take-in dinner might be the romantic and comfortable setting you enjoy. When renting, keep in mind that many will be renting as well. If you're planning to rent a Valentine staple, pick it up or order it a few days ahead of time.

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The Gift

While the choice of gift is something that only you can make, be reasonable. Ignore the commercials that make diamonds seem like common gifts. Something as simple as a night out usually means a great deal to your significant other.

Frugal and loving gifts can be actions instead of items. Offer to run the errands for the week, get the kids ready one morning while she sleeps in, or check a few items off the to-do list she made you. All of these make great gifts with little cost. Save the money for something you'll both enjoy.

January 10, 20090 found this helpful

Another great idea that costs very little is one I gave my husband last year (doesn't hurt to help them out a bit, ladies ;). I reminded my husband that I LOVE romance novels and that our local second hand store has them for 50 cents each. I received three books (all nicely wrapped) and they only cost my hubby $1.50 and a little bit of thought as to which ones to choose. This was a perfect gift for me! I made him a nice dinner and he was happy too.

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February 14, 20090 found this helpful

A packeged dinner from the supermarket? Why would you celebrate with something that is probably bad? If I go out to eat, I want something better than I can cook and I am a great cook. So, somehow the resource that mothers use when their kids have too many after school activities to be driven to is acceptable for Valentine's Day. A resounding no! The dinner would probably give you heartburn.

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