Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Do you have your frugal gift giving list in order? Saint Valentine sure had it in for us guys when he decided Valentine’s Day would fall on February 14, less than two months after Christmas. It is a rare occasion when frugality and romance mix, but why not make this Valentine’s Day the year to celebrate frugally with some low-cost, romantic gift ideas. Warning, this is an area where frugality could be harmful to your health, so be sure you are giving these gifts from the heart, not just to save a buck.
Homemade coupon books are an inexpensive way to show your appreciation for loved ones. The design is not as the important as the content here, so don’t fret too much over the type of paper to use, the cover design, etc. Spend your time and energy brainstorming ideas and activities that really make your loved one happy. In a small booklet format, start listing those ideas, one per page. On Valentine’s Day present the homemade coupon book along with the promise to fulfill the coupon when presented. Here are a few ideas that may provide some inspiration:
- Good for One Free Car Wash
- Dad Takes the Kids For One Day
- A One-Hour Massage
- Dad Does the Cooking for One Week
- One “Chick-Flick” Date Night
- Get Out of Doing Dishes for One Week
- Spend One Week With No Television (not eligible for redemption during football season)
Browse Amazon.com for frugal gifts. Amazon.com has dedicated an entire page to Valentine’s Day gifts, and the best part is you can quickly search for Her/Him by price, meaning you can quickly filter out those non-frugal items. Then again guys, just this once, you may want to splurge a little. I do about 90% of my holiday shopping there, including Valentine’s Day.
Plan a picnic. In some parts of the country the weather is nice enough to plan a picnic by February 14. If not, bring a coat and go anyway. Besides, cold weather usually resorts to snuggling, and that’s a good thing on Valentine’s Day. Pick up an inexpensive basket at a flea market or craft store, and prepare an assortment of your loved one’s favorite snacks at home. The menu could be as simple as some fine cheese with crackers, or homemade mini-sandwiches and a small dessert. A quick search for picnic menu ideas yields some great results. Top it off with an inexpensive bottle of wine, or your beverage of choice. Don’t forget at least two blankets (one for the ground, and one for her). Make this a surprise and add to the suspense. Load up the picnic basket ahead of time and then tell your Valentine to dress warm for a surprise date.
Take a day trip. Schedule a vacation day from the office and surprise her with a short day trip to a regional attraction. Make it a fun date – maybe a visit to an aquarium, museum, or even the zoo. Plan ahead by ordering tickets in advance, and be on the lookout for any merchants that offer deals if you buy from them (your Valentine doesn’t have to know). Plan to eat lunch and/or dinner before visiting the attraction because food at entertainment venues is nearly as expensive as movie theater candy.
Bottom line, it is true what they say – it is the thought that counts. You don’t have to go broke showering your Valentine with overly expensive gifts to show your love for them. In fact, gifts from the heart usually mean more to the recipient than something bought at a store, at least they do to us frugal dads.