Today’s guest contributor, Maya Szydlowski, is a community manager for Military Family Central, a network specifically for military families on parenting, community news, and deployment. She is here with some great frugal Valentine’s Day tips.
Celebrating with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost you a pretty penny if you keep in mind these five low-cost options for couples that are fortunate enough to have found a babysitter for the occasion.
1. Consider a home-cooked or store-bought romantic dinner
Instead of a four-course dinner and champagne at a fancy, overbooked restaurant, put your culinary skills to work and cook for your partner. If you’re cooking skills aren’t up to par, try a grocery or specialty food store’s pre-made options, which may be a bit pricier than a home-cooked meal, but are still cheaper than most restaurant fare.
2. Make your gift(s)
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they are certainly not as friendly to the wallet. Instead of spending a paycheck or two on some bling, make an individualized gift for your loved one using photos or other mementos. You don’t even have to be that crafty, as sites such as Snapfish offer the opportunity to turn your photos into ornaments, low-priced jewelry, puzzles and other novelties.
3.Help out around the house
If you’re not the one who normally does the bulk of the housework, go out of your way to help out with the chores this Valentine’s Day. There’s no cost for this and will give your partner the time to celebrate later in the evening.
4. Cook up home-baked treats rather than buying high-priced chocolates
While it may be easier to pick up a heart-shaped box of chocolates at the grocery store, it’s more heart-felt to make a homemade goodie, such as fudge, chocolates or a cake with a personalized message in frosting. It also gives you the chance to personalize your treat to your sweetie’s tastes, as perhaps she does not like chocolate (gasp!) or he has a love for banana cream pie.
5. Celebrate on a different day
There’s no reason you have to celebrate on February 14 if you don’t want to. If it’s easier to get a sitter on a different night, consider celebrating a week earlier or later. The restaurants will be less crowded and won’t have special, higher-priced menus. And if you celebrate after, there’s plenty of discounted chocolate and candy from which to choose from.
It’s key for couples on a budget to remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t about breaking the bank, it’s about spending the time and thought on your loved one that you may otherwise forget to do. And don’t feel obligated to celebrate on February 14th if other agendas don’t work with that day, being together before or after could really save you some time and money.
Maya Szydlowski is the community manager for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leader in VA loans and dedicated to making a positive impact in the community.
Valentines images from BigStockPhoto.com