Be My Frugal Valentine: Ideas for Saving

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Valentine’s Day is coming soon. Time to think what you’ll do for your sweetheart, children, friends, and family and be a frugal valentine.

No, you don’t have to do anything. It’s not technically a holiday, but it can be fun, if you want it to be.

Preplanning will help avoid high costs later and allow yourself the luxury of treating someone to a special treat or experience. A frugal valentine isn’t necessarily cheap. It just didn’t cost a fortune.

boys and mom sitting at Valentine's dinner

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And who wants to spend a fortune when you don’t have to?

How can you celebrate the people you love without spending an arm and a leg?

Try one of these family-friendly, frugal valentine suggestions:

valentine card with a coupon book atop it.

Make a DIY Coupon Book

Coupon books are fun to make an fun to give! You can customize them to suit the gift recipient as well as your budget. You can even spread out their redemption period over several weeks or months so that you have time to save or budget for the activities or gifts of service.

Take a walk down memory lane.

Reliving sweet memories with your spouse or kids can be a wonderful way to spend an evening. Bring out the photo albums, show some home movies, share stories and memories of years gone past.

If yours is a special love story (which ones aren’t?) make sure you share it with your children! Better yet, write it down. If you live where you met, dated, or married, take a drive by some of your old haunts and relive the sweet memories of the past.

dinner table set with lasagna and green beans

Cook a special dinner at home.

Restaurants often charge more on Valentine’s Day, so play it smart. Instead, I cook the same meal I prepared on our first date. It’s a fun day to model a little romance with our kids and still enjoy a delicious dinner together.

If your first date was at McDonald’s or otherwise isn’t worth remembering, there are lots of romantic dinner ideas to cook at home.

Celebrate before or after the 14th.

What difference does a day — or a week — make? Sometimes $20/dozen of roses. Does the particular day really matter?

For years we’ve gone out the day before or after Valentine’s Day to avoid the crowds and the expense.

heart-shaped scones on a plate with an apple, the napkin wrapped in a bow, a glass of milk nearby.

Treat your kids to a sweet.

How about afternoon tea with the kids? It won’t cost much but it will be super fun!

Make personalized candy bars or heart-shaped scones – just something special to show them that they are dear to your heart.

cover of In the Kitchen with Kids

In the Kitchen With Kids is a guide to help you get cooking with your children in ways that are fun, seasonal, and don’t drive you crazy.

Grab a copy now and dig into the special Valentine’s menu.

Check out a movie for FREE.

Believe it or not, there are chick-flicks that guys will like! My husband will actually get in a heated debate with you if you prefer the Colin Firth P&P over the Keira Knightley version.

Getting your movie at the library (and returning it in a timely manner) or via a free app, such as Amazon Prime or Hulu ensures an almost free at-home date night.

What are you doing to stretch your dollars a little farther this Valentine’s Day?

This post was originally published on February 4, 2010. It has been updated for content and clarity.

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  1. We have a nice dinner at home. Dessert is usually a chocolate treat. Everyone gets one low-cost, practical gift — things like socks, razors, or a music/book download.

  2. SO, I can’t type, and I believe I included the correct link, but not the correct title! Despite what it says, I have a link to butter chicken…not baked fudge…although that’s on the blog too! 🙂

  3. In our family we like to do all we can to take the commercialism out of these largely commercial holidays. We talk about why we want to celebrate those we love and how we can do that without spending much money. My daughter loves making valentines for everyone and her grandparents appreciate an hand-crafted heart that’s a little lopsided over one we took a few minutes to buy at the store. We’re actually going out for date night this Valentine’s Day but only because it falls on our regularly scheduled date night. Otherwise, I would have made special dinner for the whole family.

  4. 5. Don’t forget your fellow moms!
    Don’t forget your single or widowed neighbors. They like muffins too.

  5. I prefer to stay home on days like Valentine’s or Mother’s Day. Not only do we avoid the prices of restaurants…but who needs the crowds? This year I plan to make lasagna. I’ve already bought the meat on sale and will keep my eyes open for a sale on ricotta and mozzarella.
    A few Valentine’s Days ago I made a little 8×8 photo album for my husband. I went through nearly 40 years of photos (yeah, we’ve been together that long) and found shots of us from high school days up until recently. Just the two of us, with one photo per page. It was pretty frugal since I already had the photos and had plenty of scrapbooking supplies on hand. Mike really loved it, and it was a lot of fun to make!

  6. Thanks for reminding me that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner (wasn’t New Year’s just yesterday?)! I like to use this holiday to make a special card for each of my kids, telling them some (of the many) things that make them special to their dad and me. The red and pink construction paper hearts may look a little cheesy, but it makes me smile when I see those notes in their rooms years later.

  7. I love celebrating holidays with the kids, but I agree that you don’t have to spend a fortune to do it. We already do some of your ideas, and the others I’ll definitely try! Thanks!