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Frugal Tips for Valentines Day

 Ever notice how expensive Valentines can be?  Lets face it, Valentines is a impress the significant other holiday and it can be hard on the pocket book.  If you're a little more money conscious this year, here are some tips:

  • If you must get flowers, might as well get the best price. Flower stores make a killing by increasing their prices during Valentines week.  However, I've found that grocery stores with a flower section keep their prices fairly competitive.  One jewel of a store for flowers is Costco.  They have a decent selection at great prices which don't seem to change during Valentines.  However, act quick as they sell out fast.

  • Going out to Eat?  Avoid going out on Feb 14.  Along with flower stores, restaurants all seem to have a "special" Valentines menu that includes a side of rip off.  Try avoiding going out on Valentines day itself and go out on the weekend before or after.

  • Be Creative with your gifts. Instead of going out and buying an expensive gift, why not do something for your partner that would be just as nice?  Things like breakfast in bed, or preparing a candle lit dinner.

So now back to you.  Do you have any good, but money conscious, ideas for Valentines day?

Photo credit: Klynslis

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Avatar cannon_fodder February 13, 2008, 8:30 am

    I will find out later today how good Costco’s online deal was. My wife is supposed to receive a pack of Lindt chocolates (which I hope she’ll save for me), a teddy bear and 24 long stem roses in a vase for somewhere less than $90 from Costco.ca.

    I, OTOH, received 6 sweetheart roses and nothing else (not even a vase) and it cost her over $100 to have them delivered (I am away in Australia where everything is more expensive).

    Typically we splurge on very nice cards and maybe some chocolates. Bit we do nice things for each other often so Valentine’s isn’t as important to us.

  • Avatar Canadian Dream February 13, 2008, 10:21 am

    I had this talk with my wife earlier this week. We decided to skip the cards, gifts and just have a nice meal out the weekend after the big V day.

    We don’t really need a set day to say “I love you.” Besides, buying flowers at other times of the year ‘just because’ is more fun.


  • Avatar Dividendgrowth February 13, 2008, 10:49 am

    Well you can have a romantic dinner for two at your own home. Say honey i want to do something special for you, and cook her the meal and sip her red wine :-) How much “frugalicious” can you get?

    As for flowers, unless you can “steal them” from somewhere, you will need to buy them online. I think that you will get more “poiints” if you send them to her work if you live together. You should still give her flowers if you live together, but in person.

  • Avatar MoneyMusing February 13, 2008, 10:54 am

    A life lesson I’ve learned this year is to NEVER express your true opinion about the V-day celebrations.

    You then have to plan for V-day gifts and makeup gifts effectively doubling the cost of the day if you would have just kept your mouth shut!

  • Avatar DJP February 13, 2008, 12:59 pm

    I d

  • Avatar Telly February 13, 2008, 12:59 pm

    Good thinking MoneyMusing!! I’m not a big Valentine gal but I have to admit, I’d be disappointed if I didn’t at least get a nice card.

    Personally, I dislike the crowds on V-day so we never go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day anymore. How is it romantic when every restaurant in the city has jammed their tables together to squeeze in as many people as possible?

    Since my husband is a pretty fantastic cook, he’s going to prepare us a nice dinner at home. And who knows, maybe I’ll set the alarm a bit early to serve him breakfast in bed wearing a special red number. ;)

    Lol…just trying to spice things up for V-day in the PF blog world!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Avatar DJP February 13, 2008, 12:59 pm

    I disagree with the Costco comment…they, like everyone else, jack the price up during Valentine’s. Usually 2 dozen roses runs about $20 but they boost it to $30. Maybe its different by region but I think it has more to do with distributors and simple supply and demand. Having said that, they are still much cheaper than a florist.

  • Avatar Alex February 13, 2008, 1:04 pm

    The best way to avoid going broke on Vday is to be single. Works all the time.

  • Avatar MikeG February 13, 2008, 1:04 pm

    One of my greatest financial blessings in life is having a wife that is as (if not more) frugal as myself. I asked her what she felt about valentines day, she says (paraphrase) “Its a waste of money, I know you love me, lets just spend time together” :) I love my wife :)

    I will probably make her a good dinner and we’ll spend the time romantically.

  • Avatar Little Ms.Scrooge February 13, 2008, 1:06 pm

    It is only in Canada that we saw a tremendous build up of shopping for valentines. So as we never had it in our lives before, we never felt the need to buy gifts/ flowers on this particular day. But as ‘valentimes for the whole class’ is encouraged in my kids school, I can see how they are grooming the future generations towards spending more money for just this one day in the year!!
    Completely off the romantic notes, Can someone explain what ETFs are and how they are different from MFs. I read a bit but I am still not very clear. Thank you in advance

  • Avatar FrugalTrader February 13, 2008, 1:58 pm

    Little Ms. Scrooge, ETF stands for Exchange Traded Fund and it’s basically the same idea as a mutual fund EXCEPT that ETF’s are traded on a stock exchange just like regular stock. In addition to this, ETF’s typically have lower MER’s than Mutual funds.

    ETF’s and Mutual funds are basically a basket of stocks with a certain investment criteria.

    Does this clear things up?

  • Avatar CheapCanuck February 13, 2008, 2:27 pm

    We went out for our Valentine’s Day dinner last night. As you stated prices always seem to be jacked up on Feb 14th. Even more annoying is the restaurants that discontinue their regular menu for the occasion, giving you a limited selection of perhaps four items to choose from. What if we don’t like any of the selections offered?

    Always have to make sure I show up with flowers though. My wife might forgive me, but I’d never hear the end of it from her girlfriends :)

  • Avatar jpohl February 13, 2008, 3:43 pm

    I love it when my husband writes me poems, and makes an extra special meal (but nothing too heavy…. something that sits like Christmas dinner is not so very romantic.) Most women tend to think that something that takes time and imagination more than money to be much more romantic. Another option is to cash in old cds or other things you don’t need or want to pay for something special…

    Cut toast in the shape of hearts and serve it with flowers… froth milk to top freshly ground coffee and top it with chocolate sprinkles. You can even buy or make stencils to put the sprinkles on in a heart shape.

    We saved a fortune on perfectly beautiful flowers for our wedding at the superstore…. roses, sunflowers and gerber daisies, but I’m letting him off the hook this year. Temperatures are very low, and I don’t think a flower would make it across the parking lot.

    For my birthday my husband and little boy both came back with roses which especially touching. So there’s a thought.. if you buy a bunch, let your little have one to give. It would melt a mother’s heart. Although several months later I discovered that the florist let my toddler have a free rose to give me after he told her she was “beautiful”. Not sure everyone could pull that off though. (-:

    And remember you can’t buy love! Well not the true blue kind anyway..

    We’re making our paper valentine’s again today… and I have a mom that loves cheesy free e-cards!

    Happy Valentines everyone!

  • Avatar Rodney Payne February 13, 2008, 10:52 pm

    One year, I went to an online crossword builder site and constructed a crossword from events in our lives together. I had a blst watching her stroll down memory lane as she worked the puzzle. Anyone can buy flowers…………..

    She is also of the opinion of why waste money on flowers.

  • Avatar nancy (aka money coach) February 14, 2008, 3:38 am

    sheesh you guys…. hope you don’t mind if your woman buys cheap lingerie! Second-hand perhaps? or why bother at all when the ratty old stuff will do?

    but ok — some of the alternatives above were sweet.

  • Avatar The Financial Blogger February 14, 2008, 8:27 am

    I’m preparing an indoor picnic with wine and cheese. Since we have the kids, my wife has no clue of what we will do ;-)

  • Avatar George February 14, 2008, 8:59 am

    I bought my wife flowers for Valentine’s day three weeks ago (and gave them to her three weeks ago). She appreciated the thought even more than she would have had I bought them on the 14th, and I got them for the “normal” price from the flower shop instead of the over-inflated “Valentine’s special” price.

  • Avatar telly February 14, 2008, 9:15 am

    Very nice Nancy. :)

    Flowers don’t necessarily mean blowing $100 on roses. Tulips are just as beautiful (more in my opinion) and can be had for under $20. Your wife may tell you not to bother spending the money (I’ve said it myself), but believe me, she won’t get mad if you don’t listen to her this time. :)

    Financial Blogger, I think your indoor wine and cheese picnic is a wonderful idea. I’m sure your wife is going to love it! The crossword puzzle is great as well. There are definitely great alternatives to flowers (but not to chocolate ;)).

  • Avatar FrugalTrader February 14, 2008, 9:19 am

    Some great ideas there guys, especially the cross word puzzle part. I personally find that thoughtful gifts are more appreciated than expensive ones.

    Although, a new HD LCD TV wouldn’t go astray. ;)

  • Avatar Johnn February 14, 2008, 1:12 pm

    * We celebrate on the 15th or 16th. Line-ups are gone and shops are eager to sell off extra inventories.

    * Buy a permanent plant (is that a perennial or an annual – always get mixed up). They are sometimes more expensive, but as the years go by, filling out gardens or indoor plants take care of themselves.

    * Make your own digital card. Grab the digital camera, take pics of something she’d like, and write something on it in MS Paint. Surprise her by making the pic a desktop wallpaper on her computer, or just send the pic via e-mail.

    * Exchange services. i.e. If you know web design, exchange your services for a spa certificate, or local cleaning agency services, etc.

    * Do not watch hockey on the 14th. :P

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