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Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Guest Posts | 0 comments

5 Fun-Yet-Cheap Gift and Date Night Ideas for Valentine’s Day

According to the National Retail Federation, the average amount of money spent on Valentine’s Day is roughly $125. That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially on the heels of the expensive winter holidays. But you don’t have to shell out that kind of dough to give your loved one a Valentine’s Day to remember. On this holiday more than any other it is the thought and the amount of effort you put into an activity or gift that counts.

valentines day gift baskets

1. Prepare a Romantic Home-Cooked Meal

Avoid the expense of eating out and prepare an intimate home-cooked meal instead. But don’t stop there – create a romantic environment with candles, flowers, pillows, and soft music, or transform your space into whatever environment your love will appreciate most. And just because you’re eating in doesn’t mean you can’t dress up. A practical note: Select a menu you can prepare beforehand to avoid spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

2. Create a Frugal Gift Basket

A gift basket prepared personally by you can be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Create a theme, such as in-home spa treatment, wine and cheese, or simply an array of favorite Valentine’s Day treats. Present with champagne to toast the holiday and a custom-made card that proclaims your love. You can often find a suitable basket along with bows, ribbons, and other supplies at your nearest dollar store.

3. Go Skating

For a unique spin on the standard Valentine’s Day date of dinner out, plan an evening roller skating or ice skating. It’s fun, healthy, very affordable and is a great way to break the ice for a budding relationship, or to add some excitement to a more established one.

4. Rent a Classic Romance Movie

Whether you eat out or stay in, finish the evening cuddling on the couch to a classic romance movie. Redbox and Netflix or Hulu each have options worth considering. But if romantic movies aren’t your forte, “The Notebook,” “When Harry Met Sally,” and “Casablanca” all fit the bill.

5. Give Gift Certificates from the Heart

Shower your mate with gift certificates for services that you render. Once you’ve brainstormed at least five ideas, write them out neatly on small sheets of paper that your mate will find appealing. Bundle them together with a hole punch and string, or simply present in a decorative envelope or small box. For example, you could gift a massage, a chore-free weekend, and a couple of nights of baby-sitting – just make sure it’s a collection of what your partner will most enjoy.

Final Thoughts

Unless your partner is incredibly materialistic, it’s not the amount of money you spend, but rather the thought you put into the celebration of your love that matters most. And it’s sometimes the tiny things, such as a few extra candles or a red bow wrapped around a DVD, that can make the night special. Don’t stifle your creativity, and pay attention to detail to make your evening as romantic as possible. Chances are, the occasion will be more memorable and appreciated than an expensive dinner out.

What other ways can you think of to save on Valentine’s Day?

Guest blogger David Bakke is a Savings.com DealPro and is a contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance, a website that strives to educate individuals in making wise choices about credit, debt, spending and more.

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