Yup, it’s that time of the year again. Malls will be filled with flowers, heart-shaped candles and candies…love is in the air! If you have been with the same person for a few years, you are probably finding it hard to come up with some creative and romantic ideas without blowing up your budget. Every year I have trouble at this time of the year; finding the “right” gift is never an easy task for me. If you find yourself in a similar position then these tips may help rescue you.

Declare Your Love
Write a love letter. Remember all those lover letters you wrote in high school? Well, take sometime and write a love letter. If you can, go a step further and make a video! Yup, make a love video, (not that kind!) select a meaningful location (where you met first or your first date…) to tape the video and remind him/her of the earlier days and how much your love has grown.

Candlelit Dinner
There is no need to spend $200 on a dinner on Valentines Day, you can just make a romantic candlelit dinner at home and play some soft music to set the right mood. The best part is that you have privacy and there aren’t dozens of people around you. If you do not want to spend the day cooking just order a meal and pick it up or have it delivered.

Thoughtful Gifts
Flowers, chocolate and cards are very typical Valentines Day gifts; try to be a little different. Think of something that may mean more, something more personal. Someone had suggested to me a “Personal Gift Card” that they can redeem for your services, a few services could be running errands, a massage or cooking. Another good suggestion was a collage of your pictures. These gifts won’t cost you much, but can be much more valuable.

If you are blessed with children, a great idea is to hire a nanny for the day and dedicate some quality time with your significant other. A lot of the couples we meet complain about not having enough time for each other, hence Valentines Day can be a perfect opportunity to spend the day/evening alone together.

Scavenger Hunt
Send your loved one on a love scavenger hunt. You can start by leaving little notes and trails for them to follow when they wake up. Get them to collect the items and put together the “love puzzle” which will be your love letter, etc. You can do all sorts of fun and frugal things with this.

Online Stores
If you don’t have much time and really need to find something fast, then search online stores. Amazon may be a good place to start, they actually have a full page dedicated to Valentines Day, and eBay could also be an option.

Postpone Valentines Day
A great way to cut your Valentines Day cost is to just delay it a week or so. Retailers increase prices on their Valentines’ items as do restaurants. Not to mention the busy crowds if you live in a bigger city. You can enjoy a much more romantic atmosphere on a lower budget if you can just delay it a week.

Plan for Next Year
If you are really worried about Valentines Day then start planning for next year. Take what you have learned from this year and try to avoid those mistakes next year. Maybe change your budget and have a “V-day” fund in there and contribute a small amount when you can. Also pay more attention to your loved one and remember the things he/she likes so you won’t have a hard time with gifts next year.

What frugal tips would you like to share? What have you or has your loved one done in the past?



Ray is an ex-financial adviser and the founder of Financial Highway. Currently working in the financial industry and working towards completing his Chartered Financial Analyst, CFA, designation.