WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Love for Less: frugal Valentine's Day tips

Posted February 7, 2012


Showering your loved ones with goodies is always fun to do on Valentine’s Day, but not if it leaves you drowning in debt! With a little planning and creativity, you can show your loved ones you care and stay within your budget.


If you have your heart set on giving roses, many grocery stores offer a dozen roses for $20.00 or less. Some offer them as low as $10, as Trader Joe’s did last year. Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy roses. There are beautiful mixed flower bouquets available at grocery stores for $12 or less. Last year, Lowes Foods sold a beautiful 5-stem bunch of tulips for only $4.00


If you are signed up to receive e-mails from the daily deal sites, you have probably seen some good deals on area restaurants in the last few weeks. It’s not too late if you are still looking for a frugal dining out option for Valentine’s weekend. There should be multiple restaurant deals between now and February 14 at the daily deals sites listed below. Restaurant.com also has restaurant gift certificates for discounts off the face value. Faye Prosser, WRAL Smart Shopper SmartShopper offers frugal Valentine's Day tips

Daily Deal Sites:

SaveCity.com deals HERE

Living Social deals HERE

Groupon deals HERE

Twongo deals HERE

Moolala deals HERE  

If you have an Entertainment Book or a coupon book like the Citipass book, it is full of great coupons for Buy One Get One Free deals.

Instead of dinner on Valentine’s Day, eat out for lunch. Some restaurants have a less expensive lunch menu and it is usually not as crowded for lunch on Valentine’s as it is for dinner.

Of course, the most frugal dining option (other than fasting, I guess) is to eat at home. Even if you splurge on steak (on sale of course) it’s still going to be less expensive (and much less hectic) than eating out on Valentine’s Day.

I asked folks on the Smart Shopper blog what frugal Valentine’s ideas they had and many readers said they were staying in this year, cooking a special dinner at home and renting a movie.

Cards and Activities

Have your kids make their cards for the grandparents and parents. Homemade cards are fun to make with the kiddos and such a thoughtful gift. My youngest daughter and I made cards for my husband last week. It was a fun activity for us to do together and we used arts and crafts materials we had at the house so they were free!

Have a scavenger hunt for the kids or your special someone– place little hearts all over the place with reasons why you love them written on each little note. Give them a hint on each note where they can find the next one. At the last note, have a little stuffed animal or a $1 heart box of Hershey’s or Reeses chocolates waiting for them. Gather up all the sweet notes so they can keep them in a scrapbook to look at later.

Some of our Smart Shopper blog readers had some good suggestions for frugal ways to say “I Love You.”

Superturf guy shared that one time he cut out a bunch of hearts on red construction paper and put little notes on them and hid them everywhere all over the apartment and that she was still finding them months later!

Cheleberg wrote that Valentine's Day 1999 was the 1 year anniversary she was celebrating with her boyfriend. She cut out 365 hearts and wrote on each one fun memories and reasons she loved him. She put them in a red mailbox and told him to read 1 each day for the next year.

Holly asked her husband to get a plant that she can plant in the yard if he feels like he needs to get her something. She wrote, “No need to get flowers, they die in a week. The plant will look nice in our yard!!”

Jeanne wrote, “Buy 2/$1 VDay cards at the dollar store. Instead of buying things, we write "I O U" notes for a foot rub for instance, and hide them around the house. One place may be in a shoe. When one of us finds a note, we can collect! I'd rather have a nice backrub than a box of fattening, over-priced chocolates anyway!”

For next year:

Buy clearance Valentines cards and décor after Valentine’s Day this year to use next year.

Buy red wrapped clearance candy after Christmas to use for Valentines Day. The bags of red and green Hershey’s kisses are great. Use the red ones for Valentine’s Day and you can probably figure out something tasty to do with the green ones!

I wish you all a wonderful, frugal Valentine’s Day filled with love!


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  • whatmeworry Feb 9, 2012

    My hubby is taking me to our favorite restaurant Burger King to try their new steakhouse burger! He says im too fat but oh well. :)

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Feb 8, 2012

    Nancy - won't ever happen on a weekday, but might just happen this Saturday! :-)

  • Nancy Feb 8, 2012

    heremeaj - now he's the kind of husband who "gets it" :) He knows that the simple things are the best!

    Faye, if he can wrangle letting you sleep in (take a day of vacation and get the girls off to school etc), well, my goodness, let us all know! That man will deserve a wealth of kudos in the form of baked goodies or s*o*m*e*t*h*i*n*g!!

  • Faye Prosser - Smart Shopper Feb 7, 2012

    Heremeaj - that was so sweet of him to bring your favorite gum!

    Nancy - my husband asked me today what I might like since he knew it wasn't flowers (allergies). I told I wanted to sleep in one morning soon! LOL My list is simple and free.

    Tamara - I like your husband's in-person flower delivery. That's a sweet touch!

    Thanks Prisskat. Your Valentine's dinner sounds awesome!

  • heremeaj Feb 7, 2012

    Nancy, I always felt the wpmen who needed the biggest display at Valentine's Day were the ones with the least secure relationships. I would be furious if my husband spent that crazy money on flowers and expensive dinners(since you can't use may coupons on holidays either) but I was delighted last week when he brought home a box of my favorite bubble gum (40 whole pieces of Bazooka and they are all mine!)
    We will be doing something that does not require us to get another mortgage to afford it and being glad just to be together

  • Nancy Feb 7, 2012

    Loved the "lovin for less" at the end of your segment :) I truly feel sorry for men who feel obligated to spend $ on Valentine's Day, sadly there are women who expect it :(

    I've met a couple in my lifetime that gave their husbands lists at Christmas (and expected it to be purchased no less!) and what they want for each holiday.


  • tamaraphillips Feb 7, 2012

    I too told my hubby that he was NOT allowed to order flowers on V-day EVER. So, many times he'll pick them up at the grocery store, as mentioned, and deliver them by hand to my office. It's even more special to get them in person. :)

  • prisskat Feb 7, 2012

    Saw you online this morning Faye, awesome as always. My hubby has to work Valentines night so we are going to celebrate Sunday night. We are going to cook crab legs that were onsale at HT this week and some frozen shrimp that have been in the freezer and maybe share a frozen porter house left over from Xmas. So home made surf and turf cooked together for a total price of less than the price of a resturant meal. and the best part..... No crowds!!!

  • heremeaj Feb 7, 2012

    cuttinup, what a wonderful idea!!!! I am so going to steal it, thanks for sharing

  • AmandaP Feb 7, 2012

    a couple of years ago i did a extremely cheap suprise for my husband. I bought a small bag of red & pink balloons (I think they were like .50 a piece). I wrote sweet messages to him and about all of the things that I love about him on small pieces of paper. I folded the pieces up very small and stuffed them down into the balloons. i blew up the balloons and left them in our bedrooom. so when he came home, our entire bedroom ceiling was covered in balloons. he loved the fact that he got to pop all of the balloons (like in our childhood lol) and see what each message said.