WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Valentine's Day on a budget!

Posted February 13, 2014
Updated February 14, 2014



It’s that time of year again when roses are red and violets are blue and retailers want lots of money from you! If you are one of those lovebirds who is wondering what you were thinking when you dropped $60 on 12 flowers or $150 at a steak restaurant last year, you may want to consider some of these tips to a more affordable, and equally as loving, Valentine’s Day.

Here are some thoughts on saving on the flowers, the dinner, the candy and the cards! 



It’s all about the roses this time of year. The good news is that for as little as $12.99, you can score a dozen roses at Aldi for the big day.  Many grocery stores including Lowes Foods and Harris Teeter have them for under $20.00. Click on the link above for all the deals on roses this week.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy roses. There are some gorgeous mixed flower bouquets available at grocery stores for $10 or less. Since many of us have cabinets full of vases, you won’t have to spring for that as well.

If you would rather give a more lasting floral gift, give a plant that will grow flowers year after year, like arose bush.

Instead of flowers, you could give your sweetie (or your kids) a "bouquet" of helium heart balloons. They are only $1 per balloon at The Dollar Tree!


Most frugal option: Eat at home! You can make a fabulous steak dinner for a fraction of the cost of most restaurant meals on Valentine’s Day. There are good deals at most grocery stores for steak and shrimp this week and a bottle of wine at Aldi or Trader Joes is about the cost of one glass of wine at many restaurants. And the big plus is that you won’t be waiting in line to get into a crowded, loud restaurant for your romantic evening. Light some candles, get out the nice dishes, play some sweet music and enjoy the peaceful evening. 

If the thought of cooking on Valentine’s ruins the mood completely, then at least get a deal on your meal.

* Go out for lunch instead of dinner – the menu prices are usually less expensive and so are the crowds.

* There is no rule that says you have to go out to dinner exactly on February 14th. Go out on a different night to take advantage of weekly specials that some restaurants offer.  Plus, you won't have to fight the Valentine's Day masses yearning to eat out.

* You could even get take out for the main entrees from your favorite restaurant and then enjoy a peaceful evening at home. Provide your own dessert and drinks and you have saved a bundle.

* Daily deal sites: Groupon, Living Social, Twongo, and Moolala have all been offering vouchers for restaurants. With these daily deals sites, you’ll find meals that are 50% off the retail price or better.

* Entertainment books: Use a coupon from the Entertainment Book or a coupon book like the Citipass book for a Buy One Get One Free deals. You can go to the Entertainment Book’s website and actually see a list of all the Raleigh area restaurants offering coupons in the book. If you don’t have one of these books, ask all your Facebook friends if anyone has a coupon book for your city and the specific restaurant.


If your honey is happy with Hershey’s, Russell Stover or other off the shelf chocolate, it’s time to hit the drug stores. There are many candy deals this week coupled with the drug store reward programs. You can see the deals that started on Sunday on the WRAL Smart Shopper blog.


You can easily drop $5 on a greeting card but you don’t have to. Walmart and some dollar stores sell cards as low as 50 cents each. The Dollar Store, Target, CVS and other stores have a line of cards that are $1 or less.Of course, making a sweet card at home is even more frugal. And how about writing an old-fashioned love letter to your sweetie!

Fun with the Kids

* Start the day off with some heart shaped pancakes using a cookie cutter or use the method in this video. I will be using the method in the video to make pancakes and then topping them with some strawberry jam and powdered sugar.

* Send a heart shaped sandwich, heart shaped fruit, heart shaped sugar cookie and a sweet Valentine in your little one's lunch box. 

* 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. It's a fun activity for you to do together and you probably have all the arts and crafts materials at home already. Click the link above for some homemade card ideas from Sarah, with WRAL's Go Ask Mom.

* 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 chocolates waiting for them. Gather up all the sweet notes so they can keep them in a scrapbook to look at later.

Planning 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 each year to use for Valentines Day 6 weeks later. 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!

* Buy solid color red paper plates, cups and napkins from Christmas clearance each year and then use them at Valentine's Day.

* As we all know, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to share a ton of love!


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • donna33 Feb 14, 2014

    Please remember your small local flower shops! Most flower shops carry a much larger variety of blooms that will last longer than grocery stores! We also offer small bouquets of flowers, even a single exquisite bloom!

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Feb 14, 2014

    What a sweet and frugal way to celebrate, Meredith! It sounds like a lovely, relaxed and delicious meal! Thanks for sharing.

  • meredith88 Feb 13, 2014

    My husband and I decided years ago that we would no longer go out to eat on Valentine's Day. It's just too crowded and we always feel rushed. So we always eat at home. This year I am surprising my husband with a fondue dinner for two. Our first Valentine's Day we went to Melting Pot and had fondue. This year marks 5 years since that night. We are financially smarter now than we were back then so I am recreating it for a fraction of the cost. I borrowed a nice table cloth, napkins, crystal, china, and silver from my mom so it was all free. The first course is cheese fondue with artisan bread, fresh broccoli and apples. Second is steak, shrimp, chicken, and lobster tail. Dessert is chocolate fondue with shortbread cookies, strawberries, and pineapple. The best part is that we already have all these ingredients in our house except for the lobster so we are not spending any extra money :) That plus our $5 budget for gifts and this holiday won't set us back at all!