Some people really detest Valentine's Day. I am not one of them. However, there is no denying that Valentine's Day can get expensive, really quickly. The holiday is coming up in two days. Creativity becomes extra important when faced with a compressed time line and limited budget - so here are some things you can do to make Valentine's Day meaningful, romantic, and still affordable.
1. Avoid restaurants on Valentine's Day. Or at least, avoid restaurants that have fixed price menus. Valentine's Day dinners are often marked-up, and as much as I love food, I don't need Love to be a theme in everything I eat. Some restaurants don't take reservations on Valentine's Day, which means that you might not know if you'd get seated at your favorite place. Some restaurants are booked up days in advance for Valentine's Day, which means that if you haven't already made a reservation, don't bother heading down there.
2. Write something nice in a card. Even the most gorgeous letterpress card will cost you less than $10 at Target or Papyrus. A handmade card costs $2. Whatever card you get, write a message inside for your honey (free!). You can run to Target any time before Sunday, pick out something that will make your special someone smile, then quickly jot down a sweet message. Don't know what to write? "I'm lucky to be with you. Happy Valentine's" is always a good one. Or invoke memories of when you first fell in love "That night at the Carnival was magical. I've loved you ever since. Happy Valentine's". The key is to keep it short, sweet, and meaningful. Even the busiest individual can get a card and a message.
3. Present to him/her a single rose. A dozen roses are beautiful, but their prices shoot straight up in an inflationary environment that is the eve of Valentine's Day. So... don't go there! Buy a single rose - it's romantic and meaningful. Affix a pretty ribbon on the stem, or perhaps present it to your partner lip to lip in a rendition of Argentine Tango. Either way, a single rose is easier on the wallet but packs a romantic punch.
4. Partake in free or cheap outdoor activities during the day. Valentine's Day is on a Sunday, which is a wonderful time to do something fun outdoors. Some free or cheap activities include: hiking a trial, going ice-skating, walking on the beach, etc. These activities don't require reservations and often don't require much expense.
5. Have an intimate and private dinner at night. Don't be afraid of take-out. If you know how to cook, great. Use your culinary skills and whip up something delicious for two. But if you don't know how to cook, never fear! The key is dressed-up take-out. Call your favorite take-out place. Order their best dishes. Then, make sure to plate the food nicely (white plates and matching silverware make a big difference). Add some candles ($5 at Target) and a bottle of wine ($10 at Trader Joe's), stick your single rose in a bud vase, and then you're set to enjoy a lovely dinner by candle light.
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