Valentine’s Day Ideas That Won’t Break Your Budget

Heart-shaped box of chocolate: $12.95. A dozen roses: $90. 2.0-carat diamond tennis bracelet: $1350. The cost of Valentine’s Day: Priceless.vd-wallet

Yes, that’s right. Priceless. As in price-less. Despite all the hype and intense commercialization surrounding this February holiday of love, the gifts that ultimately mean the most can cost very little – or nothing at all.

That hand-written love note, for example, will be treasured for a lifetime, while the fancy dinner will be worked off the next day at the gym. So don’t stress if you are in a tight spot this Valentine’s Day. Even on a shoestring budget, you can still lavish love and affection in grand style.

Here are several suggestions that just ooze with romance without breaking your budget:

  • Build a roaring fire and relax together with mugs of hot chocolate. Be sure to buy mini heart-shaped marshmallows to float in the cocoa
  • Fill your sweetheart’s office with red and pink balloons purchased from the dollar store.
  • Whip up a sinful chocolate fondue that you feed to each other by candlelight.
  • Celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 15th, when all the accoutrements are half-off.
  • Read poetry aloud to one another – try “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe or “Life in a Love” by Robert Browning.
  • Have a picnic. Even if it’s freezing outside, you can spread out the tartan blanket on your living room floor. Or better yet, pack some wine and cheese in a wicker basket and surprise your sweetie at the office.
  • Go electronic. Blitz your baby with emails or SMS’ declaring your love throughout the day. Send a funny little valentine every hour on the hour.
  • Make your own valentines. There are crafts blogs galore with step-by-step tutorials for Martha-esque cards. Even if your talents are a bit less refined, the thought still counts.
  • Create a trail of flower petals, leading from your front door to your bed. (Florists just toss past-their-prime roses. But even if you don’t want to dumpster dive, a few roses go a long way.)
  • Head for the hills. Take a hike in your nearest national forest – or even the woods behind your house. Pack a thermos of hot cider and some chocolate truffles.
  • Play Love Scrabble, where the words you spell out are amore, sweetheart and passion.
  • Give each other massages. Or, if the budget allows, hire a pair of massage students to come to your house and give you a couples’ massage.
  • Pop a bowl of popcorn and curl up in front of a classic romantic comedy like “Sleepless in Seattle,” “When Harry Met Sally,” or the classic Cary Grant flick, “I Was a Male War Bride”.

No matter what you do or where you go, the day will be romantically wonderful if you keep it simple, fun and personal.