Valentine's Day on a Budget

Valentine's Day on a Budget

(WXYZ) - Valentine's Day can be an expensive little holiday. You may think you need to spend a few hundred dollars, yet you're still recovering from your Christmas holiday hangover. Understand that you don't have to break the bank to create a wonderful experience for your beloved.
Valentines Day shouldn't bust your budget. There are many creative and inexpensive ways to say "I love you." Financial expert and Channel 7 "Money Coach" Robin Thomspon is helping you dream up an approach to this year's celebration that is both meaningful and economical.

1. Get creative when it comes to dinner. You really don't have to spend $90 to $250 on a romantic dinner at a restaurant. Why not have a nice candlelit dinner at home? You could even get all dressed up for it. If your culinary skills aren't up to par, order a special meal ahead of time and serve it at home.

2. Enjoy a little ambiance. If you both really want to go out on the town together, you could have coffee or a drink and dessert at an expensive café, restaurant or romantic bistro. This is a way to savor the atmosphere — and your date — without emptying your wallet.

3. See some live music. Check to see whether a university or college in your area is offering any potentially enjoyable concerts on Feb. 14. Performances by the college music department would likely be free or cost a fraction of the price charged by professional orchestras and opera houses.

4. Give thoughtful gifts. Most people stick to the same general gift themes on Valentine's Day: flowers, chocolates, cards, maybe a piece of jewelry. Can you think of something different that might mean a whole lot more — and maybe even cost a whole lot less? Such gifts could include cakes, cookies or gift certificates for your services. The gift certificate could be for a massage – you give the massage.

5. Write down how you feel. Using a package of inexpensive Valentines from the drug store or grocery store — or, for that matter, any kind of paper — you could write out dozens of reasons why you love your mate. Leave the messages all over the house, in both noticeable and hidden-away places. This is a gift that could keep on giving for weeks or months to come.

6. Plan an entire day of pampering. If your partner has been stressed out lately, use the entire day to relax and rejuvenate. Start by making breakfast and serving him or her in bed. Next, set up a bubble bath with candles and a favorite book. Paint toenails. Set up a foot soak. Give a foot massage. You get the idea.

7. Plan ahead for next year. If Valentine's Day is a holiday that matters to you and your significant other, make a mental note of how quickly it can sneak up on you after the big winter holidays in December. Think about realistic ways you can cut back on your spending so you'll be able to use cash to cover all of the 2009-10 holidays without relying on credit cards and going into debt. Can you cut back on costly coffee drinks, snacks and sodas during your work day?

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