Valentines Day Ideas that Won’t Bust the Bank Account

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This article was initially written before Christmas and was more geared towards offering cost effective ideas to save money through the holidays…  I thought since the holidays are near over and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner… Why not re-purpose the article for those who would like to impress their significant other with a gift from the heart without busting the bank. In other words, if you’re broke or just flat out cheap – this article is for you. Guys.

There’s no denying it, economic times are tight right now.  The belts are tightening, and it’s not because of all the crash diets after the Holidays.  Here are some fun and meaningful things for your loved one this Valentine’s Day:

  • Gentleman, pay attention here. Notice all of the ingredients that go into the preparation of this gift can be found throughout the house, garage or neighbors. Give a gift that comes from the heart with a gratitude box. Debi Lilly from A Perfect Event has created examples of boxes that cost as little as $6 to $36 to make, depending on how elaborate you want to get. Debi says this box is made by simply covering a shoe box in wrapping paper. Next, cranberries are hot glued to the top for embellishment (note – use your imagination fellas: its Valentine’s Day…maybe try those little heart candy things? Shoot, go ahead and find the hearts with your favorite sayings on them and glue her a poem.) A beautiful ribbon adds a personal touch with a monogram made from hot glue. (Monogram: A monogram is a motif made by overlapping or combining two or more letters or other graphemes to form one symbol. Note- bottle caps and chocolates may not be glued as a monogram.) Pinecones, flowers or other seasonal items also make great garnishes. If you’re not handy with a glue gun, Debi says stickers are an easy alternative. (Notice she said stickers. Duck tape doesn’t count.)

• Ladies: This article may be very helpful. Don’t forget to check out thrift shops for gifts if you’re male and really strapped for cash or just really cheap during your Valentine’s Day rush. Michael Gold, of Vero Beach, Fla., who runs TheThriftShopper.com, a national directory of charity thrift stores, recommends shopping thrift stores early on sale days to snag the best deals. “The good stuff can be gone within the first hours that the store is open,” Gold says. You may also find baskets and wrapping supplies there too. And make sure to stop by the “boutique” areas to find a worn-once party dress.

Don’t spend money on takeout or dinner out. Drag your slow-cooker out of the cupboard. Before heading out to shop, toss an inexpensive roast or whole discounted chicken in the cooker and add a bottle of barbecue sauce or a jar of salsa. Cook on low all day, shred meat and serve with rice and salad. Note – This article was definitely geared more towards the “Pre-Christmas shopper. Guys- please disregard this article, it’s highly recommended you either go out to dinner or prepare it yourself. If you don’t know how to cook, follow the slow cooker recipe above.

  • Need an inexpensive, thoughtful gift for the extended family? If you send extended family gifts for Valentine’s Day – that’s cool, but this is actually a decent idea for your significant other. Put together a family photo calendar. Choose photos from the past year to decorate each month and be sure to include birthdays and special dates on the calendar. Make a photo calendar for about $10 at costco.com(if you are a member) or try out your favorite photo-sharing site.

For Christmas – A Great gift. Valentine’s Day…not sure. I’m not a parent yet and can’t really say whether or not I will encourage a teacher – student “crush”. Although I do think this would be thoughtful and I think a teacher might enjoy this. It can be tricky to come up with something creative, thoughtful and inexpensive for a child’s teacher. This year, enlist your child in creating a “memory book” for that special teacher. Ask your young child to fill in statements such as “I like my teacher because __________.” And “My favorite school memory this year is __________.” Put the answers on nice paper and decorate with drawings or photos. Embellish the creation any way you like. Use a three-hole punch and tie with ribbon to bind it.