Frugal Planning: Valentine’s Day


If you are part of a couple, this weekend is probably one with a host of built-in expectations that generally entail forking over a big wad of cash.

If you are in need of permission, I am here to tell you that you do not have to do any of that stuff. Seriously.

I can’t remember the last time my husband bought me a gift. It was probably in the first few years of our relationship. We (mutually and voluntarily) stopped buying each other gifts over a decade ago. We will have a nice dinner date, and he will sometimes buy flowers, but once we started having children the best gift we have given each other is to take the children to Grandma’s for the day and give our other half the house to his or herself.

I am not a card person (useless killing of a tree), a stuffed animal person (ugh), a jewelry person (waste), or a candy person (milk chocolate is revolting). I am a foodie and I love fresh flowers, so in Februarys past we have had a nice dinner out (usually on a slower weekend a week after Valentine’s), and Mr Thrifty has bought me flowers.

This time last year, I had just started my experiment living on my husband’s salary alone. In cutting back, I asked him not to buy me flowers for Valentine’s, my birthday, or Mother’s Day. I love fresh flowers, and they are a luxury I never treat myself to, but being home with my children is the better luxury in my mind.

This year again I have asked that there be no flowers. Our daughter’s birthday is the 16th, and we will have a combined birthday party for our girls tomorrow. I will make her spaghetti with meat sauce for her birthday night, and in a couple weeks we will have an at-home dinner date with a tea party theme. Maybe we will do flowers again next year when we are done paying my school, maybe not.

We want to watch a movie together, so I have decided to set up a “clubhouse” in our daughters’ room, where the kids get to sit in big boxes with pillows, eat a homemade treat, and watch a movie on their Kindle while we watch a movie on the big TV downstairs after dinner.

If you have no children, your at-home date night would probably be a lot easier than ours. Even if you wanted to go out, there are plenty of ways to make it a cheaper night.

You can find a place offering a coupon or try a or Groupon deal.

You might find flowers for cheaper at the grocery store, or you might choose to buy the flowers after Valentine’s, when they are cheaper.

You can see a matinee instead of an evening movie, or better yet, find a free Redbox code, a free to stream show on Netflix or Amazon,  or a movie from the library.

For gifts, you can do what we do, and pledge not to buy any. It truly doesn’t bother either of us. We do nice things for each other throughout the year.

If gift-giving is your love language, you can give a massage or perform a service. Let me tell you how much I would love if is my husband did the dishes for a whole week, or cleaned the bathroom, or took the kids to the YMCA so I could have a bubble bath.


What do you do for a frugal Valentine’s Day?