How to save a buck on Valentine’s Day

February flowers are a nice alternative to spending too much on Valentine’s Day.

When it’s only been two months since Christmas and your bank account is just starting to recover from your generosity during the holidays, it’s nice to take a financial break from big spending.

But look out. Here comes Valentine’s Day.

A hallmark tradition of buying cards, expensive flowers and dinners out on the town can do significant damage to your wallet during this holiday of love.

I’m not embarrassed to say that other than Timmy Houseman, my preschool crush who gave me a stuffed Big Bird for Valentine’s Day, my fiance has been the only other man to celebrate the big day with me.

And he’s not the kind of person who likes to take part in what he calls “fake” holidays.

I made an effort to make the holiday not just about women, but a time for us to enjoy being together and being in love. And besides, we have a wedding to save up for. So if you’re not so sure you want to break the bank next week, try these frugal ways to celebrate.

Buy February flowers. On Super Bowl Sunday, my fiance, Will, gave me pink and red roses. The night before I had asked him to go to the grocery store for some milk and he picked them up while he was there. Those, ladies, are my “February flowers.”

Want to save some money on Valentine’s Day? Try making dinner at home. Lobster tail is easy to broil and enjoy.

Will likes to get me flowers “just because.” Maybe he randomly wants me to feel loved or to spoil me — but he just doesn’t get the idea of spending up to $50 on a dozen red ones. And I understand. Why pay that much when he can buy them a week early for far less and they’ll still be big and bright come Valentine’s Day.

Have dinner at home. Why make the guy go out of his way to buy dinner when you can go shopping together and cook at home? Last year, we bought lobster tails, steaks and made baked potatoes at home. He was in charge or marinating and grilling the meat, while I broiled the lobster and poured the wine. Our at home dinner cost about $15 a person versus the $50 per person or more we might have spent at a crowded restaurant. Want ideas? See Leigh Zaleski’s post on using season ingredients.

Who knew a t-shirt could make a guy giddy?

Think personal. I like getting personal gifts for Will. A couple years ago, while watching an episode of Man vs. Food, we saw the host, Adam, was wearing a shirt that read, “I still call it The Jake.” The Jake is the original name of the baseball stadium in Cleveland. Will said how much he liked it, so I did some research and bought it online. I’ve never seen him so surprised to open a gift. He bragged a lot about that $15 t-shirt. This past Christmas, I bought a baseball pennant and sent it to the Cleveland Indians announcer, Tom Hamilton. Tom was nice enough to sign the pennant and mail it back in the pre-addressed and postage applied envelope I sent along with the pennant. I spent about $7 on the pennant and another $5 on postage. It’s hanging on our bedroom wall and he shows a photo of it to his friends on a regular basis.

I hope these ideas help you find some cozy ideas on how to celebrate your love. Just make sure you have a good time and look gorgeous. After all, you’ve already got the guy. Don’t worry about the rest.

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca Hanlon is the health reporter with a religion sub beat at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow her on Twitter @mrsbeccahanlon or on Facebook at facebook.com/byrebeccahanlon.

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