Tomorrow’s the day! (But Happy Galentine’s Day, if you’re celebrating!)
I’m sure you’ve been inundated since January with Valentine’s Day sales and gimmicks. Many of us don’t like the pressure that Valentine’s Day brings; it’s a Hallmark holiday that forces us to spend money in order to prove that we love someone.
I’ve always enjoyed these types of holidays, though. In school, I would wear all red or pink, with a heart sticker somewhere on my body. I loved giving out Valentine’s Day cards to my friends and family. As I got older, I liked spending the evening with my girlfriends, eating chocolate and watching bad movies. Now that I have a partner, the day is a little different, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. I look at it as a nice reminder to tell people that you love them.
So, whether you you’ll spend the day with a friend, lover, or family member, don’t forget that you don’t have to go broke to show your love.
1. Cook dinner at home
You don’t have to eat at a fancy restaurant to have a romantic evening. Last year, my boyfriend made filet mignon ($15 for two filets at Trader Joe’s!) with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. We paired it with some decent (inexpensive) wine and voila! For dessert, we made chocolate lava cakes from scratch. I still dream about them…
2. Go to (or host!) a low-cost event
Find out what is going on in your area. Is there a local paper that outlines everything that is happening in your city? The Kennedy Center has free concerts all the time. There are plenty of free or cheap museum and art exhibits. If you don’t feel like going out, have people over! Host a pot luck or movie night. I find that hanging out at someone’s house is always more fun, since you don’t have to worry about money, and you can drink as much as you want.
3. Go outside
If it’s not too cold out, spend time in nature! Go for a walk or a hike. If the abnormally warm weather keeps up, have a picnic!
4. Agree on low-cost gifts (or none at all)
A gift for gift’s sake isn’t always the best idea. We often end up with a trinket we didn’t really want that we don’t value. If you don’t have any good ideas for a low-cost gift, consider not getting each other gifts at all! Take some of the pressure off of your relationship. This year, I only asked for candy. If you do want to get something for your buddy or honey, here are some cute ideas.
5. Send a card
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I like heartfelt letters or cards more than actual gifts. I like to read what my loved ones think of me (as long as it’s positive). So pick out a cute or funny card and pour your heart into it. The recipient will be happy to get it in the mail!
Whatever you do (or don’t do), use Valentine’s Day as the prompt you need to tell people you love and appreciate them. We should be doing this more all year round, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.
Certified Financial Education Instructor. Feminist and financial coach for women. Founder of Money Circle.