Times are tough and belts are tight – but that doesn’t mean your sweetie still won’t expect the royal treatment on Valentine’s Day. Don’t worry if you’re feeling pressure to go all out but don’t have the budget, because you can still give your loved one a memorable, meaningful Valentine’s evening without spending more than $50, and that’s including flowers and chocolates. Here’s how:
The least expensive dinner is one you make yourself – and she’ll appreciate the effort you put into slaving over a hot stove. Incorporate lots of aphrodisiacs into your meal, starting with this roasted asparagus, fennel and avocado salad. For the main course, serve smoked salmon pesto pasta, which contains libido-enhancing Omega-3 fish oil in the salmon and basil, said to boost fertility. If she’s not a fish person, opt for chicken almondine and a rich, creamy potato gratin. End the meal with decadent molten lava cakes from Paula Deen, which have a hint of orange liqueur and vanilla for extra flavor. Since most recipes listed make enough for four to six people, don’t forget to divide the recipes to both save money and make only enough for two people.
Parks create a perfect (and free!) backdrop for a romantic evening walk, or you could pack up your special dinner to dine by the pool in your apartment community. Set up a few long, taper candles in the center of the table to create mood lighting and have a small stereo or your iPod playing a set list of your honey’s favorite love songs. Alternately, scatter rose petals from the door of her apartment and have a candlelit dinner waiting on her when she walks in from work. Ask her to slow dance with you in the kitchen.
Prices are often marked up on flowers for Valentine’s Day, but with a little research, you can find a dozen roses for cheap if you live near a chain grocery store. You’ll have to nix having them delivered as that’s where most of the cost comes in, but you can hand-deliver a dozen roses purchased from stores such as Safeway or Kroger for $10. Plus, scour billboards on interstates in the weeks leading to Valentine’s Day – local florists often advertise ultra-cheap flowers there. If you can’t find roses, purchase a mixed flower bouquet from a grocery store for around $7 – just make sure she doesn’t hate carnations before you do that.
Drugstores offer a ton of ideas for inexpensive Valentine’s Day gifts. Valentine’s chocolate assortments from Russell Stover and Whitman’s start at $6, or you could create a candy dish of her favorite miniatures for less than $10. Available in most drugstores around Valentine’s Day, Cupidology has a series of inexpensive romantic gifts, including romantic coupons, body candy and massage oil.
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/Ljupco