5 GREAT WAYS TO CELEBRATE VALENTINE'S DAY WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

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Submitted Date 02/13/2019
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Valentine's Day is here again. But if you're tired of heart-shaped boxes and overprice bouquets, check out these cost-saving options. Break away from the same old same old with these 5 ways to celebrate your relationship without overspending.

1. Home Cooked Meal
You don't need to drop major dough to show your beau you care this February 14th. You can shop around for some sumptuous fair in the aisles of the local grocer. But look through your cabinets first to note what you already have so you don't double dip. Make your main squeeze their favorite dish. Or cook up some Valentine's staples like steak or seafood. Check the weekly circular, pay attention to sales at the store, and print or cut out coupons. Also, add digital coupons to your supermarket membership accounts to make sure you get the best deals possible.

If you're culinary skills are not quite up to par you can study --cooking videos or search for highly rated recipes and follow the instructions. Even if you make a mistake or two your significant other should appreciate the effort and enjoy the night.

2. Home Sweet(s) Home
If you want to continue the homemade theme into dessert, there are lots of options for some Valentine's Day sweets. If you're into baking, you can make a full size cake, cheesecake, pie or giant cookie, or cupcakes, cookies, brownies, blondies, mini cakes, mini pies, or cake pops.

You can make hearts and other Valentine's themed treats by melting, pouring into molds, and cooling chocolate or candy melts. You can mix in, fill, or top these treats with chopped or whole nuts, flaked coconut, sprinkles, nonpareils, marshmallows, pretzels or pieces, and other toppings or fillings.

Melted chocolate and candy melts can also be used to dip homemade or store bought sweets, like cookies, cake squares or petite fours, brownies, mini cupcakes, fresh and dried fruit and fruit slices, and nuts and nut clusters. Cereal treats, marshmallows, macaroons, pretzels and more can also benefit from a nice chocolate kiss.

Other desserts like fudge, truffles, fruit or chocolate pizza, parfait, flan or panna cotta, strawberry shortcake, tiramisu, whoopie pies, sweet rolls, ice cream sandwiches and sundaes are also delicious options.

While chocolate is the classic Valentine's flavor, you can make these desserts any flavor. Make your or you partner's favorite and savor the celebration.

3. Candlelit Picnic
If eating your dinner and dessert at the kitchen table or on the couch in front of the TV doesn't seem terribly romantic, why not try the floor? Seriously, an indoor picnic can lighten the mood and change the energy in your home. Put a blanket or two on the floor to keep comfy. Fluff up and stack some pillows if you need back support, or a tushy cushion. Serve and eat your meal together in low light. Or turn off the lights and safely place some candles for a romantic ambiance. Add bubbly or your favorite cocktail or beverage to the mix, and finish with your celebratory dessert.

4. Save the Date
If you do choose to let go of a little moolah there are ways to save your dollars and count your change. Whether you're looking for neighborhood flavors and kitschy tchotchkes, or prefer fine dining and fancy gifts, there are ways to get great discounts and stay frugal while spoiling your love. Do your research and you should do well to find highly rated restaurants with V-Day specials. Coupons and Groupons are typically not taken on holidays, so you could try for the day before or after. Either way it's a good bet to make a reservation in advance.

Dollar, discount, and big box brick and mortar stores will have lots of love season stuff to shuffle through. And if you wait until after the big day, they'll most definitely be on sale. Again, look for coupons, Groupons and special buys and you'll be sure to find a good fit.

If you prefer to shop for and show your love online, try Fiverr, Amazon and Ebay. Little trinkets and unique gifts are just a click away.

5. From the Heart
Homemade gifts are inexpensive and sentimental ways to show your beau you care. Most care about what goes in the box or envelope and don't give the packaging much thought. But if you're nifty enough to make the gift you should take a crack at crafting the packaged. Learning to make boxes and envelopes is incredibly easy. Just go online and find the size and style you like. You can use decorative paper or card stock, or decorate blank paper by hand.

You can personalize and hand decorate useful items like mugs, wine glasses and candle holders with paint or glaze. Use your sewing or gluing skills to make useful and decorative pouches, bags or pillows. Make a nice scarf, colorful hat or custom pair of gloves if you can knit. Fashion some jewelry or accessories you know your beau would like. Again, it's easy enough to seek out tutorials online if you're a little lost on ideas or lack vision.

If your partner likes arrangements but you're looking for something with a bit more staying power, make fabric or paper flowers instead of buying a real bouquet at marked up prices. Faux roses are actually pretty easy to construct, but some research will make it a breeze.

And you can craft personal coupons especially geared toward love, affection and intimacy. Hugs, kisses and cuddles are fine to offer your better half. But how about a 30 minute massage or foot rub. Add an expiration date or let your lover redeem at any time. Offer “I love you's,” compliments, participation in detested activities, or partner-focused lovemaking.

There's no shame in showing your appreciation with some crafty creations. The work is worth it when the love is real. So capture their heart and let them know they have yours.

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