Save Money on Valentine’s Day by Celebrating a Day Later

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The following post is by MPFJ staff writer Travis. Travis is a customer blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services, and also appears weekly at Enemy of Debt.  Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off $109,000 of credit card debt and the tips he’s learned along the way. As a father and husband, he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family.

Valentine's Day, saving money, frugal living, financial planning, romance, relationships

I walked out of the kitchen of the restaurant I was working at, and went behind the counter to refill my mug with soda.  As I turned around, I saw my best friend’s parents sitting in the corner booth staring at their food, then they looked up at me.
“I hope YOU didn’t make this food, Travis,” they said.

It was my first day training in to be a short order cook, and I certainly had made their food.  It was Father’s Day and the restaurant was a complete madhouse. During the three years I worked at the restaurant, I witnessed this phenomenon many times.  On holidays, the restaurant would be packed to capacity for hours, with a line of people stretched out the door.  It never seemed like enough staff was on duty, and the food and service ended up being sub-par.
Valentine’s day is coming up, and across the globe, people like you and I will be making reservations to treat their significant other to a romantic meal.  Restaurants will be overrun with couples looking to celebrate their love for each other, only to be seated in the cold booth next to the door, and be served food that was sitting in the kitchen window for 10 minutes because that’s the soonest the overworked server could get to it.
Nothing says “You’re special” like a cold, overcooked steak.

The meal is just a single component of the Valentine’s Day gift requirement that has been plainly stated in small print in the relationship contract (have you ever read the fine print?).  Flowers, candy, chocolates, and a stuffed animal, preferably a bear, with some sort of mushy, cutely spelled phrase are all required.
I Wuv You, Too.

All of this can can put a significant dent in your funds.  You want to put the love of your life on the pedestal they deserve.  You want them to feel admired, adored, and loved.  But if you’re like me, you don’t like standing in line to eat for an hour, and your funds run out long before your ideas.  Fear not, my friends, I have a very simple solution for you. 
Move your celebration of Valentine’s Day to February 15th.

Here’s why:
·           Restaurants will be less busy:  A huge percentage of the population just went out to eat the night before, and will be staying home.  Restaurants will be better equipped to handle the customer load.  Your wait will be shorter (or non-existent), the service will be better, and so will your food.
·           Flowers back to normal cost:  A local flower shop near my home has a sign that advertises a dozen roses for $9.99.  The week leading up to Valentine’s Day the sign is changed to $29.99.  The day after V-day it’s back to $9.99.
·           Post V-day Discounts:  Valentine themed items such as candy, stuffed animals, and cards are discounted deeply the day after.  Shower your Valentine with as much post holiday pink and red gifts that you can get your hands on at a fraction of the cost.
You do have to practice a little bit of discretion, however. Saying you want to move the day to make it less of a hassle and to save money makes you come off as uncaring and cheap.
It also kills the romance.

Instead, tell your loved one that they are so special that they deserve their very own day.  February 15th is a Valentine’s Day just for them.  Tell them that they don’t deserve to wait in line with everyone else for their dinner, they deserve to sit right down.  Tell them they deserve to be showered with gifts.  All of this can happen, if you celebrate Valentine’s Day one day later.
Then cross your fingers, and hope they go with it.
How about you all?  Do you think your significant other would agree to celebrate Valentine’s Day a day later to save money? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Image courtesy of Master isolated images, /


    1. My husband has agreed to not celebrate valentines day, period. Cheapest date ever 😉 Seriously though we've never done anything special I sorta hate valentines day (though think it's fun for kids) I would much rather random acts of kindness throughout the year.
      My recent post I WILL Partake in Lifestyle Inflation

      • I think the biggest thing about Valentine's Day (or any other similar Holiday) is that couples be on the same page so they have the same expectations. It's when those expectations don't match that there are problems. Good for you and your hubby for doing exactly that! What would you think if he spontaneously decided to pamper you on V-day?

    2. John S @ Frugal Rules says:

      We do something like this ourselves for a number of reasons. The cost is generally through the roof and we're not big in to celebrating the day much either. We get simple gifts for each other and I make a nice dinner for us. We then usually go out that weekend for a nice meal and don't have to deal with all the craziness.
      My recent post Frugal Friday: Blog Posts That Ruled This Week, I am Tired Edition

      • Right on, John – great minds think a like! Personally, I think the idea of having a special day to do something just a little bit extra can be fun. I like to try to come up with a little surprise that makes my wife smile. 🙂

    3. myfijourney says:

      There is no way I could pull that off without an incredibly good excuse. Uh.. emergency business trip to China! And even then, the flowers would still be expected.

      Valentines day is one of those days where I just throw the frugality out the window. At least I can cook, so that saves a ton of money on restaurant costs. But the flowers, candy, bear, and gifts all have to be there.

      Although, one year I did make homemade chocolate truffles. Not as pretty as the store bought ones, but just as tasty.
      My recent post Portfolio Status: February 2013

      • knowing your way around a kitchen definitely makes holidays like V-day a bit easier….I'm right there with you. I'm planning on taking the afternoon off and making Beef Wellington for my wife – it's one of her favorites!

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