Valentine's Day: Have a honey, but not alota money?

I have a confession to make...I'm not a huge card giver. And my I'm-too-cheap-to-buy-cards behavior just got reinforced recently when I was looking at the price of Hallmark cards in Hy-Vee. $6.99 for a card?! Sure, it was cute and played music but that is just way too much money for something that will be looked at and then stuffed in a keepsake box or (gasp!) thrown in the trash. Now I'm not saying my hunny isn't worth it, but Valentine's Day is just a commercialized holiday invented by companies (like Hallmark) and designed to get you to spend money. That's evidenced by the fact that the National Retail Federation says the average shopper will spend $103 on Valentines this year. I believe in love and I believe in money, but the two are separate accounts!

There are lots of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day without breaking the piggy bank. Besides, the best gifts come from the heart, right? Right.

Frugal flowers!

  • Hopefully you caught my earlier post about finding coupons this weekend for $5.00 off a $5.01 flower purchase. These were on Bailey's Irish Cream bottles at my local Hy-Vee. You might check your local grocery stores for these because they could make for some VERY cheap flowers. Grab a couple and make a bouquet! Or consider buying a plant instead of cut flowers for a more permanent reminder of the holiday.

  • Check out Queen's post over at My Brain is Inside Out on how to get $47.00 worth of flowers for just $11.00. (Thanks, Queen!)
Frugal cards!
  • CVS has a deal this week where you can print a FREE photo Valentine card. Just take your photo(s) in with you on either a Micro SD, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive and you get to choose the photo placement and the card that you want. It's actually $1.00 but then you will get back a $1.00 ECB with your ExtraCareBuck card. Limit 1 per card.

  • Get 25 FREE 4" x 8" cards from See Here. Just sign up for a free account if you don't have one, upload your photos and choose your cards, and use the code newbaby (case sensitive) at checkout. All you'll pay is $2.49 for shipping and handling.

  • Chuck E. Cheese is offering FREE printable Valentine's Cards with a coupon attached for 5 free tokens with a food purchase (coupons expires 3/2/1010). The link goes to a printable PDF with 4 per page - you might want to print on card or construction paper. These could be great for those of you with kids that need to give away Valentine's cards at school!

  • Krispy Kreme is serving up heart-shaped donuts and decadent Triple Chocolate doughnut with chocolate Kreme(TM) filling now through Feb. 14th. If you buy a dozen, you'll get 12 Valentine’s Day cards with a coupon on the back of each for a free doughnut. For participating locations, visit the Krispy Kreme website.

Make something!
  • Living on a Dime has a FREE eBook with some really creative (and frugal!) recipes, crafts, and other ways to show your valentine(s) you love them on Valentine's Day. I love the Treasure Hunt ideas.

  • For you crafters out there, FaveCrafts is offering a FREE download of Cupid's Handmade Crafts eBook, with information on over 30 cute Valentine's Day ideas for accessories, home decor, gifts, cards and kids crafts. You've got to see the Valentine's Gift Bags and super-cute Hippity Hoppity Valentine Card. You might also want to check out their Valentine's ideas here.

  • Give your sweetie some homemade treats like chocolate strawberries or Hershey's Rose Kisses. (Thanks, All Free Crafts!)

  • Create a free customized music video on Animoto. Just upload your photos and videos, add text, and pick a song. In less than a minute, you'll have a video with the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer. You can email the video or even post it to a blog, YouTube, Twitter, social networks or mobile devices. Very cool!
Do something!
  • Enjoy a movie at home by using one of the FREE rental codes from Redbox. (Click here to see how you can get 2 boxes of popcorn and a FREE 2-liters from Hy-Vee this week!)

  • Stay in for the night and prepare a special dinner with all your sweetheart's favorites. This is, of course, the cheapest way to eat on Valentine's Day and you focus on your sweetie instead of all the distractions in the restaurant. For some V-Day recipes, check out Recipe Lion's FREE "Sweets for Your Sweet" recipe eBook.

  • If you decide to go out, consider doing lunch instead of dinner. You'll avoid the long lines and it will be less expensive. Check out EatDrinkDeals list of restaurant deals for Valentine's Day. You might also want to check out a Restaurant.com gift certificate. Enter discount code BLOOM at checkout (code expires today) to get 60% off. You can get a $25.00 printable restaurant gift certificate for just $4.00!

  • Go bowling for free with these printable coupons for a FREE bowling game at your local Brunswick lanes.

  • Download some Valentine-themed coloring pages for the kids.
Finally, here's a tip: if you wait until a day or two before the big day, most stores will put their Valentine's merchandise on sale for 50% off. (And don't forget to go AFTER Valentines to stock up for next year because the sales usually go to 75% or 90% off when the holiday is over!)

I'd love to hear how the rest of you frugal peeps are celebrating Valentine's Day!

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