3 Frugal Ideas for a Romantic Valentine’s Day

Red Cupid. Source: http://www.sphc.umn.edu/newsletter/February102009.html

Breakfast in bed

Sometimes, nothing feels better than waking up to the smells of your favorite foods and a warm drink. This one is guaranteed to win you some bonus points and cheer up even the grumpiest morning person.

The day before, head out to the grocery store and buy some fresh fruits and whatever else you will need to make a nice breakfast in bed. Be sure to silently wake up a good half-hour to 45 minutes before she does so that you have time to cook and prepare the food. You will want to cook the slower items first and the faster items near the end so that they are still warm when you bring breakfast over to your beloved one.

Presentation is important, too, so if you have something to place the food on then all the better, and don’t forget a warm tea or coffee, depending on her preferences!

Here’s one idea:

  • Pancake with maple syrup.
  • Fresh berries (can be strawberries, blackberries, etc…) with some yogurt.
  • Omelette or scrambled eggs with mushrooms, green peppers, and ham (perhaps known as Canadian bacon to my American friends).
  • A strip or two of bacon.
  • A couple of potatoes cut into wedges and pan-fried with your favorite seasonings. A bit of pre-boiling is optional if you’d like to make them softer.
  • Use butter to grease the pan, everything tastes better with it.

Don’t forget to freshen yourself up before bringing the meal over.

A warm bubble bath with rose petals

In the evening, lay out a trail of rose petals leading to the bathroom and warm up a nice bath full of bubbles, epsom salts, or whatever you prefer. Place a small candle at each corner of the bathtub, and optionally get floating candles that can float on top of the water (warning: be careful if you do this!). Add the rose petals so that they float on top of the water, but before there are a lot of suds if you are making a bubble bath.

There’s no need to pay a fortune for these rose petals; you can go to a supermarket and buy some discounted roses from there. The outside petals are usually shriveled a bit but the inside ones should still be fine.

If you have a cold house, be sure to warm up the bathroom air so that it is nice and comfortable, but not so hot that you start to sweat.

Cook a nice dinner with candles and watch a movie, topped with a massage

The day before, go out and buy some of her favorite food, as fresh as you can find it. Get busy for the time she gets hungry, and start cooking. Presentation is important so get some nice candles, dim the lights, pour a bit of wine or a small Henkell, and put on a nice movie and sit next to her side by side.

When I used to live at my first apartment, I had a big table in the kitchen but the kitchen wasn’t my favourite place to be; it was the living room that I preferred. I had my PC hooked up to the TV so I could stream movies and shows directly there, so while I was cooking in the other room she could watch that. Then once everything was ready I could bring it over, lay it on the coffee table, and then we could sit cross-legged on the floor and eat side by side.

Sometimes simplicity is better: I once made a “halibut surprise”, but it didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. My real hit was boiled lobster with garlic-butter sauce: Delicious and easy to prepare, but perhaps a little unsettling. If you go this route, head-first into boiling water is the more humane way.

Don’t forget to bring out an appetizer, as the smells of the kitchen will be torture if you don’t! A baguette with spiced olive oil can be delicious.

Rose petals leading to the bedroom and then petals over the bed in the shape of a heart can be used to great effect for after the movie. Get some massage oil beforehand, heat up your hands by placing them in warm-hot water for a couple of minutes and then rub them together with the oil, and ensure the bedroom is warm and comfortable.

Suggestion from BeatingTheIndex: If you have kids, dump them at grandma’s for the day!


If you want to be really cheap and save money, you can always just pick some flowers out of a traffic median (though this will only work if you live somewhere warm enough for there to be flowers in the middle of February, and if you do this, your Valentine’s will probably be a failure!)

These are all ideas that I’ve done in the past. You probably can’t go wrong with chocolate, jewellry, or flowers, either, which are things I’ve done in the past, too, but it’s good to mix it up a bit! Seeing as how she reads this blog… I wonder what she will be expecting for this weekend! :O Remember, there’s no need to spend a fortune on Valentine’s Day. Sometimes, a bit of cheap fun is all you need. So, what are your ideas for Valentine’s Day this year?

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  1. says

    We are definitely staying home this year. The Mrs. is about ready to pop and she doesn’t want to go anywhere.
    I’ll probably pick up some flowers and make a nice little dinner. Nothing too elaborate.
    I think spending money on V day is fine. We went to a little french restaurant a few years ago and it was great. The fixed menu is more expensive than usual, but it was worth it.

  2. says

    All good ideas. well thought out for sure. I totally agree with you that simplicity is better when it comes to cooking on Valentine’s Day. Instead of a “halibut surprise” type of entree, best to plan something simple (i.e. – won’t be messed up), yet elegantly presented – if staying at home. Also agree with Beating the Index. Grandma will probably understand!

    I laughed at your suggestion on what to do if *really* cheap! It brought back memories of that day, when it all happened so quickly. You should have seen the fiendish, mischievious looks on their faces :)

  3. says

    You were doing good until the second paragraph and the “she”. Isn’t that sexist? I was hoping for the breakfast in bed.:)
    Also, good maple syrup (which I absolutely love) is expensive in the States – probably not in Canada.
    But overall your suggestions are really good – I can put away my construction paper and scissors!

    • says

      Haha, you’re right, Robert. I had the same thoughts while writing that. 😛

      It’s not that cheap in Canada either, but it will last a while unless you eat pancakes every morning. What were you up to with the scissors and paper? 😉

  4. says

    Those are some damn good ideas; would go a long way compared to the typical flowers I get my wife. I’m just so damn bad at planning ahead and doing this stuff…maybe I’ll pull it off this year!

  5. says

    You are quite a romantic guy! My husband likes to buy me jewelry, but I asked him to refrain this year as we cannot afford it. All your ideas sound wonderful and your girl is very lucky. I am sure you and your sweetie will create some loving memories in your new home. I usually make a nice meal but I haven’t yet decided on what I’ll make. I think Robert was making a homemade Valentine’s Day card, which is much more frugal than buying one from Walgreen’s like I did for my husband tonight.

    • says

      I gave out some coupons for personal massages and things like that as part of a birthday once a long time ago… but she ended up getting all of those things for free without a coupon, anyways, and more than once. 😛

    • says

      A rose + a chocolate in the morning, a nice breakfast that I started but we prepared together since she woke up, and we also prepared supper together, and then the bath with the roses on another night and chocolate fondu on another. 😉

  6. says

    We were lucky this year as we received a $100 rebate in a nice restaurant for our wedding that we did not use yet. So we’re going there for our Valentine supper on Saturday. Can’t wait! It will be so much fun to dress up and talk all night before we come back home…

    • says

      So how was it? I’m usually much more comfortable at home but the resto thing can be nice too especially if it’s a small and cozy place with live music.

  7. says

    I bought my wife a book online via ebay for 5 bucks (shhh don’t tell).

    She’s a collector of certain author’s so I bought a first edition off of ebay (great place to by first editions of books). Not very romatic, but I know that will make her happy…

  8. says

    Nice post Kevin.

    We’re not doing anything special this year either. We’ve had trips, moved into another place; that’s plenty of spending for us. Nobody (other than the marketers on radio, TV, internet, print media) says V-day has to be a big spending day. Our plan is to come home from work on Monday, make a nice dinner and open a classy bottle of red wine. I think my wife was a sommelier in her former life, I’m not complaining :)


  9. Mike says

    Valentine’s Day should be fun but not stressful or burdensome in terms of how much you spend. I like your idea of cooking a great dinner and watching a movie.

    I will have to write the ideas down for next year as I am single this year!

    Have a good weekend.


  10. Tae San says

    I can’t believe you came up with those ideas. Some of them sound a bit tricky for naive cooks. So what did you end up with on the table, Kevin?

    • says

      Well we ended up doing a nice breakfast with pancakes, fruit, yogurt, eggs and bacon, and the supper was oven-roasted salmon that was actually very delicious. I think we read the recipe in the Jamie Oliver book that you left us…

  11. Taming Our Finances says

    I’m always looking for great, frugal valentines ideas. Valentine’s Day to me is important because of the meaning of the day, but it’s also created this aura to spend a lot of money on dining out, flowers, or whatever else. These ideas are great and in the true spirit of Valentine’s Day as well. Thanks!!

  12. says

    HI Kevin,

    For the first 14 days of February, I am giving my husband small,funny. thoughtful gifts… his favorite candy, a collections of poems,etc. His birthday IS Valentine’s day, so it is a double whammy for me to make it special.

    • says

      @Cents to Save That is very romantic! Interesting time to have a birthday… and also for the guy to benefit that much. Usually it is the girl that benefits more. 😉


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