Create a Special Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s female protagonist Juliet lived, receives thousands of love letters addressed to her each year.  The house there, which claims to be the Capulet’s, has its walls covered with these love letters.  A love letter is a wonderful way to show you care, and who doesn’t enjoy receiving a hand-written letter from someone they care about?

There are many ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day without spending a fortune. Especially since this holiday comes pretty close after Christmas, it’s understandable why people might feel a little hesitant to open up their wallets again.  If you want to make someone feel special without spending too much money, we’ve got you covered.  Here are a few ideas for a special Valentine’s Day that won’t break the bank.

1) Write a Letter.

This is the easiest and simplest way to express your feelings without going overboard financially.  Pick up a card and write your own message, telling that special someone how your life is more wonderful with them in it.  Pair it with their favorite bottle of wine, a simple rose or chocolates, and you’re set.  A girl who isn’t pleased by a box of chocolates is a rarity indeed!  Check out cardstore.com where you can make your own Valentine’s Day collage card (like the one picture below) for under $5!

2) Make Dinner.

Placing food in front of someone is an act of love and caring – especially if you’ve spent hours slaving in the kitchen over a home-cooked gourmet meal.  Well, we’re not going to make you spend that much time!  Here’s an easy recipe that takes minutes to prepare – plus, you can leave it in your slow cooker all day, and it’ll be ready by the time you get home from work. Guaranteed to make your honey swoon!  Bonus: it’s healthy!

Old-Fashioned Mustard-Maple Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs (bone in)
1 pound fingerling potatoes (quartered)
1/3 old-style whole grain dijon brown mustard (we used Maille brand)
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca (we used Reese brand)
¼ cup maple syrup

Directions

Turn your slow cooker on the “low” heat setting.  Rinse the potatoes, then quarter them.  Place the quartered potatoes in the bottom of the slow cooker. Mix the mustard, tapioca and syrup in a small bowl.  Place 2 chicken thighs on top of the potatoes.  Use a spoon to spread half of the mustard mixture on top of the chicken thighs.  Place the other 2 chicken thighs on top.  Spread the rest of the mustard mixture on top of the last 2 chicken thighs.  Cover and cook for 5-7 hours on “low,” or cook on “high” for 3-4 hours.  Plate and enjoy!

3) Decorate the Place.

Nothing makes a day feel special like creating a festive atmosphere.  Show your sweetie you care by transforming a room with decorations.  Leave rose or other flower petals strewn across a table or counter-top. Mix in some candles to create a romantic atmosphere.  If you’re looking for something more light-hearted and fun, make a little arrangement with heart-shaped balloons and candy.  Little-known secret:  The dollar store is a great place to find decorations at a ridiculously low price!

I hope these ideas will help and inspire you to have a fun and special Valentine’s Day without going into debt.  Don’t forget to wear your heart on your sleeve! <3 <3 <3

Devin Joy
djoy@incharge.org

Devin is a graduate of Valencia College in Graphic and Interactive Design. Devin has over ten years of experience designing educational and inspiring materials for print, web and other media.