Be my (thrifty) Valentine

Valentine's Day is now less than two weeks away so if you're planning to order something online, now is the time to do it. Ditto if you're making your gift!

We've never made a huge deal about Valentine's Day - since our anniversary lands so close we've always placed more emphasis on that. Especially this year we're trying not to focus on the material side of a (let's face it) rather material holiday. But no matter your financial situation, what better way to show your loved ones how much you care than by planning something sweet, special and from the heart? Even if you're low on funds you can make these ideas happen!

1. Cook it: The classic alternative to dinner-out is cooking something yourself. But you don't have to spend an arm and a leg at the gourmet grocer to make a meal memorable. Even your lover's favorite delivery pizza will be romantic when served by candlelight and to the tune of soft-music. Definitely want to cook? Spaghetti and meatballs is cost-effective and you can practice your very own Lady and the Tramp moment.

2. Frame it: Maybe you still have tickets to the first movie you guys saw. Or a card or love note you sent early in your courtship. Maybe there is a favorite poem or movie quote that your honey has always admired. Your gift can be as inexpensive as a pretty frame for any of these items. More original than a photo but particularly meaningful to both of you. Plus, you can probably find a coupon for a framing store (or craft store like Michael's) to make your dollar stretch a little further.

3. Bake it: On our first date, Ryan and I made chocolate chip cookies. Not even from scratch, just break-and-bake style. There is nothing sweeter than eating gooey cookies right out of the oven with the person you love. Don't be a perfectionist (that ruins the fun), but do make sure you have milk on hand. Even sweeter if you tie a little love note to the milk jug and ask your babe to get it from the fridge.

5. Scratch it: Looking for a symbolic way to show your sweetheart that you're in it for the long haul? How about some scratch tickets and a little piggy bank? Even if the tickets are duds you can name the bank your future-fund, for a vacation together, house, or wedding (that part is up to you!)

6. Go for it: Maybe it's the chick flick/action movie that he or she has been begging to watch but you just. can't. take. it.  Or the chore or job around the house that has been on your honey-do list for a few months. Here's your chance to go above and beyond and show how much you care. Not just the movie, but snacks, pjs, and NO eye-rolling or complaining. Not just the chore but also a schedule of how you'll be doing this task (toilet scrubbing comes to mind) for the whole year. You could also tack on an extra. Toilet scrubbed AND the shower drain cleared out? Twilight AND New Moon? You're golden.

There are lots of ways to celebrate Valentine's Day, but you can't fail if you take some time to think about what would be meaningful to your loved one and act accordingly. We all know the folks that swear that they don't want ANYTHING. Well I bet they wouldn't mind having the toilet scrubbed in the name of love. Am I right?

Photo from Bliss.