Move beyond extravagant, expensive gestures for VDay with these fun, frugal ideas

Valentine’s Day is approaching — but for many the joy of celebrating their love for someone special can be tainted by the sheer cost of it all.

Valentine’s Day advertising focuses on gifts and makes us feel we aren’t expressing our love if we don’t make a grand and expensive gesture. We all feel the impact of inflation, but even in the best of financial times there is little need to prove your love by splurging on extravagant jewelry, designer wardrobes, three-star restaurant meals or lavish spa weekends.

After all, there is never a price tag on love, right?

There is a growing movement among couples to find more meaningful ways to celebrate on Feb. 14. Saving money doesn’t make you stingy, and in fact can help you to focus on what the occasion is really all about.

For added inspiration, here are a few ideas to help you make Valentine’s Day special, without the mega price tag:

  • Ditch the cut roses: Often, it’s those gifts that require a lot of thought or effort that mean the most. Why buy a bunch of flowers that are ordered quickly online and die within a week when you can inspire your loved one to get their hands dirty? Goodwill offers plenty of green-thumb inspiration, including gloves, pots, tools and gardening books. So instead of forking out a fortune on a bunch of roses, how about planting that seed in someone that produces living treasures that grow over time and serve as a daily reminder of your love?
  • Create a Goodwill date night: Have you heard about the Goodwill Date Night Challenge? This growing idea sees couples head out to their nearest Goodwill store to find an outfit for each other to wear … but there’s a catch. Each person must adhere to a budget (say $15 each) and then must wear it out on their date! You would be shocked how many quality, name-brand clothes hang along or aisles. Many have the original tags still attached. And knowing that your purchases create employment opportunities in your community makes it sweeter than a box of chocolates.
  • Create an at-home spa experience: If a spa day isn’t in your budget, you can always recreate the experience at home. Shop Goodwill to find a plush robe, some comfy slippers, and perhaps a scented candle. And guys, it’s easy to create an at-home face mask with a half ripe avocado, a tablespoon of honey and a ¼ cup of rolled oats. Just mash the avocado (use the other half for guacamole!), mix in the honey and fold in the oats. The mixture can be applied to a washed face for 10-15 minutes. That’s a good time for the wearer to open that book or start the movie you picked up at Goodwill! Once the time is up, rinse the mask off and admire your hydrated skin.
  • Get in the kitchen: If you don’t usually cook, something as simple as making dinner on Valentine’s Day would be a huge treat for your partner. Unearth a recipe from your childhood (ask family members for help), and serve it to your loved one (along with some heart-warming memories). Goodwill offers a diverse collection of kitchen items, from essential tools to vintage casserole dishes. And we’re sure two Champagne glasses won’t be difficult to find either!

The bottom line? If you’re on a budget, or if you simply want to distill Valentine’s Day down to its essence, find creative, frugal ways to celebrate. It sends a message about what’s important — and helps funnel money into important Goodwill programs that make a difference in your community. Sounds like love to us!

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