Fun, Frugal Valentine’s Day Ideas for the Whole Family

While retailers would like you to think that Valentine’s Day is all about diamond necklaces and rings as well as chocolates and meals out, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Valentine’s Day, at its most basic, offers us a chance to show those we love how much we care about them.

Sure, saying we care with a diamond necklace is nice, but that isn’t always practical.  There is no need to break the bank to show our love on Valentine’s Day.

Instead, consider some of these humble methods, which can be effective for both your spouse and children.

Frugal Valentine’s Day Ideas

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Show Your Love with Food

The old saying is that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and that can be true for your children, too.  Why not have a fun, Valentine’s Day food day?

Here are some ideas:

-Serve a homemade, heart shaped pizza for dinner.

-Make heart shaped sugar cookies or another type of cookie.

-Make a heart shaped cake.  This is easier to do than it sounds.  Make a cake in one square shaped pan and one round pan.  When they are cooled, put the square shape cake on a serving platter with one of the corners pointing up in a diamond shape.  Then, cut the round cake in half, and use each half as the round part of the heart.  Frost the entire thing, and voila, you have a heart shaped cake.

-Make a candy cane heart.  If you have leftover candy canes from Christmas, simply face two together so they make a heart shape.  Either leave the wrapper on and use a hot glue gun to stick them together, or take off the wrapper and use some frosting to attach the two ends.

-Make heart shaped eggs in a nest.  Simply take a piece of toast or French toast, use a cookie cutter to cut a heart shape in the middle, and then cook an egg in the center.  On the side, serve the middle heart.

Show Your Love with Words

Valentine's Day can be frugal and fun.We are busy and often don’t tell those we love just how much they mean to us.  Take the time to write a letter to your spouse and/or your kids.  Talk about all the things they have accomplished in the last year and why you love them.

What traits make them special to you?  What do you appreciate that they do?

For a child, you could give the letter to him this year, or keep one each year and give them all to him when he is 18 or when he is expecting his own first child.

Give Your Loved One Coupons

Another frugal idea is to create a coupon book for your spouse.  Ideas might include:

-One free back rub

-One free romance movie viewing (especially if you are a guy who loathes watching romances with your wife)

-One free dinner of your choice, etc.

This same idea would also work for kids.  You could make the coupons a mix of special things to do and special things to eat:

-One trip bowling with mom

-One trip playing miniature golf with dad

-One free pass to the movies

-One candy bar of your choice, etc.

Make a Special Dinner at Home

If money is tight or you just don’t want to fight the crowds trying to dine out on Valentine’s Day, why not make a special meal at home?

Buy a treat food that you both enjoy such as a steak or seafood, and create a special meal.  If you have kids, enjoy your meal after the kids are in bed.

Set the atmosphere, too, by using a table cloth and candles.  Then enjoy the meal and your loved one’s company.  You get to eat what you want when you want, and there is no waiting in line as at a restaurant.


Valentine’s Day does not have to be an expensive, consumer holiday.

Scale it back to the basics and find small gestures throughout the day to show your spouse and your children how much you love them.  Chances are they will remember your small gestures and kind words longer than whatever present you could give them.

What is your favorite, frugal Valentine’s Day idea?

About Melissa

Melissa blogs at Mom's Plans about learning to live a fulfilling life on less. She has quit her day job and now blogs and writes, in addition to taking care of her three kids.

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  1. Great ideas for Valentine’s Day. I always my mom’s love heart shaped chocolate cookies. It has become a family tradition. My most favorite frugal Valentine’s Day idea is going for a long drive with my love.