We are in a world wide economic downturn. This Valentine’s Day won’t be about the size or the price of the gift one receives. Materialism in this economy would be irresponsible. More of an emphasis must be placed on truthful expressions of love this Valentine’s Day. So, how can we express our love for less? What are our options if we want to save money while not depriving our partner? Here are cost efficient, low cost and no cost ideas so that you may honor your partner while respecting your bank account.

Start With a Plan

Choose how you want to approach this Valentine’s Day. You can go for 1 major gift or present multiple gifts. You can plan activities for your partner or activities you can do together. You can take a trip or remain local. Ideally, you can do a mix of some or all of these things, depending on where you stand financially.

The key is to make this day as sentimental as possible. Plan to push your partner’s passion buttons. Then determine how much you can or are willing to spend. Lastly, have the faith to know that you can come up with a strategy that drives you partner wild, while remaining in your budget.

Cost Efficient Considerations

If you had a trip in mind and you are used to extravagant travel, go with an alternative. Plan a trip that is more local. With gas prices back in affordable ranges, plan to drive instead of fly to spend more quality time together. Rather than an overnight and costly hotel stay, plan a day trip.

Your partner may like jewelry. Rather than going with name-brand jewelry chains, jewelry exchanges and smaller shops may be a more affordable option. You can often get high quality jewelry for much less money than the name-brand stores can offer. Are diamonds and other precious stones outside of your budget? There are some beautiful 1 of a kind costume jewelry sets for women. There are also beautiful men’s pieces in metals like Tungsten that are stunning, yet affordable.

Are you used to expensive restaurants? This year, you may want to consider a restaurant with a fixed price menu so you know exactly what the evening will cost before you walk in the door. Cocktails tend to be overpriced. Therefore, you can choose a place with a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) policy.

Low Cost Options

A popular Valentine’s Day item is usually a big bouquet of roses. Be unique and price conscious this year. Select a flower arrangement that has bright and passion inspiring colors. You can add different types of flowers, balloons, and stuffed animals to make it appealing and affordable. Another option might be to do it yourself. Club stores like Costco sell very fresh, fragrant flowers at a fraction of the cost. You could buy the flowers yourself and arrange them using a low cost vase and colored ribbon.

Where was your first date? Maybe this is the year to surprise your partner with a return there to reminisce. Make the night extra special and be ready to tell your partner how your life changed since that first date.

A candle light dinner at home might be just right for you. Make sure you have a babysitter for the kids. Get the candles from a local discount store. Music can come from your iPod, radio or computer. Cook dinner yourself or order a meal to go from a local restaurant.

Have some fun and feed your partner…blindfolded. Get a selection of fruits, chocolates, and cupcakes. Blindfold your partner. Then slowly feed your partner a little at a time. Do this with romantic music in the background and a little wine.

Instead of going to the movies, why not watch a movie together at home? It could be your DVD or tape, a trip to the rental store, pay-per-view, or On Demand. Lay out some crackers and cheese, fruit, or another snack that adds to the romance. Select a romantic movie…action flicks won’t due on V-Day.

Here’s an oldie but goodie. Purchase two packs of Post-Its. Write “I Love You” on every sheet. Then, put them everywhere! Make sure you put them somewhere your partner will find some on Valentine’s Day. If you are creative, your partner will still be finding them month’s and possibly years later. Every time your partner finds one, it will bring back that great romantic feeling. This idea works best in conjunction with other gifts for your special day together.

No Cost

Full body massage is another great romantic thing you can do that will cost you nothing at all. If you’ve never done it before or need some tips on how to do so, go to YouTube.com. Type in “how to massage” and a number of free tips from credible massage schools will be amongst your result set. Beginners should stick with shoulders, hands and feet. To add to the ambiance, light some fragrant candles and play soft music. You can also use lotions or body oils to make the experience special.

Writing a poem can be one of the most intimate things you could do, especially if this is your first time writing one. Take out a sheet of paper and write as much as you can about the following 3 things. First, what was your life like before you met? Second, how did your partner change your life? Third, how do you see your future together? After writing as much as possible about each, pull out key sentences and arrange them in the order you like. Keep the idea order of the 3 questions. Once you have a rough draft poem, add to it, smooth it out, and remove anything extra. You want to make sure that your finished product has no criticisms or anything that could be mistaken for an insult. If you aren’t feeling confident, read a few other poems on the internet, in the library or in a bookstore to get the idea. Imagine how your partner will feel when you write a unique poem from your feelings.

Draw a hot bath for your partner. Add candles and a glass of something cool next to the bathtub. If your partner would like some soft music, move the radio to the bathroom area in a safe place. Check in on your partner every once in a while to make sure nothing more is needed for a relaxing and quiet moment.

Are you a talented singer? Write a song for your partner and then sing it. Sing an existing song. Change an existing song a little so that it fits the emotions you are trying to portray. If you have an instrument and you play it well, then do that. If you can sing and play at the same time, why not show your partner the best of what you can do?

Remember…

Valentine’s Day should serve as a beginning. Your work is not done after Valentine’s Day. Make sure you engage in loving activities with your partner often. At least once a month, do something special. Each day, make sure you let your partner know how you feel. True love doesn’t feel like work, but it does require some effort.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Author's Bio: 

James LeGrand is the publisher of www.SpiritualIndividual.com, a free weekly newsletter that presents solutions to life’s issues through the lens of self-help, wisdom, philosophy and spirituality. He is the author of an Amazon.com best seller in Religion and Spirituality titled "Evolve!". James LeGrand is also a life coach, a Fortune 500 Vice President, and a Sifu in Shaolin Kungfu, which has been known for centuries as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment. Subscribe to this free weekly email newsletter now.