Celebrating Valentine's Day on the cheap
If you're in a relationship, you naturally want to show a little extra love to your honey on Valentine's Day. The traditional elegant dinner, bouquets of flowers, decadent chocolates and shiny jewelry certainly have a wow factor, but those fancy gifts can add up to a small fortune.
What's a frugal romantic to do?
Joani Hill, who blogs on Coupons4Utah.com, says it depends on the stage of your relationship.
"If you're just starting to date and working toward a relationship, chances are you're students and young and broke," Hill said. "That's when you should be hitting the daily-deal websites."
She recommends looking at sites such as Groupon.com, Livingsocial.com and Amazon.com (and to shamelessly self-promote, SLCdailydeals.com) for local deals on fun date night ideas.
"I don't think it's cheap to take a Groupon on a date," Hill said. "I think it's sort of sexy to be concerned about your finances. I see it as kind of endearing."
If you're self-conscious about presenting a coupon on a date, Hill advises settling accounts with the bowling alley or rock-climbing club before you get there.
"Call ahead," she said. "I know local businesses would be glad to accommodate."
For committed and married couples, Hill, who's been married 32 years, says it's the little things that count, and often those gestures don't cost anything.
She suggests building a blanket tent in the living room and serving a favorite dish under cover. Or lighting candles in the TV room and cuddling up to watch a $1 Redbox flick you've both been anticipating.
"Once I wrote 'I love you' all over the bathroom mirror in red lipstick and my husband still talks about it," said Hill. "Those are my favorite kind of valentines."
When asked what she plans to do this Valentine's Day, Hill and her husband will enjoy a couples' massage at The Sanctuary Day Spa in Salt Lake City. While she admits it's a splurge, there is a frugal side to it.
"It's a Christmas gift from my husband. "I'm having my Christmas present for Valentine's Day, so that's a money saver."
Gifts under $25
Here are a few local gift ideas, both thrifty and romantic:
Sweet Candy Co. • 3780 W. Directors Row, Salt Lake City, 801-886-1444. Assorted Valentine's sweets including a 5-pound bag of cinnamon lips for $11.99 and a 3-pound bag of conversation heart taffy for $9.90.
Food of the Gods Chocolatiers • 288 S. 300 West, Kaysville, 801-444-1140. Owner and chocolatier Cary Black says his dozen raspberry cream truffles for $18.99 and six chocolate ganache-dipped stem strawberries for $19.99 will not disappoint.
Every Blooming Thing • 1344 S. 2100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-521-4773. General Manager Robert Upwall advises the budget-conscious to stay away from roses, but he says blooming plants, such as hydrangeas and ivy rings, start at $20. Single red roses are $6.50 per stem.
Heber Valley Railroad • 450 S. 600 West, Heber City, 435-654-5601. The Chocolate Lovers Train is sold out, but you can still get tickets for the Magic Train (Feb. 22 and March 22) and the Fiddle Fest Train (March 1), two tickets for $25, includes live music, entertainment, snacks and drinks.
Blue Boutique • There are four locations along the Wasatch Front: 1383 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-2072; 1051 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-596-2160; 2778 W. 3500 South, West Valley City, 801-982-1100; 3365 Washington Blvd., Ogden, 801-334-4228. Sales associate Lela Salonen in the Sugar House location says budget favorites include paintable body chocolate for $14.99 and massage candles starting at $10.
The Echo Theatre • 145 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-691-4961. Two tickets to a live theater performance for a bargain $12. Performances include "Little Happy Secrets" and "Noises Off" through February and March.