My frugal Valentine

Tess Vigeland: So do you have reservations lined up to the most expensive restaurant in town? Maybe some diamond jewelry in hand and eight dozen red roses?

Oh puhleeze. Valentine's Day. Can you hear me spitting out the words?

Well my good friend Meg Favreau of Wisebread.com shares my sentiment. But we're going to go ahead with some frugalista tips to celebrate Cupid. Welcome back!

Meg Favreau: Hey, thanks for having me back.

Vigeland: Well, we wanted to bring you in because we're coming up on yet another holiday that requires an inordinate amount of spending money. I have to tell you, I am not a big fan of Valentine's Day. In fact, in our house, we ignore it. We don't even give each other cards, because I think Valentine's Day has turned into this orgy of ridiculous money!

Favreau: No, it definitely has. And I'm also not a huge Valentine's Day person.

Vigeland: Which is why we brought you in! So, if you are the romantic type -- which apparently neither of is -- if you are that type and you are gonna go out and spend some money on this Hallmark holiday, what's a better way to do it than emptying your credit card? So we got some tips here. What's number one?

Favreau: Don't celebrate Valentine's Day on Valentine's Day.

Vigeland: Because everything's more expensive that day right?

Favreau: Right. But that doesn't mean that you can't celebrate Valentine's Day "around" Valentine's Day. Because, here's the thing that I like about Valentine's Day, and about other holidays, where you're expected to have this big show of money is you're doing something different. And when you do something different than you normally do, that feels special.

Vigeland: Huh?

Favreau: You know, if you really want to go to a nice restaurant and you don't normally go to a nice restaurant, do that. It feels different and special and celebratory. But if you're not doing it on Valentine's Day, you're probably going to save a lot of money -- or at least be able to get a reservation somewhere.

Vigeland: Well that's another problem -- good luck getting in the first place!

Favreau: Yeah. My big suggestion is to stay in and do something different in.

Vigeland: So if you never ever make dinner for each other, you could do that.

Favreau: Yes.

Vigeland: That would be something new and different.

Favreau: That would be wonderful. One of my favorite Valentine's Day idea is to do basically what I think of as a tasting dinner, where each member of a couple gets some things to try. And then so that both creates the dinner and can also be the Valentine's Day gifts.

Vigeland: Like what?

Favreau: So each member of the couple is going to get a cheese and then they're going to get something to go with that cheese that could be a gift that will last for a while, like a nice jar of honey, a nice jar of jam.

Vigeland: Oooooh, I like that.

Favreau: I often go more on the savory side of things, so like good balsamic vinegar, good olive oil. You're giving a gift that hopefully will be appreciated and is consumable, which I'm a huge fan of consumable gifts. Most people do not need more stuff.

Vigeland: So we've taken care of the food, but you know, another thing that people spend just a ton of money on -- on that day, when it is more expensive than any other day of the year -- is flowers and candy.

Favreau: Yes. Here's my big suggestion for that: Get a single flower.

Vigeland: You don't need a dozen.

Favreau: Right. Like the idea of fresh flowers is so lovely.

Vigeland: It is.

Favreau: But at the same time, they get very expensive. And I don't think there's that much of a difference between having a giant bouquet of flowers and a single flower.

Vigeland: In fact, a single flower can almost be more beautiful.

Favreau: Yeah. And you know, if you get... It can just be a very cheap vase, like a dollar store vase, but you know, the right glassware to put it in so one flower is really highlighted. You know, you're still getting the benefits of a beautiful fresh flower -- it's smelling nice and all that, but you're not paying all the crazy money.

Vigeland: And I actually have a tip from one of our producers who used to work in a floral shop. And she said that if you go the next day, you get all kinds of discounts, because they've got all this overstock, and they practically give you flowers.

Favreau: Oh my goodness, that is a great tip. I mean, that can also apply to chocolates, that can apply to...

Vigeland: All of a sudden, everything's on sale.

Favreau: Yeah. And goes back to the same thing with don't celebrate Valentine's Day on Valentine's Day, especially 'cause Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year. Celebrate it the following weekend. Everything is cheap and you can go out on the weekend, which is when you probably want to go out anyway.

Vigeland: Exactly. I really like that idea. All right, how about the candy?

Favreau: Well, I mean, you can follow the same logic with the candy. If you...

Vigeland: Make some cookies.

Favreau: Make some cookies is a great one. Or making truffles, are so easy to make!

Vigeland: Oh!

Favreau: They are so easy to make and so delicious.

Vigeland: Do you have a good recipe that we can put on the site?

Favreau: I was just about to say I could definitely give a recipe for some truffles.

Vigeland: Excellent. We will have that on our website.

Favreau: And so yeah, truffles. They're super elegant, they're delicious, they're rich. And I mean, especially if you do wanna get somebody a bunch of chocolates, you're going to be paying so much less money to make truffles than to go get... Especially if you're getting something like Godiva. But I mean, if like the Russell Stover.

Vigeland: And I do have to say that if any guy were to actually make dessert, hello? That's a keeper, right?

Favreau: Yes, I will definitely agree with that.

Vigeland: All right, Meg Favreau, thanks for comin' in.

Favreau: Thanks Tess.

About the author

Favreau is the senior editor at the personal finance website Wisebread.com

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