Our Frugal Valentine’s Day Celebration

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A romantic dinner

Imagine this.

Two candles light up a table with two wine glasses, a vase of red roses, a delicious-looking dinner (ideally beef steak) with love songs playing in the background.

Mr. FAF and I sit down at the table, gaze into each other’s eyes, and eat dinner while talking about all the beautiful memories we have created together as a couple.

We then hold hands and stand up to dance to the music.

Mr. FAF surprises me with a beautifully wrapped gift before I surprise him with mine.

That’s my idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner celebration.

I would estimate the cost to be around $100.

The only things we need to spend money on are home-made steak, roses, wine, and two gifts.

We would do everything at home instead of an expensive restaurant.


And that’s a dinner that has never happened either thanks to Mr. FAF’s lack of romantic gestures or my unwillingness to prepare the whole thing by myself or both.

Instead, our pre-Valentine’s conversation would go something like this:

Me: Velatine’s Day is coming.

Mr. FAF: Ok.

Me: Only ok?

Mr. FAF: I can buy you groceries or cook you something at home.

Me: But I want romance.

Mr. FAF: It’s not our family tradition (?!).

I’m not sure who created this non-romance tradition in our family (most likely Mr. FAF), but I am not a big fan of it. Like most women, I like romantic gestures from Mr. FAF: a surprise gift, a romantic poem, a surprise dinner date, a lovely postcard or all of the things above.

I’ve gotten a $300 surprise present from Mr. FAF before, but it was a bit of a disappointment, so I asked him to return it.

Two weeks ago, we decided to try one new restaurant in the area to spice up our married life and count it as a weekly date. We went to a steak house nearby. We both agreed that it’s the best steak we’ve gotten. However, due to the price ($42) and Mr. FAF’s weight loss efforts, that date plan fizzled after one dinner.

I’ve suggested low-cost Valentine’s gift ideas such as a poem or postcard, but he said he can’t compose poems and is not good at writing cheesy postcards (?!).

Receiving a love poem from Mr. FAF would put me on cloud nine. In case you wonder if I have done all of the things above for Mr. FAF, then the answer is yes except for writing poetry.

I guess Mr. FAF’s love language is a bit different from mine. It’s usually making me my favorite dishes, getting me my favorite fast food late at night, or being extremely patient whenever my temper flares up.

I can’t remember all the exact occurrences, but I feel most loved when Mr. FAF makes me my favorite dishes. There’s something so calming about seeing him in a girly apron, sweating in the heat, being focused on getting the recipe right, and worried about under-cooking the food or accidentally making it spicy.

I try to think of those examples to feel better about Mr. FAF’s lack of romance on special occasions although I still secretly hope that he would take his love language up a notch.

Our plan

Back to reality. I just asked Mr. FAF what we are going to do for Valentine’s, and his response was “Not in the mood.” Very romantic and exciting, I know.

We will just say “Happy Valentine’s” to each other and move on with our daily lives like the previous years. In a nutshell, our Valentine’s celebration this year will be super frugal because we won’t spend a dime on it (sorry about the clickbaity title).

Am I 100% ok with that? Not really. But I guess I have to compromise in marriage and understand that I can’t get what I want all the time.

I’ll just look on the bright side and say that though not the romantic type, Mr. FAF is still a good husband, father, son, and son-in-law. That’s my everyday Valentine’s gift.

What about you? Are you planning a romantic Valentine’s date? 


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23 thoughts on “Our Frugal Valentine’s Day Celebration”

  • Haha- we are doing the same! Other than hopefully carving out time for a walk or time to chat alone for a bit… Valentine’s will look pretty much like a normal day over here 🙂 Have a great week!

    • I used to do this but oddly wanted to do something this year. I was just feeling romantic. I like Mrs FAF’s idea of a yummy meal with roses and candles at home. I hate going to busy places or doing things on peak days so going out would not be that fun for me. Sadly my girlfriend just got her wisdom teeth out so she can only eat soft foods like cottage cheese. Not romantic!

  • Neither of us are that into Valentine’s day, and it’s sandwiched between our anniversary and his birthday, so we never really bother celebrating it. We do, however, have the random romantic dinner or outing here and there just because we feel like it. It’s easier for us to be spontaneous with that sort of stuff because we don’t have kids or other family in our home. But, in general, I don’t feel like we need an excuse to be sweet to each other.

  • The “everyday” gifts are what matter most anyway. Besides, frugal celebrations are more enjoyable. It’s tough to have a good time when you are spending a relatively significant amount of money. Besides, between all the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, graduations, promotions, etc., formal celebrations can really add up.

    • Yes, they do add up. And they add up fast! Mr. and I only celebrate our anniversary and the Chinese New Year’s, so that helps keep the festivity expenses down a bit hehe.

  • I’m like Mr. FAF too. Maybe I’m jaded, but I can’t help but think of Valentine’s Day as a contrived holiday. But here’s the rub. Like you, Mrs. Groovy wants a little romance in her life too. And would it kill me to come up with a nice poem once a year? I got to work on this, especially since I haven’t written Mrs. Groovy since we were dating. It’s not hard, damn it. Just use some words you never use. “When I ponder our love I ‘weep.’ It sustains me like a seawall from the ‘lashing’ waves of a hostile sea.” See what I mean?

    Thanks for the inspiration, Mrs. FAF. Hopefully, I can surprise Mrs. Groovy with a little romance this Wednesday. Cheers.

    • Wow that’s beautiful poetry right there! I’m sure Mrs. Groovy would be so happy to read the whole poem 😉 Happy Valentine’s to you and Mrs. Groovy!

  • I used to put in more effort, but we’re calling it off this year. We’re all too busy. I’m stressed out about our rental. She’s busy with her things. Junior’s birthday is coming up. It’s crazy.
    Maybe next year…

  • No Valentine’s Day celebrations for us either, but it’s me who really doesn’t care. Instead, we went for a 3 day weekend truck camping as sort of a combined birthday (for our son) and Valentine’s Day trip. Really, just an excuse to go out of town again, but we spent less for the 3 days than many will for just one fancy dinner.

  • Same here. We don’t “celebrate” the same way others do…no elaborate spending or going out of our way…even before we had our daughter. I just tend to make a yummy dinner…but I try to do that anyway most days of the week:) We both look at it as a hallmark holiday –just another reason for companies to make more money.
    I care more about birthdays and anniversaries, but even then, we don’t go crazy. So you’re not alone! ( oh, and my husband hasn’t written love letters or poems to me since we dated 14 years ago:p)

  • Oh gosh, you guys are no fun! I bought my 2 grandsons some See’s chocolates, myself a bigger heart full of nuts and chews and sent GD $20 in a cute My Little Pony card LOL. I know not frugal at all but I still love the holiday and have fond memories of exchanging valentines as a kid.

  • We won’t be celebrating Valentine’s day either and haven’t really since we got married. Probably down the line when Baby with Cents gets older we will have him work on crafting Valentine’s stuff like making hearts and creating cards. But for now it will just another day for us. We think of Valentine’s as everyday because spending quality time with each other is good enough .

  • husband and I happily agree to not do anything for vday. two kids and currently living in a hotel isn’t the best situation. but we express how happy and lucky we are all the time. We feel blessed and doesn’t feel the need to something extra on a specific day. that’s not to say we don’t celebrate, but just on non-holiday days lol.

  • I’d say Valentine’s Day doesn’t NEED to be romantic. We haven’t exchanged “romantic gifts” in years and that hasn’t been a problem in our relationship. I’m so glad we’re both on the same page when it comes to these things because knowing we’re there for each other all year long is enough for both 🙂

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