Valentine’s Day has a habit of carrying a hefty price tag. The worst part of Valentine’s Day is the debt that is accrued in the name of love!
A debt-free Valentine’s Day can be fun and cost effective. Don’t fall for the sales pitches that every kiss begins with debt, or that you need to bring home a Range Rover with a 10 foot ribbon on top. Seriously, who brings home a new vehicle as a gift??
That type of Valentine’s Day was created to break your bank account and ensure you rack up soul crushing debt. That’s not what the day is about.
Valentine’s Day is supposed to get it’s name from St. Valentine. He’s supposed to have been a priest in Rome. Back then, Emperor Claudius II thought that marriage created weak men and worse soldiers.
So, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage. St. Valentine wasn’t a fan of this idea and started marrying people in secret (awwww my heart).
St. Valentine was arrested, and sentenced to death (totally reasonable). He was executed on February 14th, but before he was killed he sent a letter to his lover titled “From your Valentine”.
Who knows if that’s true… maybe it is… maybe it isn’t (shrug). The point is, nowhere in that story did St. Valentine lease a Lexus for his lover.
Here are some pretty amazing ideas to ensure you enjoy a debt-free Valentine’s Day!
A Love Note
I can hear the cheese ball alarm going off now, but seriously… a sincere, well written love note is a thing of beauty.
Get creative with this one too. Get yourself a deck of cards and create a 52 reasons why I love you gift. Write a reason on each card.
My wife did this for me years ago, and I still have the deck in my desk. She doesn’t know it but, I look at it often and it still makes me smile.
It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received and it didn’t cost more than a pack of playing cards… literally.
Don’t worry if you’re not a direct descendant of Shakespeare. Just get your feelings and thoughts out on paper. Create a rough draft and then go back in and fine tune it.
I promise you that your grammatical errors will be irrelevant. The message is what’s important!!
Homemade Meal For Two
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I literally had no idea how much I enjoyed cooking with my wife, that was until we started creating some of our favorite restaurant meals at home.
You can avoid racking up credit card debt if you learn to cook your favorite dinner out meals at home. Don’t let cooking intimidate you. It’s actually fun, and surprisingly easy with the help of the inter-webs.
We learned to make sushi and some pretty kick ass pizzas at home. Meals that used to cost us $20-$60, are now incredibly affordable when we make them at home.
Plan ahead a bit, and make sure you’ve got all the necessary ingredients. The last thing you want to do is have to make a trip to the store in a hangry stupor looking for wasabi.
Homemade Valentine’s Gifts
There are a million homemade gift ideas and you can probably think of a specific item that your loved one enjoys.
Depending on your crafting and DIY abilities, the possibilities are endless. Homemade gifts mean more than anything made in China and bought on Amazon…
Create a hand painted mug for your coffee lover, a vase for someone who loves to have flowers in the house, or maybe you want to paint them a picture that represents your love.
Get over the cheesy feeling that accompanies some of these ideas. Sometimes a cheesy idea makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
Pottery Painting Date Night
These pottery painting shops are popping up all over the place. For under $30 you can have a pretty amazing Valentine’s date night.
If you’re unfamiliar with these pottery painting shops, they are small stores full of different types of white, unfinished pottery.
The items range from small coffee cups to huge vases. They have all of the paint, brushes, and equipment that you’ll need.
You simply walk in, pick out your pottery and paint, and start working on your masterpiece. After you finish painting, they fire it and you can come pick it up in a few days.
Most shops allow you to bring in your own food and beverages. Order a pizza, grab a bottle of wine, and enjoy some quality time with your loved one.
Just Some Quality Time Together
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We spend a lot of time getting ready for, going to, and being at work… Actually, we spend the majority of our lives with people we really don’t like.
We carve out small increments of time for the ones who mean the most. It’s incredibly backwards, and some quality time with your loved one is probably the best debt free Valentine’s Day gift you can give.
Get a sitter and just plan an evening out with your spouse. Maybe you go visit a museum, walk around town, or have a picnic (assuming you don’t live in the North).
The gift or event is almost irrelevant. The time you’re choosing to spend together is the real Valentine’s Day gift. Don’t get caught up planning an expensive, extravagant date night.
I love chocolate cupcakes, but who decided to turn peanut butter into frosting?!
Seriously, I want to meet this beautiful soul and explain to them how much they’ve changed my life. If it was digging into some PB snack packs and graham crackers during a midnight shift at the hospital, paired up with jelly when my cupboards are bare and I’m being stubborn about grocery shopping, or served up on a spoon to my dog…Peanut Butter is that sweet baby angel in your cupboard that never lets you down.
And then there’s chocolate. OM NOM NOM NOM! 😀
Chocolate knew this was something special when she met Peanut Butter. I imagine the dialogue went something like this:
Chocolate to Peanut Butter: “Did we just become best friends?!”
I love making cupcakes, but I have a confession. I HATE decorating them.
But you know who LOVES decorating them? Wait for it….my tall, manly, bearded husband. I know, stay back ladies! My cupcake-decorating hunk is not for sale😉
These chocolate cupcakes are so delicious, and it really is worth the little bit of extra time required as compared to a box mix. Basic cupcake recipes are great since you can make so many different variations with garnishes and fillings.
I admit that I considered filling these with strawberry jelly before slapping some PB frosting on top, but I’m working on self-control for 2019… (heavy breathing)
Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Buttercream Tips:
Use an ice scream scoop with a little scoop “lift” to serve up the perfect amount of batter. Works for me every time!
Prepare to make a mess with the powdered sugar in the frosting. There is no avoiding this, so just embrace the chaos that will be your kitchen.
The frosting calls for softened butter. Reading this ingredient in a recipe is always followed with me groaning UGH! I never remember to take ingredients out to soften. The good news is you can simulate softened butter by microwaving the stick of butter in 5-second increments, rotating the butter after each interval. I found that a total of 20 seconds with a 5-second zap on each side of the butter did the trick.
When my husb-….errr, I mean when I frosted these cupcakes, I used a plastic piping bag. You could easily use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off. I do recommend if you decide to use a tip attachment, piping bags would be the best item to use!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cupcake pans with cupcake liners and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
Mix the hot water and cocoa in a separate bowl until dissolved.
In a larger bowl, beat the shortening on medium speed for approximately 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar to the shortening, beating well after each addition. Beat 2 minutes longer after all of the sugar has been added.
Beat in the vanilla to the shortening and sugar, and then alternately add the flour mixture and dissolved cocoa to the batter. Be sure to mix the ingredients until just combined.
Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full and bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan, and cool an additional 10 minutes on a wire rack before frosting!
PB Butter Cream Frosting
Beat the softened butter and creamy PB with an electric mixer.
Slowly mix in the sugar, and then add the milk to form a fluffy, spreadable frosting. 3 minutes is the magic number for mixing to achieve that delicious texture!
Frost as desired on chocolate cupcakes...and garnish if you're feeling fancy!
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All information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional financial advice. You should talk to a professional financial planner if you need help with your finance. I’m just out here trying to live my best life!