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The Bootleg Guide To Saving Money on Valentine’s Day

You can spend big bucks impressing your special someone on Valentine’s Day or you can use my bootleg methods to save some cash while still getting some.

Maybe you haven’t even finished paying off your Christmas shopping yet and here it is, Valentine’s Day. It’s a Hallmark Holiday for sure and I’ve never been much of a Valentine girl but they’re out there.  Valentine boys too maybe.

Here are a few bootleg methods to ensure that not only will you not spend too much money, but more importantly that you don’t end up on the couch in the middle of the coldest, crappiest month of the year.


Flowers, particularly red roses, are the classic Valentine’s Day gift.  But florists jack up those prices on Valentine’s Day.  If you want a dozen red roses delivered it will cost about $80.  That is from an on-line florist like 1-800-Flowers.  I can hook you up for about $25.

New York City has this wonderful institution known as the bodega.  In your town they might be called the corner store or the convenience store.  Bodegas are great.  They never close, not during a blizzard, a hurricane, a zombie up-rising.  The bodega is always there for you with their loosies, adorable bodega cats, and dodgy over-priced produce.

But the best thing about bodegas is the flowers they sell.  You can get all kinds, roses, carnations, seasonal flowers like peonies (my favorite) and lilacs.  But the best deal is on the roses.  You can get two dozen for $10!  Now, you can’t just buy them the day of.  That will just make you look like a cheap jerk who bought your bae cheap ass bodega roses for Valentine’s Day.

Even the bodegas jack up the prices on the actual holiday anyway.  So do this:  buy the flowers the day before and put them in the fridge in your office so they stay fresh. Buy a cheap vase from the dollar store.  On Valentine’s Day, put the flowers in the vase and call a messenger service.  For about $15 they will deliver the flowers to your SO’s home or office.

You just saved at least $50 and more importantly, made your sweetie happy.  I will warn you that bodega roses don’t smell like roses.  They don’t smell at all really.  They must be like seconds or something and that’s why they’re cheap. So if you think this will be an issue, you’ll need to spend a few more bucks on rose perfume to spritz on the non-smelling bodega roses.

Lunch Not Dinner

Going out to lunch at a pricey restaurant is almost always cheaper than going for dinner.  It’s the same food and the same service but can be half the price.  A Valentine’s lunch is also a nice surprise and a nice break in the day.

With the money you save, you can go to one of those by-the-hour hotels for a little afternoon romance.  And there is something kind of hot about the contrast between a fancy restaurant and a sleazy hotel n’est-ce pas?

The Day Before

There are a few reasons going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day isn’t always a great experience.  Most places are crowded which means they will be loud and the service slower than normal.  Many restaurants will offer a prix fixe menu so you will have less choice than you otherwise would and some  inflate the prices for Valentine’s Day.

If you go out the night before, you will have a better overall experience.  But the best reason to go on February 13th is for the people watching.  This is the day those who have a hot piece on the side celebrate since the actual holiday is reserved for the legit partner.  So you might catch your boss with someone he or she should not be with.  That corner office just became yours!

Stay Home

One of the fun things about going out for a special occasion is the chance to dress up.  I love wearing heels and dresses but February is arguably the worst month of the year weather wise.  It’s either going to snow, is snowing or has just snowed which means heels are a dangerous choice.

At the very least it’s cold which makes wearing a dress uncomfortable even if the terrain is clear enough for heels.  I do it but freeze my ass off.  Beauty knows no pain.

But if you and your date decided to stay in, you can get as dressed up or even as undressed as you like!  You can make or order in all those things purported to be aphrodisiacs, raw oysters (this one works on me), chocolate dipped strawberries, caviar, figs.

And when your aphrodisiacs kick you, you’ll be close to the bed, kitchen counter, shower, wherever you plan to get your Valentine freak on.

Prosecco Not Champagne

Let’s face it, you’re no connoisseur when it comes to Champagne.  I’ll include myself in that.  I have it when you probably have it, on New Year’s Eve.  I’m a red wine drinker.  I do like the way Champagne bubbles tickle the roof of my mouth though.

Prosecco is Italian sparkling wine so it has the same bubbles that Champagne has but it is much cheaper. You can get a nice bottle of Prosecco for less than $20.  There are even pink varieties that are fun and festive for Valentine’s Day.  Maybe drop a few off season Driscoll raspberries in each flute to be extra fancy.


Okay, if you have zero imagination or just have a date that loves the stuff, you can buy chocolate for your gift.  But don’t buy those tacky ass polyester covered heart shaped boxes of chocolate.  Your date is (probably) not a cheap hooker.  Don’t buy a box of Whitman’s Samplers either because your date is also (probably) not an octogenarian.

I don’t have a sweet tooth so I don’t have solid advice on chocolate. I’ll leave you this list. I have had Vosges which is always on the list of best chocolates.  The owner was an acquaintance and used to  bring her wares to the office I worked in.

I liked their stuff because they make weird flavors.  It is crazy expensive though.  This is one of those quality over quantity situations so if you’re going to go the chocolate route, get something small and excellent rather than big and sub-par.

So there you have it!  The bootleg guide to having a great Valentine’s Day.  I hope some of you take this advice over going to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Feel free to recycle these suggestions in October when Sweetest Day comes around.


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