Valentine's Day will be here before you know it. For most of us, times have been tough and money is a little tight this year. What are some ways to show your significant other you care without using every last coin in your piggy bank?
Start the day out right with breakfast in bed. If you have a heart-shaped muffin pan, bake some muffins. If you have heart-shaped cookie cutters, you can use them to make pancake hearts. If not, you could draw syrup hearts on top. If your partner likes eggs, make heart-shaped eggs, or Toad-in-the-hole (cut hearts out of the middle of toasted bread, place on cookie sheet, and bake an egg inside). Put everything on a tray with tea or coffee, juice and a flower. Write a romantic message on the bathroom mirror with lipstick or tuck a note in your sweetie's pocket if she or he is going to work.
Spend the day together if possible. Take a hike, have a picnic, walk on the beach, build a snowman or have a snowball fight - whatever your climate allows. Later, watch a romantic movie, rented from Netflix or Redbox, or you could watch your wedding video.
Have a nice dinner at home, including some of your partner's favorite dishes. If you must go out, make it the day before or after. Restaurants always have a "special" (expensive) menu on this day. Instead of champagne with your meal, substitute Prosecco, a much less expensive but delicious Italian sparkling wine.
If you plan ahead, you can make a gift instead of purchasing one. A clever handmade card is much more thoughtful than a storebought card. Make some fortune cookies (recipes are available online) and write romantic fortunes to insert. Grow some flowers or herbs in a small pot. Fill a pretty jar with strips of paper, each listing something you like about your partner. Burn a CD full of romantic music. Make some handmade chocolates, or lip balm or candles. The web has a wealth of how-to information.
Cap off the evening with a massage or a bubble bath a deux. And then...well let's just say it doesn't cost anything and it lets you turn the furnace down a notch!