Romance on the Cheap: Valentine’s Day Dinner

Whether you like it or not, Valentine’s Day is less than a month away. Instead of trying to rush and figure out something to do, take this time to think about your plans for this year. One option that is popular with couples is going out to eat. According to Business Insider, Americans spent $3.4 billion on dining out in 2011. Clearly, the quickest route to anyone’s heart is through the stomach. So, do you splurge and feast on pricey steak and lobster or do you skip the hefty restaurant bill and munch on some cheap carry out instead? Does the price of the food even matter on such a festive holiday?

Every year, my husband and I love to joke about spending our Valentine’s Day at White Castles. For the past couple of years, the fast food chain has been hosting a special candlelit dinner equipped with red table cloths, table service, and specialized menus. They usually take reservations a few weeks before the big day, and some couples even get hitched there. Personally, I think we wouldn’t stop laughing if we actually made a reservation and went through with it. Would you like fries with that glass of champagne?

Besides White Castles, other fast food eateries are taking notice and trying to allure the price sensitive consumer away from the costly restaurants. In 2012, certain Valentine’s Day bargain deals included:

  • Papa Murpheys sold a $7 heart-shaped pizza called the Heartbreaker
  • Red Lobster hosted a four-course seafood meal for only $15 per person
  • Dunkin Donuts featured two heart shaped donuts for around $1 a piece
  • Pizza Hut offered a proposal package for $10,010 which included a $10 Pizza Hut dinner box – a medium pizza with breadsticks and cinnamon sticks – along with a ruby ring, limo service, flowers, a fireworks show, a photographer and a videographer

There are plenty of other coupon sites offering deep discounts on restaurants. Websites like Groupon and
are always dishing out two for one coupons or a certain percentage off your meal. It might be nice to surprise your loved one with someone like that. If going out to dinner (cheap or upscale) is not your thing, then you can always look into cooking for your loved one. A quiet night at home could be pretty romantic, and it won’t cost you a paycheck. Look for sales and specials at the grocery store, and be flexible in your planning. If there’s a great sale on salmon that makes it cheaper than your originally planned chicken, substitute it for the chicken in the recipe.

Whatever your plans may be this year, I would start cranking out a game plan. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate! You may be eating sliders from White Castles, but this romantic holiday would not be complete without a delicious box of chocolates. For all other gift ideas, check out these 10 inexpensive gifts for men and women that won’t break the bank.

Additional Resources

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Tips to Fine Living With Little Money

It’s About Time: New Year’s Bash on a Budget

How to Avoid Going Bankrupt from Your Wedding

Cash Back Resources

Godiva Coupons

Cheryls Coupons

Shari’s Berries Coupons

Ghirardelli Chocolate Coupons

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