Monday, February 12, 2024

Valentine's Day on a Budget

Valentine’s Day is embraced by some and hated by others.  Into which camp do you fall? Often criticized as being manufactured and overly commercialized, many of the “haters” complain that they feel forced to spend money or that the money they spend can been seen as a reflection of how much they love their partner.  It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some ways that you can honor those that you love on February 14th without breaking the bank.   By focusing on meaningful gestures and quality time, you can create a memorable and love-filled day. Let's explore some creative and budget-friendly ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day. 

Love Notes and Letters

Words have the power to convey immense love and emotions. Instead of purchasing expensive cards, opt for DIY, at-home versions using materials that you have on hand. Creating handwritten love notes or heartfelt letters will be SO well received.  Here are some tips when writing to your loved one. 

  • Start with a heartfelt greeting using their name or nickname 
  • Express your love and appreciation sincerely and specifically
  • Recall special moments that hold significance for both of you
  • Be genuine and avoid clichés, using descriptive language to express your feelings
  • Share dreams for the future as individuals and as a couple 
  • Consider adding poetic language, songs, or meaningful quotes if it resonates with your emotions 
  • Always handwrite the note (don’t type) to keep things personal 
  •  End with a loving closing like "Yours forever" or "With all my love"
  •  Proofread and revise if needed 

At More Than Paper, we love writing notes to loved ones on personalized stationery or letterhead. They make a treasured note even more sentimental. These are a great option (Classic Letterpress Correspondence Cards Letterpress Card Stationery/Thank You Notes) because you can use them for a variety of occasions. 

Stationery/Thank You Notes by Rytex - Classic Letterpress Correspondence Cards


Dinner at home 

Cliché… but awesome. What about a home-cooked candlelight dinner?

Prepare a dinner at home without the need for an expensive restaurant reservation and go all out.  Cook your partner's favorite meal or try out a new recipe together. Set the mood with candles, soft music, and a beautifully decorated table. If it sounds cliché, that’s because it is.  Seriously, when was the last time you tried it?  Here are some ideas of things to cook. 


  • ·      Italian Pasta Night: Make homemade or high-quality store-bought pasta with a flavorful sauce. Serve with salad and garlic bread.
  • ·    Seafood Feast: Prepare grilled salmon, garlic butter shrimp, or seafood paella. Enjoy with a white wine or champagne.
  • ·      Fondue Fun: Have a cheese fondue with bread, veggies, and fruits. For dessert, try a chocolate fondue with strawberries and cake.
  • ·      Sushi Night: Make your own sushi rolls with fresh fish, rice, and toppings. Grab a sushi takeout menu and explore the offerings, then copy down some ideas to create some unique rolls. 
  • ·      French Cuisine: Cook dishes like Coq au Vin, Ratatouille, or Beef Bourguignon that feel luxurious and out of the ordinary. Serve with a baguette and mashed potatoes for a comforting treat. 
  • ·      Decadent Dessert: OK, so not everyone has time or likes to cook. So consider ordering in your favorite meal but make a delicious homemade dessert. One of our favorites is a Gluten Free Chocolate Molten Lava Cake. So easy to make and yummy! We like to serve ours with powdered sugar and slice strawberries!  See recipe below.

Movie Night 

Along those lines, what about a movie night -- but amped up a little for your Valentine? 

Transform your living room into a cozy movie theater. Snuggle up on the couch with blankets, popcorn, and your favorite snacks and choose romantic comedies that everyone is sure to love. Enjoy the films together, share laughter, and create a memorable movie night experience.

There are many romantic comedy movies that have been released over the years.  We love Pretty WomanWhen Harry Met SallyThe Proposal10 Things I Hate About YouNotting HillThe Notebook & Bridget Jones's Diary


Create personalized love coupons that offer your partner special treats or acts of kindness. These can include a massage, breakfast in bed, a day off from chores, or even a romantic date night of their choice. Let your partner redeem these coupons throughout the year, extending the celebration of love beyond Valentine's Day.


Consider a scrapbook filled with memories or a memory jar.  Create a glass jar that you can drop in mementos of different trips, dinners, or activities that you do together.  The time and effort invested in creating these gifts make them truly meaningful and special.  See… it really doesn’t have to cost a lot to show someone that you love them! 

Unique Ideas 

Get outside with your Valentine!  Go for a hike, explore a local park, or visit a nearby beach. Breathe in the fresh air and connect with each other outdoors.  It’s a great way to feel grounded.  Finding a local charity or community organization to offer your time and skills can be another unique way to feel connected and spread love.  Sharing the experience of giving back to the community can deepen your bond and create a sense of fulfillment and happiness.


Valentine's Day is a perfect occasion to celebrate love and affection, and it doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag. By embracing creativity, thoughtfulness, and quality time, you can create a memorable and meaningful celebration without spending money. Remember, it's the love and effort you put into the day that truly matters. Embrace these budget-friendly ideas and make your Valentine's Day a cherished and heartfelt experience.  Above all, embrace the tradition of writing to your Valentine and write a heartfelt note following our tips. 


Share your budget friendly Valentine’s Day ideas on our Facebook page or comment here on our blog! 




Gluten-Free Chocolate Molten Lava Cake


Ingredients & Supplies
8 ounces of semisweet chocolate (1.5 cups chocolate chips)
1/4 lb butter (1 stick)

4 eggs

4 T brown sugar

2 t vanilla

1 T cocoa powder

1/8 t salt

white sugar (to coat dishes)

4  six-ounce ramekin or creme brulee dishes (small glass pyrex dessert dishes work great!)



1.      Prepare the ramekins by covering the insides with a thin film of butter, then add enough white sugar to coat the film of butter.  Remove excess sugar.

2.     Melt the chocolate and butter together either in a double boiler or in the microwave.  If using a microwave, heat in 30 second increments and stir well in between.  

3.     Whisk together all of the other ingredients in a separate bowl.  

4.     Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the mixture and whisk together.  The batter will thicken as you whisk it together.  Fill the ramekins 3/4 full, leaving enough room for the cake to rise.  Because the dessert is served straight out of the oven, refrigerate until just before you need them.

5.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and put ramekins on a cookie sheet or tray to bake.  You will want to under bake them so that the center stays soft.  If you've refrigerated them beforehand, it will take a little longer, about 15-20 minutes.  If you are baking them right away, 10 to 15 minutes.  TIP: If you refrigerated them, take them out at the beginning of the meal so that they can come closer to room temperature by the time you are ready to bake them.

6.     Check them every 5 minutes or so (and more often near the end) as you don't want to overcook them because then the center isn't soft and runny.

7.     To serve, gently place a plate upside down on the top of the ramekin and then flip over gently removing the ramekin.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve with cut strawberries and/or vanilla ice cream.



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