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Spend V-Day With Your Honey and Your Money


Love don't cost a thing. Well, at the very least, it doesn't have to cost a lot.

The last time you opened your wallet, did you find more dust than dollars? You're in luck this Valentine's Day, because this is the year when saving money is in style.

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans spent $14.7 billion last year on Valentine's Day purchases, opposed to $17 billion in 2008. Women, as well as men, aren't expecting the royal treatment they may have received in years past. Although you may still want to "wine and dine" with a loved one, there are several ways to do so without dropping a lot of dough.

Dinner dates are very common for V-Day. Most restaurants start filling up weeks in advance until all they have left is the 5 p.m. early bird special or the 11:30 p.m. late-night bite.

You can check Opentable to see what's still available in your area. Many restaurants also "prey" on Valentine's Day customers creating a blanket prix-fixe menu. This usually works out to mean more cost and less quality.

One suggestion is to go out for brunch instead. It's typically less expensive than dinner and often includes a cocktail on the house. With Valentine's Day falling on the Sunday of a holiday weekend, you can choose which day to dine out. is currently offering an 80% off sale on all their gift certificates. Sign up at the website and start clicking away. You can spend as little as $2 for a $25 gift certificate.Your Visa (V) card will thank you.

If your date is very low maintenance, White Castle is offering a "special" February 14 dinner: "Wow your special someone with tableside service, flowers and candlelight," states a headline from the White Castle website. Prices start at $10.49 for a meal for two of 10 hamburgers, two orders of french fries, and two 21-ounce sodas. In this case, please err on the side of caution.

Instead of a night out, why not create a gourmet meal at home? You can try to create culinary specialties while spending a fraction of the price. And if it comes out bad, you can always order a pizza. Just make sure dessert is delicious and edible.

You can't go wrong with chocolate-covered strawberries. Melt a package of Nestle chocolate chips in a double boiler and add a small amount of oil. Remove from heat and quickly dip the strawberries into the chocolate. Place on wax paper and refrigerate for several hours until chocolate is firm. Voila!

A dozen red roses are normally synonymous with Valentine's Day, however many bouquets can run upwards of $50 to $100. is running a discount special, "18 roses for only $19.99." Whereas competitor 1-800 (FLWS) is offering 12 roses for $29.99. You do the math. Why not select a different type of flower to give your loved one.
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