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10 Valentine Saving Tips That Don’t Strangle Cupid

From Jan Leasure, the Extreme Coupon columnist.

Candlelight dinner at a fancy restaurant? Expensive jewelry? Long-stemmed roses? Each of these is a traditional but expensive token of Valentine's love.

Do not let the recession put a damper on your adoration. Celebrate for less but show your appreciation in meaningful yet inexpensive ways! Restaurant.com wants to share the love with 80 percent off on its $25 coupons. Snag them for only $2 if you use the coupon code LOVE.

Valentine Savings Abound!

1. Homemade coupon: On Valentine‘s Day spending time is a great way to show your love to a partner, parent or child, give them a card with a coupon to spend the day however they want!

2. Framed photo of a special time together speaks volumes. If you have a friend who is a good photographer, borrow his/her services and have a family or couple’s portrait done on the cheap (or depending on how good of friends you are = free!) My daughters gave me a special picture of themselves that they had taken before Christmas that was a special ’50s theme in honor of my mom. Cute and touching!

3. Still think flowers say it all? Pick them up instead of sending them and deliver them in person. Or give just one single rose! It is not the quantity but the quality that matters here.

4. Hand-delivered baked goods like cookies or a plate of brownies is a great idea!

5. Share the love: Gather your family and instead of giving Valentine gifts to each other, how about picking up several dozen roses at the supermarket and delivering them one at a time to residents of a nursing home?

6. Handwritten letter: What is the ultimate Valentine gift, but a lost art? What girl wouldn’t adore an honest to goodness love letter? A wonderful letter (not an email) hand-delivered on fancy paper is a real keeper!

7. Costume jewelry  I personally love beaded necklaces, handmade bracelets. It does not necessarily need to be a diamond tennis bracelet. Visit etsy.com for affordable, handmade jewelry and other great products! Buy something your mate would love and something he or she can wear every day.

8. Picnic: Instead of an expensive dinner, gather up a blanket, picnic basket, candles, bottle of wine and some simple appetizers and dessert and go for a picnic. If you still have snow on the ground, stay indoors, and have a romantic picnic in front of the fire!

9.  Breakfast in bed: Who doesn’t love waking up to the smell of pancakes and fresh coffee! Decorate a tray with a nice napkin, flower in a small vase and the newspaper. Remember to use your better plates/china, glassware and silverware. Add salt/pepper shakers and the little extras and your Valentine will feel spoiled!

10. Get active! Valentine’s dates do not need to be the regular dinner and a movie! Go ice-skating (if it is outside on a pond, it’s usually free!) and have hot chocolate ready in a thermos. Or grab your date and go for a hike.

Keep it simple — Americans spend billions on Valentine gifts. This year, give of yourself, your time, your love and save your wallet for necessities. Remember to use those coupons for candy, flowers, etc!

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