My husband and I are going out to a nice dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But we aren’t going out tomorrow. Instead, we have our date night tonight.
By celebrating Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day eve, our early dinner out is going to cost a lot less. At the same restaurant, we’ll pay normal entrée prices on February 13th rather than the special expensive prix fixe available tomorrow.
So considering how expensive a date night can be when you have kids and have to add child care costs into the mix, today’s hint for going out for less is to celebrate Valentine’s Day (or other similar holidays) before, or after, the actual holiday. With this cost-saving trick, you’ll skip having to pay prix fix menu prices, and opting for an afternoon lunch date pre- or post-Valentine’s Day could mean even cheaper meals. Plus, you’ll be more likely to find friends willing to swap babysitting with you on non-holiday evenings.
To be sure, having a date night on the night before Valentine’s Day may be hard if you need to spend the evening helping your little one make Valentine’s Day cards to give out in class. If you fall into that category, you may want to consider a post-Valentine’s Day celebration, as Parent Hacks suggested back in 2008.
If you do decide to do your Valentine’s Day celebration on the 13th or 15th, you’ll want to make sure you’re skipping any venues where more expensive Valentine’s Day prices are extended to February 13th and 15th, or you’ll want to consider celebrating Valentine’s Day after the 15th.
But if you like the idea of actually celebrating on the 14th, there are ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget. Meg Favreau, the senior editor at Wise Bread, recently shared nine such ideas over at U.S. News Money’s My Money Blog, and over at at The Huffington Post, Tiffany Aliche, aka The Budgetnista, just shared 14 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day for free. Meanwhile, Amy Suardi over at Frugal Mama shared a clever similar idea a couple of years ago: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with another couple and have older kids serve as cheap babysitters.
Finally, here are a few other ways to cut out childcare costs. You could involve your kids in your at-home celebration (Rachael Ray has some fun ideas for doing this as does the site UrbanSitter). Or you could do an do an at-home date night when the little ones go to sleep (the Rookie Moms have some good ideas for that). Of course, perhaps the easiest and most frugal way to celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th when you have kids is just not to do anything out of the ordinary at all, besides, say, a card, considering it has become a “Hallmark holiday” anyway, as Grayson Bell at Frugal Rules recently pointed out.
In fact, my husband and I generally don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, and we probably wouldn’t be going out to dinner tonight if we had been able to celebrate my recent birthday closer to the actual date.
What are your tricks for celebrating holidays like Valentine’s Day for less?