ManMade Guide: How to Celebrate a Rad (and Not Cheesy) Valentine’s Day on a Budget

Gentlemen, Cupid is in the hood. What are you going to do? Freak out? Nah, that’s for amateurs. In this guide, we’re showing you how to rock V-Day like a pro.   

No matter whom you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with, it always seems to be a huge (expensive) hassle, flowers are overpriced, restaurants are jam-packed, and the available cards super lame. So what’s a guy to do? Easy:

Just keep it simple!

Follow these steps and we guarantee you’ll have a blast – and all within a budget. And hopefully, actually embrace the holiday and show someone you care.  (Also, baking together is always a win. Try the Finnish pulla bread recipe pictured at top at Kinfolk.)

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1. Do not stress:

This is pretty obvious. The more you stress about this day the more you’ll tend to spend waaay to much money (and time) and go over your budget. Remember, it’s just a day with extra fun and added intent! Make it about spending time with that special someone and the chocolate.

– Set your budget and put that money aside NOW

– Get whatever amount you decided to spend in cash, that way you can’t go over it

– Or, if using your card, track your spending with a special budget in apps like Mint

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2. Choose a (not crowded) spot:

This one should be easy! Just pick your favorite spot. Unless your favorite spot is a super loud restaurant with crazy lines. For the rest of you/us who are on the same quiet-chill wave, here are some tips:

– Stay home! Clean your place, spruce up the dinning room table and you’re done. No line-ups, no resos needed.

– Go into the wild! If nature is your thing, plan an outing near your town. Double check to make sure make sure it’s not closed because of winter conditions, and dress accordingly.

– Ask your partner where to go! Why keep it all in secret and break your head trying to figure out “the perfect spot” when you can just ask? Sometimes surprises are really not the way to go. 

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3. Get food and drinks the day before:

Whatever you do, do NOT go out shopping on February 14th. Consider that day  the zombie apocalypse and treat it like you can’t leave your house for 24 hours. So plan ahead:

– A baguette, a few cheeses, and a nice bottle of wine does the trick

– Stay away from Valentine’s displays at the store as those items are probably marked up! Again, who needs heart shaped stuff? If you need some food recipes, here you go

– Make cocktails using stuff you already have in your bar. If you need a few recipes/methods we have plenty over here, and most of them are created with ingredients you can find in your pantry. 

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4. DIY for the win!

Even though you only have a few days before Valentine’s, you can still create something awesome and useful . Think outside the box!

– What does your better half really need? Not want, but need. For example, a new dog leash, or some super cool trivets for his/her new apartment?  Or maybe a super easy to make canvas wallet? If you need more ideas you can always check our Pinterest board where we have tons of easy “in a few minutes” projects.

– Also, you don’t NEED to give and actual object. Maybe just cook dinner and wash dishes so one of you gets to sit down and relax? Or even offer to wash all that salt off their car when the snow melts. Seriously, those simple things are always a hit. 

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5. Look Charming

Get your clothes ready in advance as you’ll probably need to run around a bit and the last thing you want to do is iron a shirt while cooking dinner or shaking a drink. And definitely don’t spend money on new items! Instead dig out your best pieces and….

– Trim trim trim. Beard, mustacho, and anything else that needs trimming. No Yetis allowed for dinner.

– Look sharp but stay comfortable, especially if you’re gonna be eating and drinking, you don’t want pants that barely let you breathe or a shirt that makes you sweat like a pig. 

– It’s all in the accessories: add a bow tie or a regular tie and you’ll up your game times 100. Button up, get a little bit of a shoe shine, and – of course – take a SHOWER.

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6. Create an epic playlist:

Valentine’s day isn’t the time to try to introduce anyone to new music, but rather create a playlist with songs you both love, songs that carry a meaning, whether they’re “romantic” or not. You don’t need to play Sinatra if Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros is your jam!

– Write down special memories on a piece of paper and think of songs that remind you of that

– Quickly go to SoundCloud to create your own FREE playlist (in there they’re called “sets”). SoundCloud has a HUGE selection of music that you can quickly add without having to download any files. Save it, download the app to your phone – also free – or play it from your computer and you’re good to go.

– Make sure to have at least 2-3 hours worth of music (about 20 to 30 songs).

– Don’t make the playlist about you…remember you’re doing it for the other person!

– When everything else fails, play Barry White

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7. And most importantly…ENJOY IT!

The real meaning of this whole thing is to spend a little bit of time together without having to worry about bills, work, or anything else.  With a simple dinner and a movie you are already saying “I care!” – which is golden, right?

You pretty much can plan the whole evening for $50 or less (pizza and beer tasting would definitely be cheaper and super fun).  Simply do whatever the hell feels right for you and follow the few easy steps above to make sure everything’s A-OK.

And juuuust in case you forget something, here’s a little TO-DO list for ya:

1. Choose a spot/theme and a budget

2. Get food and drinks the day before (use your phone’s note pad for grocery lists)

3. Are you going to give her/him something? Plan accordingly. Also, make it.

4. Create an epic playlist for FREE

5. Get your shoe shine and outfit ready the day before (iron your shirt, wash your jeans, find your tie)

6. Lots of, um, smooching!! (you’re welcome).

Hope you have a fantastic Valentine’s Day!