Four ways to make Valentine's Day your own

Admit it.

Seriously. This is a safe place. No one’s going to judge you. Just let it out.

You really don’t like Valentine’s Day, do you?

It’s okay. A lot of people feel the same way. It’s not that you don’t agree with the idea of cherishing a loved one or celebrating a significant relationship. It’s that dinner reservations are a pain, roses seem to wilt in a matter of hours and those “fancy” chocolates you bought taste suspiciously like overstuffed Rolos.

For a lot of us, the traditions of a modern Valentine’s Day don’t really reflect our values – or, more importantly, the things we enjoy as individuals and as couples.

So why not try something different? Why not cast off the shackles of candy hearts and create something new – something special just for you and yours?

This year, if the traditional Valentine’s Day doesn’t really do it for you, create your own alternative version. Here are a few suggestions:

Love and Money Day

Let’s be real – buying a dozen roses is easy.  Sitting down and creating a firm, sustainable household budget is much, much harder.

It sounds terribly unromantic, but you have to think about it this way: what’s more important to the health and vitality of your relationship? An open discussion of your finances, including your goals, values and concerns? Or some pretty flowers and a heart-shaped box full of nougat and caramel?

If you’re in a committed relationship you owe it to yourself to make sure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to money. And because that’s not an “easy” conversation, it’s one that often gets deferred. Make February 14 the day that deferment ends.

Role Reversal Day

Perspective often makes all the difference in the world. In relationships (especially long-term ones) we often fall into particular roles and lose perspective on the roles our partners play. The result is that you may end up not appreciating or even understanding the tasks that your partner completes on behalf of the household.

So swap. For one day, exchange tasks and chores and remind yourself just how much your partner does for you and your partnership.

And isn’t Valentine’s Day supposed to be about “appreciating” each other anyway? Why not take it a step further? You can go out to dinner on February 15. On the 14th, take the time to remember how lucky you are.

No Spending Day

This is pretty self-explanatory. Of course, it’s basically impossible to make it through the day without incurring some kind of costs (I don’t suggest turning the heat off – it is February after all), but your goal should simply be to live as cheaply as possible for 24 hours.

Take an expedition to the back of your freezer and make dinner from whatever you dig up out of the ice. Skip the TV in favor of reading together in front of the fire (where available).

Think about what you do every day that costs you money and try to bring everything down to the bare minimum. And make it fun! Because really, if you can’t think of anything fun to do with the lights and TV turned off you need more help than I can provide you.

Splurge Because You Earned It Day

Are you already on a tight budget? Have you and your partner not treated yourself to anything even remotely extravagant in such a long time that you can’t remember the name of your favorite restaurant?

The reason you work so hard to get your debt under control is because healthy finances are a part of your big picture goals. But the process of developing and maintaining a healthy financial outlook is a marathon and not a sprint. So don’t lose sight of your day-to-day goals and don’t forget to reward yourself from time-to-time.

On February 14 appreciate yourself, appreciate each other and appreciate all the hard work and sacrifice you’ve put in to making your lives better. Go do something fun! And for today, don’t worry about the bill.


Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.