‘Wise Frugality’ Versus ‘Cheap’ This Valentine’s Day

The Staff of Make it Missoula asked our Bloggers to chime-in for Valentine’s Day.  We hope you’ll find of each of them inspiring in their own unique way.  Be sure to check out our Valentine’s Day Contest.  In 25 words or less, tell us of your most memorable Missoula Valentine and you’ll be entered into a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to The Red Bird Restaurant.


I love Valentines’ Day.   It’s one of those holidays that seems so trivial but is a much welcomed break in the middle of winter.  It always creates a cozy warmness in me and gives me a little boost when I’m feeling like winter is here forever.  I also adore having another day to celebrate the special bond of love and friendship between my husband and me!

Since having kids, I now also look forward to creating Valentines’ with them!  When they first started trading Valentines’ in class, I did the typical thing of buying store-made Spiderman Valentines along with a little piece of candy.  Hey, those are great and very handy but when you have 3 kids in school, it gets a little expensive.  Not to mention, the boys were bored with those.

Last year, I bought inexpensive pipe cleaners, construction paper and a bag of feathers.  My kids had so much fun making Flamingo bird Valentines they all agreed they wanted to hand-make Valentines’ every year after.

This year, I found a deal on Vista.com for 144 FREE printed labels (paid $2 for shipping).  I picked a Valentines’ design and had a sweet message printed on it.  My kids want to make their own paper by recycling old paper around the house and dying it pink and red.  Then they will cut hearts out of the homemade paper and attach Toostie Roll Pops (picked up on sale at Walmart a few weeks back) and attach them to the paper hearts with the labels.  Pretty cute, inexpensive and a great activity for the kids when they are cooped up inside during these frigid days!

Now how about some ideas for your sweetheart?  I love eating at restaurants, except on Valentines’ Day!!  Too busy and overpriced for me.  But if you like Mexican (my favorite fare!) check out Restaurants.com and you can find a coupon for Fiesta En Jalisco (only on N. Reserve) in Missoula. (The website is nationwide so check it out for your area).  Until midnight on Feb. 7th, you can get a $25 off coupon for only $3 using this code: HEART (Be sure to read all the details).  Our family uses these coupons all the time and we save lots of cash!

Or if you opt for a romantic dinner at home (my personal favorite!), Safeway is having a sale until Wednesday on Beef Tri-tips for $3.99/lb.  We love grilling on Valentines’ day because it reminds us that summer will be here soon!  Safeway also has large red king crab legs for $14.99/lb…that would win your sweetheart’s heart for sure!  Watch for new sales in this Wednesday’s grocery ads…they probably will be having lots of great deals on food for a perfect dinner at home!

Remember there is a difference between “Wise Frugality” and just being cheap.  Would you rather receive sub-par roses hurriedly purchased at the grocery store on the way home or would your heart soar if he found sweet little pussy willows alongside the road and spent ½ hour collecting them for you?

It boils down to a matter of thoughtfulness and style.  My theory is anyone can go out and pay full price for a nice Valentines’ dinner or gift.  But if you want to create something memorable, meaningful and personal you’ll need time to plan and prepare.  In my mind, TIME is the most expensive and precious gift you can give!  So, surprise your loved one with a fantastic budget-wise meal, a rented movie (maybe one you saw when you were dating) or a batch of their favorite cookies in the shape of hearts.  Your message of love for your sweetie AND for the household budget will be cherished long after the roses have faded!

If you know of some other great deals around town for Valentines’ Day, please share with a comment below!

Click here to see the Coupon Queen’s “Save It” archive.


Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian.  Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques and trying to maintain a well-run, happy and organized home for her family.