If you’re on a budget then Valentine’s Day can be a particularly tough time of the year, given that there’s seemingly nothing you can do with your significant other that won’t cost you an extraordinary amount of money. Fortunately, we’ve collaborated with savings expert Jeanette Pavini of Coupons.com to help you whip up a satisfying meal that should be well within your price range.
Jeanette was able to create the following Valentine’s Day menu for under $25 using her keen eye for a bargain and the myriad of great deals that can be found on Coupons.com. Check out the menu below.
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Onion Roasted Potatoes
- Peach Bellini’s
- Candle Centerpiece
Valentine’s Day Dinner
Strawberry Spinach Salad:
“You don’t need to go out and buy a $4 bottle of dressing to make a delicious salad. You can make a great dressing from the ingredients you have laying around the house. Combining balsamic and olive oil with salt and pepper is a classic combination. If you have it, add honey and Dijon to elevate your dressing. The trick to getting a creamy vinaigrette is emulsifying. Use a blender or food processor to achieve restaurant-worthy vinaigrette, and you can also add almonds or chopped walnuts for an extra kick.”
Onion Roasted Potatoes:
“Who doesn’t like shortcuts? Combine a product like the Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix – which was on sale and then we layered on additional savings using an offer found on Coupons.com – with red potatoes to make a homemade dish that feels special, has only two ingredients and takes less than 5 minutes of prep. For an added touch, slice potatoes into discs and then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter, then simply roast your potato hearts as usual.”
Surf’n’Turf: Steak & Shrimp
Steak: “Many people think they need filet mignon for a romantic meal but that can cost around $20 a pound. Why is it so expensive? If you choose meat from the sirloin like a tri-tip or culotte (sirloin strip) steak, you still get an incredibly flavorful steak without breaking the bank, making them high value and delicious cuts.”
Shrimp: “Many just assume seafood is going to be too expensive for a budget meal, but not when you shop by the ads. For example, by looking at the ads every week, I’ve found that my local grocery store offers some type of shrimp for $5 every Friday. So whenever I know I’m going to need shrimp for something, I now make sure to buy it on a Friday. I was able to get this 12-oz bag for $5.”
“Shop the bargain bottles and you can get champagne for as little as $3.99. The trick to stretching the bottle and amping-up the taste of inexpensive bubbly is to add a fruit puree and turning it into a Bellini. Compare the price between fresh, frozen or canned fruit to find the best deal – any will work. In this case we used jarred peaches because we found a deal on Coupons.com for $0.55 off.. You may also want to compare the price between other sparkling drinks like Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, which can be an inexpensive alternative to champagne.”
“Two-dollars and a trip to the dollar store is all you need to make this attention-grabbing centerpiece. Fill the bottom of wine glasses with conversation hearts and nestle a tea candle in each one.”
“If convenience is your priority, you can order a full, prepared Valentine’s Day meal and use a coupon code from Coupons.com to save at sites like Omaha Steaks.”
Valentine’s Day Extras:
“This is an elegant Valentine’s Day appetizer that’s super simple to make. We found a great store sale and coupon from Coupons.com for Laughing Cow Cheese – bringing the price from $3.99 down to $2.75 – that’s more than a 30 percent savings! Plus, it’s super spreadable so it makes these pear crostini’s quick and easy to assemble. Just toast the bread, spread the cheese and layer with a thin pear slice. Bonus Tip: If you’re cooking for two, you don’t need the whole baguette. Go to the deli and buy a sandwich roll. You’ll save around $1 and you won’t be left with stale bread!”
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries:
“Strawberries are a Valentine’s Day staple so you frequently see them go on BOGO sales during the month of February. To take advantage of all the strawberries we got, we used them in our menu two ways – our salad and for these chocolate dipped strawberries. For the chocolate, don’t feel like you have to buy the baking chocolate or candy melts. I always buy whichever chocolate is on sale, (in this case, it was a package of mini Hershey’s bars), melt it down and you’ve got chocolate dipped strawberries for much less. Use kebab skewers to make dipping and eating chocolate covered strawberries a lot easier.
If chocolate dipped strawberries are beyond your culinary abilities, you can order them online with a coupon code this month. In fact, Coupons.com has several offers for discounts at places like Shari’s Berries, Edible Arrangement and Fannie Mae Candies right now!”
“If you’re looking to gift flowers on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t have to be a dozen red roses, which could eat up your entire $40 budget on its own. I bought this bouquet for $3.99 at a local retailer and added red food coloring to the vase for a fun and inexpensive Valentine’s Day twist. You can also check the coupon code section at Coupons.com for savings on flowers. Typically, you will find savings 15-20% off from sites like 1800FLOWERS and Teleflora.”
Photos: Getty Images