www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com Like a gift from romance gods, another magnificent Valentine’s Day is upon us. A day dedicated to chocolate, romance, flowery cards, jewelry, and anything that can get stuffed into a heart-shaped box. Now I know other frugalistas who scoff from start to finish on February 14th, treating it with utter disdain for the overpriced Hallmark holiday that it is. On the other side of the spectrum, you find me, going “What are you, crazy? A day designed around wearing red, eating chocolate and fabulous romance? Sign me up!”.

The good news here is that all of the great earmarks of a fantastic Valentine’s Day – the romance, the flowers, the jewelry – can all be had for a fraction of the price of retail. Read on for tips on creating a full-blown Valentine’s Day for easily 75% off…and to this frugalista, that’s romantic!

The Jewelry – Mark Twain once wrote: “It is far better to have secondhand diamonds than none at all, and who should know the difference?”. Not only was the guy an amazing writer, but these sentiments prove him to be a genius at gift giving as well. Is gorgeous jewelry on your wish list this Valentine’s Day? By all means, indulge it! Simply steer clear of the regular jewelry stores, and head to the upscale Consignment stores near you, where glorious cases of lovely jewelry – diamonds, rubies, pearls, you name it – can be found at phenomenal prices. My favorite aspect of jewelry shopping in local thrift stores is that much of it is vintage antique – absolutely gorgeous. Channel your inner Liz Taylor this Valentine’s Day, ladies, and steer the lucky Significant Others in your life towards some fabulously affordable bling.

The Flowers – whatever you do, don’t go near the absurd prices for flowers online. I’m looking at websites that will happily deliver two dozen roses anywhere for you, so long as you fork over $140 for it, not including tip — you’ve got to be kidding me! Do yourselves a favor and head to one of the best kept secrets in the floral world – your local Produce Junction. Renowned for their high-quality fruits and veggies at phenomenal prices, your local Produce Junction also carries gorgeous long-stem roses for $10/dozen or less! The only catch: bring cash, Produce Junction doesn’t take credit cards.

The Romance – whoever said romance has to cost big bucks never went shopping with me. Looking for stores that can deliver romance for less? Hit your local secondhand book store and peruse the shelves for an older copy of Shakespeare, Lord Byron, maybe some Keats. If you really want to get daring, try writing some marvelous poetry of your own into a card you create yourself. And Hallmark, Schmallmark – sure, a card you buy at the store will be appreciated, with a definite “Oh, how nice!” for good measure. But a card you make yourself will get cried over, shown off at work, framed, and quite likely, insured. The choice is yours.

Above all else, whether you’re with friends, family, or Significant Others this Valentine’s Day, embrace it for the marvelous holiday it is – one revolving around love, laughter, working the fabulous red dress in the back of your closet, and – yeah baby! – heart-shaped boxes of chocolate for 50% off come February 15th! Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

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