7 Tips for the Best Valentine’s Day on a Budget

If you want to buy flowers


Buy them at a store that keeps them refrigerated. Never buy flowers online or from a roadside stand. When you’re searching for the perfect bouquet, make sure it has tight buds. That way they’ll stay open longer when they do blossom. If they’re already open, they won’t last more than a day or two, though you can always try tricks to make flowers last longer.

If you want to buy jewelry


Buy it in a store, just like your flowers. Online diamond dealers may not actually have certified stones. When it comes to diamonds, look for the four C’s: cut, carat, color, and clarity. For gold, make sure it has the manufacturer’s trademark close to the carat stamp. But don’t feel pressured to choose diamonds just because they’re “traditional” or expected. Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are more rare than diamonds, equally beautiful, and somehow still less expensive. A Claddagh ring also makes a meaningful gift with its symbols of love, friendship, and loyalty. Here are 15 romantic weekend getaways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

If you want to be sentimental


Make something from the heart (it’s the perfect combination of a Valentine’s Day gift that’s inexpensive but meaningful). Make a collage of your favorite photos as a couple or photos from different stages of your relationship. Burn a mix CD of his or her favorite songs. Organize a gift basket filled with notes or trinkets referencing inside jokes. Creativity is one of the most sincere ways to say “I love you.”

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