Php1,000 European-Inspired Valentine’s Day Celebration

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My husband and I have been celebrating Valentine’s Day together for 7 years. We’ve had romantic dinners, we traveled, watched concerts, and went on staycation – and every year, I’d always end up being the receiver of everything nice and fancy.

valentine's day card, money-saving tips
In reality, the idea of demonstrating “love” during Valentine’s Day means big business, as couples spend a huge sum of money for one day alone (sometimes, for even just a few hours). Does that mean the more you spend, the more meaningful your celebration becomes? Not really. I’d rather spend money wisely and have my date’s five hours of quality and undivided attention, than spend Php 4,000 (or more) on the usual romantic dinner date, surrounded by other couples in a restaurant.

Let’s say I’ll treat my husband this Valentine’s Day and I only have Php1,000 to spend. What I would do is sharpen my budgeting skills and whip up something tasteful at home. Yes, I’d rather choose to make some magic in my kitchen than brave the Manila traffic or wait in line for hours at a fancy restaurant. Plus, this will remind him of our honeymoon in Paris as I prepare a European-inspired dinner.

Set-Up

Because it’s a special day, I’ll take out the best dinnerware we have at home, including goblets and complete set of cutlery intended for formal dining. I’ll put my tealight candles in a small bowl or glass to make the entire place as romantic as possible.

Food

Appetizer: I’ll prepare cream of mushroom soup that’s ready in less than 10 minutes. In addition, I’ll put together a simple salad made with lettuce and tomatoes. For the dressing, it will be a combination of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper. This dressing is the most basic salad dressing you’ll find in many European countries.

Main Course: If it’s a European-inspired dinner, the main course has got to be pasta! I’ll make it light, quick, and easy to cook. My choice is sardines pasta as it is easy to prepare and the basic ingredients are readily available at home (i.e. salt, pepper, garlic, and onion). I’ll add garlic pesto bread in a bowl or a small basket, with EVOO and balsamic vinegar dip on the side.

Dessert: My husband loves ice cream, so I’ll get him a pint and choose a brand and flavor that’s different from the usual.

instant soup pack, lettuce, uncooked pasta, bottles of fish in oil
Ingredients for appetizer and the main course
ice cream pints in various flavors
Ice cream for dessert! I'd love to have Raspberry Rapture or Banana Sundae (or both!).
Drinks

A special day isn’t complete without a celebratory beverage to pair your dinner with. There are many affordable wines in the supermarket and liquor store, but I’m choosing a non-alcoholic juice cocktail that fits our dessert. I prefer not to mix alcoholic drinks with dairy.

balsamic vinegar bottles, olive oil bottles, garlic bread, drinks
Ingredients for balsamic-evoo dip, garlic bread, and sparkling cocktail juice
Ambiance

The best way to set-up the V-Day mood is to play romantic music in the background... and it starts with the language of love. Even with a free account, it’s easy to create a playlist in Spotify. I’ll make sure La Vie en Rose (our wedding song during our first dance as husband and wife) – the original French version – is included in the playlist. Who knows, my husband might scoop me up and lead me to a dance.

Entertainment

The Godfather is my husband’s favorite movie of all time. Although it’s primarily a crime film, I know my husband would appreciate me watching this award-winning film with him. It’s perfect because it’s available on Netflix and I haven’t seen it yet. I do have an online subscription, but Netflix has free trial as well.

Gift

My husband always tells me that on Valentine’s Day, men buy gifts and women receive them. When I ask him what he wants, he simply says nothing. However, I always buy a greeting card and write him a letter. While it’s easy to send messages via email or social media, receiving a hand-written letter makes the day more heart-warming and special as I put more thought and effort into it.

Overall Cost

Set-Up
Free
Food (Appetizer)


·         Cream of Mushroom Soup
Php 39

·         Lettuce
Php 75

·         Pack of Tomatoes
Php 22

·         Extra Virgin Olive Oil      
Php 149.50

·         Balsamic Vinegar
Php 97.50
Food (Main Course)


·         Pasta                    
Php 55.25

·         Spanish Style Sardines  
Php 105

·         Pesto Garlic Bread (4 pcs)
Php 68
Food (Dessert)


·         Ice Cream (Pint)              
Php 115
Drinks  
Php 219
Ambiance (Spotify Playlist)         
Free
Entertainment (Netflix)                               
Free
Gift (Valentine’s Card)  
Php 29.50
TOTAL
Php 974.75
Change
Php 25.25
floral arrangement, floral bouquet
stargazers, long stem roses

Alternative Cost

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples. It’s a day that celebrates relationships that go beyond romantic love. If you’re celebrating this day with your bestfriend, your mom, or if you’re a dad who likes to show your daughter how she should be treated by a man (and set that high benchmark), here’s an alternative option for a European-Inspired Valentine’s Day dinner.

Set-Up
Free
Food (Appetizer)


·         Lettuce
Php 75

·         Pack of Tomatoes
Php 22

·         Extra Virgin Olive Oil      
Php 149.50

·         Balsamic Vinegar
Php 97.50
Food (Main Course)


·         Pasta                    
Php 55.25

·         Spanish Style Sardines  
Php 105

·         Pesto Garlic Bread (3 pcs)
Php 51
Drinks  
Php 219
Ambiance (Spotify Playlist)         
Free
Entertainment (Netflix)                               
Free
Gift (Valentine’s Card)  
Php 29.50
Gift (1 Long Stem Rose)
Php 195
TOTAL
Php 998.75
Change
Php 1.25

Celebrating Valentine’s Day should not be expensive, complicated, and stressful. All you need is a little creativity, strategic budgeting skills, and an extra sprinkle of effort. I hope this simple idea helps you with your upcoming celebration this love month!

valentine's day greeting card
The Perfect Spot to Spend Valentine's Day is Right Next to You!

This post is my entry for Valentine’s Day Blogging Challenge by MoneyMax.ph. MoneyMax.ph is an online comparison portal in the Philippines that provides a wide-range of financial and telecommunications products and services that suit every Filipino's needs.

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