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If money can’t buy love, why is romance so expensive?

Q: Money’s tight … but I want to have a special Valentine’s Day. Any ideas?

When you want to save money, try investing time. Put in the extra planning and effort to make a gift by hand or brainstorm gift ideas. Search the web, reading as many budget gift articles as you can until you find something you can do that your partner will love.

If you’re not usually the cook, it’s time to start. Find a recipe that your partner likes to order out, but doesn’t usually cook at home. Your partner probably doesn’t make it because it’s challenging or time-consuming, so it’ll be even more impressive when you pull it off. Make sure to watch video tutorials before you buy groceries so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Whether you’re cooking or going out, think Italian. If you’re inexperienced in the kitchen, Italian food is pretty forgiving — and a bottle of Chianti can cover for all sorts of culinary sins. Italian food has the added advantage of being extra rich, so if you only have minimal after-dinner plans, you can impress your partner with some cream sauce, thick noodles and garlic bread. Plus, if you’re going out, Italian restaurants tend to have great desserts and coffee options. Dine-in or dine-out, that’s a table you linger over.